Sen. Wellstone's campaign plane crashes in Minnesota.
October 25, 2002 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Sen. Wellstone's campaign plane crashes in Minnesota. It's not known yet whether the Senator was on board.
posted by PrinceValium (163 comments total)
 
Article was just updated: According to CNN, the manifest listed Sen. Paul Wellstone as one of the passengers.

crap crap crap.
posted by PrinceValium at 10:42 AM on October 25, 2002


ABC News is reporting that Wellstone, his wife, and daughter were on board and are dead. Ugh.
posted by rcade at 10:42 AM on October 25, 2002


Better link.
posted by rcade at 10:43 AM on October 25, 2002


FOX is reporting they are all dead...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:44 AM on October 25, 2002


That's absolutely horrible. My thoughts and prayers are with their friends and families.
posted by revbrian at 10:44 AM on October 25, 2002


opps.. too slow...

Very Very Sad....
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:46 AM on October 25, 2002


I'm sure I'm about to be flamed for insensitivity, but does anyone have an idea what happens next as regards the election?
posted by Gilbert at 10:47 AM on October 25, 2002


oh my god. i cannot believe this.
posted by m2bcubed at 10:49 AM on October 25, 2002


Damn. Wellstone was a righteous guy. Rest in Peace.
posted by Ty Webb at 10:50 AM on October 25, 2002


What sick irony - leaving a campaign function to attend a funeral.

Gilbert - If I were to guess I'd say the Governor appoints a replacement senator and the party appoints a replacement candidate.
posted by revbrian at 10:50 AM on October 25, 2002


Wellstone was the only senator I ever really related to. He seemed to come out of nowhere as a college professor with goofy curly hair, and his campaign ads showed him driving around the state in his old broken down green school bus, meeting everyone with the enthusiasm of a true non-politician. Man of the people, indeed. Damn damn damn.
posted by GaelFC at 10:53 AM on October 25, 2002


Gilbert: Who knows? All of 10 days before election.... Ventura is an Independant...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:53 AM on October 25, 2002


Hrm, CNN was talking about that guys' ads I think, the other day.

Hrm, I know the guy who was running against ashcroft stayed on, and his wife took his spot. But this guy's wife is dead.

I would assume that he would stay on the ballit, win, and someone would get apointed or something. But who knows.
posted by delmoi at 10:53 AM on October 25, 2002


I'm sure we'll find out, Gilbert, just to let you know that others probably are thinking that in the back of their heads.

This is tragic on so many levels I can't even address them right now.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:53 AM on October 25, 2002


crap, the people of minnesota were served well by him. pipe dream: the dems nominate or throw support behind the green canidate that was takeing votes away. flame me.
posted by the aloha at 10:55 AM on October 25, 2002


It's campaign season -- and politicians spend a lot of time on planes. Mel Carnahan died the same way just two years ago. And fmr. Sen. John Tower a decade ago, also with his wife and one daughter; the same year Sen. John Heinz died in a crash.

Alas, another entry for the Political Graveyard list of politicians killed in air accidents.

Gilbert: it depends on Minnesota law. The Missouri example had the governor appointing Carnahan's wife for a 2-year term until a new election could be held; New Jersey is showing that late replacements are being allowed by some state courts. It's too late to mount any but a cursory campaign, though. But as in Missouri, if the opponent wins the election outright ... he's won.
posted by dhartung at 10:56 AM on October 25, 2002


This is terrible! Does anyone know who the daughter was? One of his children, Marcia, was my Spanish teacher in high school. She was a wonderful energetic teacher. I am immensely saddened by this news. I voted for Wellstone, and though I don't live in Minnesota anymore, I greatly admired him. He was a great guy.
posted by McBain at 10:56 AM on October 25, 2002


(newbie alert)

This is oddly like, but different from, the situation two years ago with Governer Mel Carnahan, who was running against now-AG Ashcroft. Mel won posthumously, and his wife (who's running a hard race this time out) was appointed in his place.

It's likely too late to get a different candidate on the ballot, but there *are* provisions for this sort of thing.

On preview, whoops, my timing sucks.

If I recall, wasn't Wellstone touted as one of the last real liberals/men-of-the-people in Congress?
posted by notsnot at 10:57 AM on October 25, 2002


What a tragedy.

