Peace activist enters U.S. Senate raceby Mark Zdechlik, Minnesota Public Radio
Another DFLer has entered the race to run against Republican Sen. Norm Coleman. Author and teacher Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer says he'll compete for next year's DFL endorsement. Nelson-Pallmeyer says a major issue in his campaign will be getting U.S. troops out of Iraq.
St. Paul, Minn. — Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer chose to launch his Senate campaign from the sidewalk outside of the St. Paul building that houses Republican Senator Norm Coleman Twin Cities office.
"I'm Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer," he said. "I'm standing here with family and friends to announce my candidacy to replace Norm Coleman in the United States Senate."
Nelson-Pallmeyer is 56-years-old. He was born and raised in Minnesota. He teaches justice and peace studies at the University of St. Thomas. Last year he unsuccessfully sought the DFL endorsement for Congress in the 5th District.
Nelson-Pallmeyer blamed President Bush and Norm Coleman for spending money on the war in Iraq that could better spent at home.
"We hear about global warming and we wonder -- what kind of world are we leaving our children and our grandchildren?" he asked. "We're concerned as class sizes rise and health care costs soar. Our infrastructure is crumbing and we are sick and tired of having all of our hopes and dreams held hostage to the Iraq war."
Nelson-Pallmeyer is calling for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq within six months. He also promoted single-payer health care, alternative energy, and ending poverty.
A couple hundred supporters turned out for Nelson-Pallmeyer's announcement. Many of them held green and white campaign signs reminiscent of former DFL Sen. Paul Wellstone's.
Among the supporters was Mardi Pearson of Roseville who wore a Nelson-Pallmeyer t-shirt over her coat. Pearson is convinced Nelson-Pallmeyer can win the DFL endorsement even over much better known hopefuls Mike Ciresi and Al Franken.
"Well I can't speak for what I don't see in Franken and Ciresi," she said. "I just know Jack and know that his message is good and that he's a person of honor and that he'll live by his word."
Nelson-Pallmeyer says he's already raised nearly $200,000 and has plans to raise more. Still, he says money can't buy the endorsement.
"The decision about receiving the DFL endorsement will not be decided by bank accounts," he said. "I will raise plenty of money to run an effective campaign to get the DFL endorsement and as Mike Ciresi says whoever gets the DFL endorsement will have plenty of money to run an effective campaign against Norm Coleman."
University of Minnesota political science professor Lawrence Jacobs says Nelson- Pallmeyer's positions on issues such as the war and global warming will likely appeal to DFL activists.
But Jacobs says that might not be enough.
"The DFL state convention delegates want to win, and I think that's their top priority," he said. "And that's likely to weigh against Nelson-Pallmeyer who within the state is a relative unknown. And even though he's had a good start fundraising I think there are reasons to doubt he's going to be able to keep up with Ciresi and Franken. "
Like the other candidates Ciresi, Franken and Jim Cohen, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer says he will drop out of the contest if DFL party activists endorse someone else to take on Norm Coleman.
- All Things Considered, 10/10/2007, 5:24 p.m.