Minnesota: Barkley Enters Senate Race at Filing Deadline

Posted July 15, 2008 at 6:32pm

He may not be a professional wrestler, but some “body” got into the ring as an Independence Party candidate running against Sen. Norm Coleman (R) and comedian Al Franken (D) Tuesday.

Although former Gov. Jesse Ventura (I) declined to run during a live television interview Monday evening, his former top aide, ex-Sen. Dean Barkley (I), filed for the race before the deadline late Tuesday afternoon.

Barkley told the Minneapolis Star- Tribune on Tuesday afternoon that he spoke with Ventura after Ventura’s live appearance on CNN’s “Larry King Live” and said that unless the former governor changed his mind at the last minute, he planned to file for the Senate race.

Barkley held the Senate seat during the last few weeks of 2002. Ventura appointed him to the post after then-Sen. Paul Wellstone (D) was killed in a plane crash just 10 days before Election Day. Coleman won the election.

In his interview with King, Ventura said personal concerns such as his family helped him decide against a run. The former professional wrestler, who said he is not a religious man, said he would not run unless God told him to file before 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Also in the waning hours before Tuesday’s filing deadline, attorney Priscilla Lord Faris filed to run in the Democratic primary against Franken, who has his party’s official endorsement. Faris, the daughter of a former judge, supported Franken and even donated to his campaign, but she told local news outlets that her decision was about electability.

“I’ve been thinking about it for about nine months and wanted to see how the polls were going for Franken,” Faris told the Star-Tribune. “I’ve been a supporter; I think he’s a great guy, but I don’t see much changed in the polls, and my passion is to see that we have a new senator who represents all Minnesotans.”