Wellstone was a man of great integrity. His senate candidacy was one of the crucial swing races chosen by moveonpac. I'd just donated to his campaign yesterday.
posted by jcruelty at 10:58 AM on October 25, 2002


it was their daughter marcia that was killed.
posted by m2bcubed at 10:59 AM on October 25, 2002


I am shocked and so very saddened to hear this news. The fact that his wife and daughter were also killed compounds this tragedy. Ditto on everyone's admiration for the guy. My sincere condolences on this terrible loss. Shades of Mel Carnahan, except this time, there's no one left from his family to appoint.
posted by rowell at 10:59 AM on October 25, 2002


I just heard that the daughter was Marcia. My spanish teacher at White Bear Lake High School is dead.
posted by McBain at 11:01 AM on October 25, 2002


Bush fears Tenacious, Popular Wellstone and more from Commondreams.

Very, very sad.
posted by muckster at 11:02 AM on October 25, 2002


According to this page:

DEMOCRATIC SEAT AT CRITICAL RISK Second-term Sen. Paul Wellstone (D) won his last two races with about 50 percent of the vote each time. In seeking a third term, he’s breaking a two-term limit pledge, which has stained his image as a populist man of principle. His opponent is former St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman, who lost a race for governor in 1998 to former wrestler Jesse Ventura. Both parties see this as a key contest, and are pouring money and national resources into it. Wellstone's opposition to the President's policy on Iraq may be a crucial issue in the final days of this race.

posted by jragon at 11:02 AM on October 25, 2002


Mel Carnahan died the same way just two years ago. And fmr. Sen. John Tower a decade ago, also with his wife and one daughter; the same year Sen. John Heinz died in a crash.

Wow. I'm a little worried that four Senators have died in transportation accidents over the past decade- I really think that is enough to have an effect on democracy. They need to be given use of Army or Nationa Guard transport or something.
posted by gsteff at 11:08 AM on October 25, 2002


Jesse Ventura can appoint a replacement to fill the remainder of Wellstone's term. If he chooses an independent or a Republican, that would take the Senate back out of Democratic hands until January.
posted by rcade at 11:10 AM on October 25, 2002


jragon: Wellstone's poll numbers had actually increased after the anti-military-action vote.
posted by raysmj at 11:11 AM on October 25, 2002


I'm sick over this. There haven't been many senators in my lifetime I've felt I could admire. Now there's one fewer. A great loss to our country.
posted by BT at 11:11 AM on October 25, 2002


Found this online summary of Wellstone's 1990 ads. I'd forgotten the "Looking for Rudy" angle. Sad sad day.

WELLSTONE FOR SENATE: "This short series contains some of the most entertaining political commercials of all time, which were part of a successful campaign by progressive Carleton College professor Paul Wellstone to unseat Rudy Boschwitz as U.S. Senator from Minnesota. The series includes a two-minute send-up of the film Roger and Me, in which Wellstone takes a video camera and goes looking for his opponent."
posted by GaelFC at 11:15 AM on October 25, 2002


great..the democrats lose yet another seat in the senate.
will they make it up in november?
posted by car_bomb at 11:17 AM on October 25, 2002


I work in a Dem office; we were called and told his two daughters and wife were also on board.

A very sad day. What a beautiful and spirited man he was.
posted by jennak at 11:17 AM on October 25, 2002



I admired Wellstone an awful lot, this is very sad

Some Wellstone legislation here
And here

Here a long list
posted by matteo at 11:18 AM on October 25, 2002


If he chooses an independent or a Republican, that would take the Senate back out of Democratic hands until January.

Well, only if the independent votes Republican. If he/she abstains, the Dems retain a 50-49-1 majority.
posted by gsteff at 11:18 AM on October 25, 2002


US Senate vacancies, manner of filling; and Death or vacancy in nomination; and Vacancy in nomination; changing ballots, which applies because the election is fewer than 16 days away. There will be no appointment by Ventura: MN law provides for the winner of the November election to immediately take office, so there wouldn't be a two-month appointment as in some other states. And the last item provides that MN voters and election judges will be handling -- don't wince -- millions of special paper ballots.

I'm guessing the Dems might put in Skip Humphrey (most recent candidate for governor).

