Ventura says he hasn't decided yet on Senate runby Mark Zdechlik, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura is shooting down media reports that he's already decided whether to run for U.S. Senate.
Ventura's comments came in response to a National Public Radio news story today, suggesting that Ventura has decided to get into the race.
The NPR report quoted Ventura as saying "I run" because of Sen. Norm Coleman's support for the Iraq war. But Ventura tells The Associated Press he had been speaking hypothetically.
Here's an excerpt from the NPR report:
"[Ventura] still insists he won't announce whether he's running until Tuesday, the deadline for filing in Minnesota.
"But when he hears that his rivals think he's simply trying to promote his latest book, Ventura seems to reveal his true intentions. He angrily says he is running --- primarily because of Coleman's votes for an Iraq war that Ventura vehemently opposes.
"That's the reason I run. Not to sell books. I run because it angers me," Ventura says.
"And here's Ventura again sounding as if he has already made up his mind: "All you Minnesotans, take a good hard look at all three of us. And you decide, if you were in a dark alley, which one of the three of us would you want with you," he says."
Ventura told AP 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."
Ventura says bluntly that no one knows whether he will run -- not even his wife. He says the decision won't be made until next Tuesday, the filing deadline.
Ventura, who served one term as Reform Party governor in Minnesota, has been saying for months that he's mulling an independent bid for Senate.
If he runs, he'd create a three-way race with Coleman, a first-term Republican, and Democrat Al Franken, a former comedian and best-selling author.
Ventura 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.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
- All Things Considered, 07/09/2008, 4:45 p.m.