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July 9, 2008 - Per Peterson
Will he or won’t he? And if he does, do you care? Will you vote for him. Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura denied media reports Wednesday that he’s decided to run for Senate, saying nobody knows what his intentions are, the Associated Press said. National Public Radio on Wednesday reported that Ventura said he’s running for the seat, quoting him as saying ‘‘I run’’ because of Sen. Norm Coleman’s support for the Iraq war. But Ventura told The Associated Press he had been speaking hypothetically. ‘‘They have no idea,’’ he said in a telephone interview with the AP. ‘‘I said the decision will be made next Tuesday (the filing deadline). And I’m no further than that.’’ Ventura said that in responding to the NPR reporter’s question about why he would run, ‘‘I gave him the reasons why I would run. But I said ultimately, it will come down to whether I want to change my lifestyle and go to that lifestyle or not.’’ This is either a case of Ventura saying what he think will get him back in the headlines, or sloppy journalism. I’m leaning toward the former. Then, of course, ABC News follows up with a blog item headlined, ‘‘Jesse Ventura To Run for Senate,’’ citing the NPR report. ABC News later added a question mark to the end of the headline, and updated its blog item to reflect Ventura’s comments to the AP. Ventura said NPR and ABC was “totally jumping the gun trying to get stories.’’ He might be right, but that’s exactly what he was hoping for. Far be it from Ventura to shy away from the spotlight. Jesse is all about Jesse, and the more Jesse gets his name in print, the less likely it will be for him to shrivel up and go away. Ventura, who beat Coleman in the three-way-race for governor in 1998, with Coleman finishing second, ahead of Democrat Hubert Humphrey III, the son of the former vice president, is doing this the same reason Brett Favre does what he does. He makes statements to get back under the spotlight. As a former pro wrestler, he’s used to spotlight, and once it fades, I can only imagine it would be tough to get used to being back in the dark with us in the private sector. Ventura probably likes his life how it is, but, like Favre, that itch is getting worse. The itch is that sense of being out there. The NFL season’s about to kick in and Favre is feeling that itch. Right now, he can’t quite reach it, so it’s bugging him, that’s why rumors are swirling about him making a comeback. It’s the same for Ventura. This is an election year, and November’s not that far away, so he’s scratching. So will you vote for him — again, if you did in ’98? Does he have a chance to once again beat Coleman, this time for a Senate seat? You bet he does. He’s got a better chance of beating Coleman than Al Franken does, even though I think Franken will be taken seriously enough by enough people to stay in the race. But Ventura’s different. He’s been here before, he’s been the underdog, and he’s been successful. I hope he runs. Coleman v. Franken is getting old. Coleman v. Franken v. Ventura? Now THAT’S a race.
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