Wellstone's voice was one of smart, thoughtful progressivism. He'll be missed.
posted by dhartung at 11:18 AM on October 25, 2002


Cancel what I said. We are swamped here and I wrote that a half hour ago and never hit "post." Then I accidentally posted it when I meant to update it. Only one daughter was on board, but a tragedy no less.
posted by jennak at 11:20 AM on October 25, 2002


This is very shocking and sad. Paul Wellstone was one of the few people in politics that kept me from giving up on a corrupt system altogether. He actually seemed to be pulling ahead in the race in recent weeks. I had seen him around the city several times at various rallies. I'm not even sure what to say.

I'm sick over this. There haven't been many senators in my lifetime I've felt I could admire. Now there's one fewer. A great loss to our country.

My thoughts precisely.
posted by triggerfinger at 11:24 AM on October 25, 2002


So unfortunate, on so many levels.
posted by edlark at 11:31 AM on October 25, 2002


I had hoped to see a Wellstone administration one day. Now I know how some people felt when Robert Kennedy died. I grieve for Senator Wellstone's friends and relatives and for all the rest of us who are so much poorer without him.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:31 AM on October 25, 2002


Whoops, meant to hit preview, not post.
Skip Humphrey is, of course, the son of Hubert H. Humphrey Jr. (VP under LBJ, and 1968 Democratic nominee for President) and his wife Muriel, who assumed his seat when he died. His father actually held both seats at different times, an unusual distinction. As MN Attorney General for 16 years, he has a statewide profile in addition to his family name recognition. (His own son, Buck Humphrey, is running for his Dad's old job and is already on the 2002 ballot.)
posted by dhartung at 11:33 AM on October 25, 2002


As several other people have already said, Wellstone was practically the only politician that I honestly admired. What a sad, sad day.
posted by jnthnjng at 11:48 AM on October 25, 2002


As a Minnesotan, I am particularly saddened.

Senator Wellstone attended the funeral of a good friend of mine earlier this year. He didn't make a big deal about being there or draw attention to himself. He was just another mourner in the pews.

A couple of weeks ago, my parents went to a fund-raising meet-and-greet reception (for a $50 donation). They gushed about Wellstone. They said he was limping so badly from his MS that he had trouble walking but that he was energetically and enthusiastically greeting everyone. They said he was extraordinarily warm and personable. He made such an impression that they put up a green Wellstone! lawn sign, something which they'd never done before.
posted by MarquisDeShad at 11:48 AM on October 25, 2002


Before it was learned that Sheila Wellstone was also on board, I heard at least one Minnesotan wishing she would run for Paul's seat.

Words just fail me at how sad this is. I remember when he actually won his first election, it was as unexpected and as amazing as could be.
posted by GaelFC at 11:49 AM on October 25, 2002


Interesting that the balance of the Senate now rests in the hands of Jesse Ventura. Who'da thunk it? I saw him on TV just the other day saying he might resign the Governership early so that the person who would take over could become the first woman governer in Minnesota history. Maybe now he'll go ahead and do that and appoint himself to the Senate?

As for the ballot -- they're saying on TV that up until 4 days before the election the state democratic party can replace the candidate. If they don't, and Wellstone wins, then Jesse gets to appoint someone to the seat. Since Jesse is not a democrat, I don't see the state party folks taking that chance. They'll replace the name on the ballot for sure.
posted by spilon at 11:49 AM on October 25, 2002


I work on a public TV public affairs show in the Twin Cities, and Wellstone used to stop by the bar where the crew hung out after the show and have a few laughs. He was an upstanding guy, one of the very few people in politics that I've been really really excited about on a gut level. This is a sad day.

You can watch a crappy low-bandwidth version of Wellstone's legendary "Where's Rudy?" campgain commercial here.
posted by Dok Millennium at 11:52 AM on October 25, 2002


My God. Between 2000, 2002 and 2004, we're living through some of the most bizzare elections in U.S. history.
posted by gsteff at 11:53 AM on October 25, 2002


jragon: Wellstone's poll numbers had actually increased after the anti-military-action vote.

Interesting -- but whether his numbers went up or down, the Iraq vote is definitely a hot issue. It's encouraging to see his numbers go up.

