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Ventura Says He Won’t Run for Senate

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura (I) declined to run for Senate on live television Monday evening, saying he would not change his mind unless a higher power compelled him to do otherwise before Tuesday’s 5 p.m. filing deadline. The former pro wrestler, who appeared on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” said that personal concerns including his family helped him decide against getting in the race with Sen. Norm Coleman (R) and comedian Al Franken (D). Ventura, who said he is not religious, referenced the widely reported comment that President Bush made saying he asked a higher power than his father before invading Iraq. “I will tell you now I’m not going to run,” Ventura told King. “But if God comes to speak to me and tells me to run,” then he will file on Tuesday. He said a conversation with his daughter about the publicity that comes with a Senate bid on the Independence Party line helped him make up his mind about running. However, Ventura’s announcement did not stop him from criticizing both major party candidates, especially Franken, and the national and Minnesota media’s take on American politics. He said that Democrats are managing to “screw up” their chances, including the Minnesota Senate race, and said Franken should be leading in public polls. “I think the Democrats in this particular race in Minnesota are in some serious trouble right now,” Ventura told King. Ventura said he has no plans to endorse either Franken or Coleman, whom he defeated in an upset in the the 1998 Minnesota gubernatorial race. Meanwhile, Franken now has a primary opponent on his way to the Democratic-Farmer-Labor nomination. Attorney Priscilla Lord Faris (D), the daughter of a prominent former judge, has reportedly filed for the race. Though Franken has the DFL endorsement and his party’s official support, he will face Faris in the Sept. 9 primary. Faris cited the controversy around Franken’s tax problems and his writings to explain why she is getting into the race.

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