Shockwaves as `The Body' becomes Minnesota governor

FORGET ABOUT Democrats and Republicans. Forget about the new seat numbers in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Forget even about President Bill Clinton and his prospects for surviving impeachment. The real story of the 1998 elections is Jesse "The Body" Ventura and his astonishing victory in Minnesota.

None of the other results that poured in on Tuesday night matched the outcome in the Minnesota governor's race for sheer shock value. From 1 January next year, the people of that state will have a governor whose credentials include a career with the Navy Seals, several years as a successful professional wrestler - hence The Body - and even a stint as bodyguard for the Rolling Stones.

Born Jesse Janos, Mr Ventura (under the name he chose from a road map) does have some political experience - he served as mayor of a Minneapolis suburb for four years from 1991. He joined the governor's race as a third candidate, for the Reform Party, the movement founded by Ross Perot.

Mr Ventura beat two traditional candidates he had dismissed as too "boring". His victims were Democrat Hubert Humphrey III, son of the former United States vice-president, and Republican Norm Coleman, the popular mayor of St Paul.

His victory is a reminder that the anti-establishment sentiment that Mr Perot identified in 1992, when he won 24 per cent of the vote in the presidential race, still has the power to alter the political landscape.

What Mr Ventura will do once in office is not altogether clear. He is a champion of tax cuts but has also promised measures such as legalising prostitution. "Ventura's key issue was that he's not part of the system," Chris Gilbert, a political science professor in St Peter, said. One local Republican activist lamented: "Electing Jesse will make Minnesota the laughing stock of the country."

Mr Ventura declared: "We shocked the world. I feel like [the boxer] Muhammad Ali the night he beat Sonny Liston."

In other election quirks, a dead man garnered one-third of the votes in the race for the sheriff of Los Angeles County in California. Sherman Block, who was running as the incumbent, died of a brain haemorrhage last week but his name had remained on the ballot. And in elections for the state senate in Tennessee, a candidate's widow was voted into office, beating a man who is in jail awaiting trial on charges that he fatally shot her husband.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test