Well, this very sad news. Barring evidence that the plane was tampered with, it's also frustrating news politically.
posted by jragon at 11:53 AM on October 25, 2002


Walter Mondale is another person the media is speaking of as a potential appointment, along with others. Mondale previously served in the U.S. Senate and when Humphrey was elected vice president in 1964, Gov. Karl Rolvaag appointed Mondale to Humphrey's seat in the U.S. Senate. Mondale was reelected in 1966 and 1972. While Mondale's ideology is similar to Wellstone's, Mondale's appointment may be unlikely because Mondale currently resides in Washington, D.C. and is apparently retired from politics.
posted by quam at 11:54 AM on October 25, 2002


That's so sad. : ( I always liked Wellstone.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:57 AM on October 25, 2002


Barring evidence that the plane was tampered with

Why do you do this? incredibly disrespectful to start with that crap...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:58 AM on October 25, 2002


Barring evidence that the plane was tampered with, it's also frustrating news politically.

Shut up.
posted by gsteff at 12:00 PM on October 25, 2002


On the Washington Post site, there's an obituary with a sidebar -- and a few links to recent WP stories about the Senator

Good material on Wellstone's legislation at a fan's site -- this guy actually organized a sort of campaign to e-mail the Senator and try to encourage him to run for president
posted by matteo at 12:00 PM on October 25, 2002


Wellstone was a professor at the college I attended, (Carleton College, Northfield MN), and was always WAY out there on the left. He was always at the forefront of whatever controversy was active at the time, (Nuclear Freeze was one of his as I recall). I was astounded, (and proud of the Minnesotans), when he got elected. "You mean that crazy-haired left wing freak is a US SENATOR?"

He will be sorely missed...
posted by Windopaene at 12:00 PM on October 25, 2002


Republicans will do anything to win.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:05 PM on October 25, 2002


Another Carleton alum weighing in here. His first election (1990) happened during my senior year, and was one of the most memorable times in my life. I knew a lot of people who not only had him as a prof, but volunteered for his campaign.

Totally devastating.

I'd also like to know who else was on the plane (besides his family). Has that been posted anywhere?
posted by mpemulis at 12:08 PM on October 25, 2002


My god, this is horrible. There's a good overview of Wellstone's career at the Star-Tribune site, and I'll second Matteo's fan site.

Decide for yourself if you want to read the following, more critical overviews. I think they nicely demonstrate the difficulties Wellstone faced as the Senate's most consistently left-wing member and aren't posted with any disrespect. If it's not the right time, well, just skip them:

2001 Mother Jones article critical of Wellstone's evolution
Alexander Cockburn's rather biting analysis from July 2002

Why do you do this? incredibly disrespectful to start with that crap...

Oh, horseshit, Steve_at_Linnwood. Noting the possibility of political assassination here is hardly out of line. Especially when we know that violent, politically-motivated lunatics are part of the landscape on all sides of the spectrum.
posted by mediareport at 12:14 PM on October 25, 2002


I believe Dan Hartung is correct; Gov. Ventura gets to appoint somone only until polls close on Nov. 5; whoever wins that election will immediately take office if our reading of Subd. 12 is correct:

" Subd. 12. Succession by regularly elected senator. An individual who is elected to the office of United States senator for a regular six-year term when the office is vacant or is filled by an individual appointed pursuant to subdivision 11, shall also succeed to the office for the remainder of the unexpired term. "
posted by mikewas at 12:16 PM on October 25, 2002


I will personally kick the ass of anyone who turns this into a political issue. A man who worked hard to serve his community and his country has died. All ConspiracyFilter, PolicyFilter, and PartyFilter comments can go elsewhere.

Hats off to this man and his family. It's fun to talk about how much we hate liberals or hate conservatives or whatever, but when it comes right down to it, they're all people who are willing to put massive time and effort into trying to make our lives better, and we should salute every last one of them.
posted by oissubke at 12:16 PM on October 25, 2002


Um, CNN is reporting that the MN Democratic Party gets to pick the replacement:

Under Minnesota law, if a nominee in a Senate race dies during a campaign, his or her political party can select a replacement candidate no later than four days before the general election. Election Day this year is November 5.
posted by mediareport at 12:18 PM on October 25, 2002


I for one welcome our NewsFilter overlords.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:20 PM on October 25, 2002


All ConspiracyFilter, PolicyFilter, and PartyFilter comments can go elsewhere.

Yeah. Right. Whatever you say. Some of us are capable of intelligent discussion along with strong feelings. If you want to mourn Wellstone's death in a meaningful way, perhaps you should turn off your computer and go light a candle while you think about patriotism and service to the community and country.

Seriously.
posted by mediareport at 12:21 PM on October 25, 2002


I'm a Minnesotan, and have been active in the DFL (Minnesota's Democratic party) for most of my adult life. Senator Wellstone was an honorable man and a tireless advocate for both Minnesotans and progressives across the country.

I hate to move onto the political ramifications so quickly, but a couple of issues have come to mind. First, there will be a question of whether a new candidate will be able to replace Senator Wellstone on the ballots (i.e., on the actual pieces of paper people use to vote) and, if not, whether a vote for Wellstone will count toward his replacement. This is significant, I think, because my second concern is how the state will deal with absentee ballots. I voted two weeks ago, and I voted for Paul Wellstone. I want my vote to count as a vote for the DFL candidate.

If Governor Ventura is able to appoint a successor (and I assume he has that power, although I haven't checked) he could appoint just about anyone. Ventura is a member of the Independence Party and an advocate of third parties. He will be under enormous pressure to appoint an Independent. That said, he's made tremendously good appointments as governor -- particularly in the judiciary -- and has been much less partisan than his predecessors. Depending on who Ventura appoints, the GOP could regain control of the Senate, if only until the new Senators are sworn in in January.

Dhartung: I don't think Skip is a legitimate candidate for appointment. I don't think he's particularly well respected by anyone in any party. And among politicians and attorneys, he's infamous for being unintelligent. If I had to pick a name, it would be Walter Mondale, Kathleen Blatz (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), Alan Page (Associate Justice), or Dean Barkley (leader of the MN Reform Party).
posted by subgenius at 12:26 PM on October 25, 2002


I probably disagreed with him on all but a few social issues, but -- in some weird way -- I always liked the fact that he and Russ were out there.

Noting the possibility of political assassination here is hardly out of line.

Noting the possibility of political assassination when there is not a single fact known at this time that would lend credence to such a theory IS out of line.

Just when I thought I had this whole "newsfilter" criticism figured out. Don't get me wrong, I think this is worthy of discussion, but then I thought the same of the sniper ...
posted by probablysteve at 12:26 PM on October 25, 2002


What a horrible thing.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:28 PM on October 25, 2002


His speech opposing the war in Iraq was second only to Byrd's. A great guy. Anyone who writes a book called "Conscience of a Liberal" is okay with me.
posted by PrinceValium at 12:29 PM on October 25, 2002


On update I should have caught Mikewas's apt comments, but I confused all of Mediareport's comments and thought the page hadn't been updated. Mea culpa.
posted by subgenius at 12:29 PM on October 25, 2002


Oh, horseshit, Steve_at_Linnwood. Noting the possibility of political assassination here is hardly out of line. Especially when we know that violent, politically-motivated lunatics are part of the landscape on all sides of the spectrum.

NO. The issue is what jragon said:

Barring evidence that the plane was tampered with, it's also frustrating news politically.

Therefore: It would not be frustrating if it turned out that some one had tampered with the plane... That the Democrats could use the Wellstone & family's death as issue of assassination to win the seat...

Not caring about that fact that a man, who I completely disagreed with yet mourn, and his family have died....

That is not only heartless, but spineless as well...


capable of intelligent discussion

Yes, jumping to unfounded conclutions with no reason to make them, in hope that one can use a tragic event for political gain...

Yeah that is what I call intelligent discussion...

meidareport how can you come to the defense of this scum...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:29 PM on October 25, 2002


i won't miss wellstone. he's part of the obstructionist block in the senate that held up passage of the homeland security bill

how does senator ventura sound to y'all?
posted by jasontromm at 12:34 PM on October 25, 2002


I'd also like to know who else was on the plane (besides his family).

"The other five victims were three campaign workers, identified by a Wellstone spokesman as Will McLaughlin, Tom Lapic and Mary McEvoy, and two pilots."
posted by hootch at 12:36 PM on October 25, 2002


Noting the possibility of political assassination when there is not a single fact known at this time that would lend credence to such a theory IS out of line.

No, IT'S NOT. Noting a possibility on many people's minds, especially given the world's current political state, is hardly "jumping to unfound conclusions," as Steve_at_Linnwood so ridiculously put it. The only people jumping to conclusions here are the conservatives who immediately assumed the implied murderers were Republican Party operatives. Yeesh. What is it with folks telling other folks how to feel in this thread?

meidareport how can you come to the defense of this scum...

I think someone else could afford to turn off his computer and take deep breaths. Your post was a mess, Steve_at_Linnwood; its analysis was incoherent and its assumptions about what jragon cares and doesn't care about were absurdly insulting, given that he acknowledged it was "very sad news." Give it a rest and stop trying to stifle honest discussion at MeFi.

Oh, btw, probablysteve; as Matt's pointed out in the past, the "newsfilter" thing is about balance; I don't know anyone who's suggested no breaking news posts ever. But multiple sniper threads in one week felt over the top to me.
posted by mediareport at 12:37 PM on October 25, 2002


Wellstone was a guy I found simultaneously frustrating and immensely likeable. He was IMO plain wrong on a lot of issues, but I had a great deal of respect for the man. I echo many of the comments above: he will be missed.

Barring evidence that the plane was tampered with, it's also frustrating news politically.

So if the plane was tampered with, this would make you happy?

They need to be given use of Army or Nationa Guard transport or something.

The military has its own history of plane and helicopter crashes. I think this is simply a function of how many miles national politicians log on planes, especially during campaign season.
posted by deadcowdan at 12:39 PM on October 25, 2002


Paul Wellstone is a hunted man. Minnesota's senior senator is not just another Democrat on White House political czar Karl Rove's target list, in an election year when the Senate balance of power could be decided by the voters of a single state. Rather, getting rid of Wellstone is a passion for Rove, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and the special-interest lobbies that fund the most sophisticated political operation ever assembled by a presidential administration. - JOHN NICHOLS, The Nation, May 9, 2002
posted by vomitous at 12:41 PM on October 25, 2002


I met Wellstone in Byerly's just after he was elected to the Senate. A great man. One of the last true progressives. I miss him already.
posted by mikrophon at 12:42 PM on October 25, 2002


From Reuters:
Wellstone delivered a typical populist speech, touting all his liberal positions and wound up by yelling, "we're gonna win this race, we're gonna win this race."

He seemed utterly convinced that he would.

The only totally miniscule bright side to this is that he almost certainly will. I'm guessing Dem turnout in MN will be huge after this. It's tragic what it takes to get out the vote.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:45 PM on October 25, 2002


So if the plane was tampered with, this would make you happy?

I should say for the record (and I know the above wasn't directed at me), I'm not defending jragon's rather thoughtless phrasing; I'm attacking the idea that it's beyond the pale to raise the possibility of assassination at all here.
posted by mediareport at 12:45 PM on October 25, 2002


I'll second a Senator Ventura.
I wouldn't have voted for him again for Gov. even if he was running. But the damage that man could do to our "steady as she goes" political system in Washington, that would seem fitting somehow.
posted by norm111 at 12:48 PM on October 25, 2002


Walter Mondale was mentioned earlier. When he became Jimmy Carter's running mate, he resigned his Senate seat. In 1976, MN Governor Wendell Anderson essentially "self-appointed" himself to the post. It was his policial undoing. Lordy, I hope Jesse Ventura doesn't have any such plans.
posted by CosmicSlop at 12:51 PM on October 25, 2002


Anyone interested in watching how thse loopy conspiracy theories start and thrive, point your browsers here.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:53 PM on October 25, 2002


Metafilter: Where we eulogize the dead while calling the living "scum".
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:55 PM on October 25, 2002


i won't miss wellstone. he's part of the obstructionist block in the senate that held up passage of the homeland security bill

Why don’t you go troll somewhere else. Decent folks are in mourning here, regardless of our political views. I don’t know about yours, but my mother taught me that we don’t applaud the deaths of our political enemies.

Of course, I guess I should know better than to expect this creep to show any respect.

Jeebus, can we hit reset on this day?
posted by Fenriss at 12:57 PM on October 25, 2002


don't know much about the bloke but what I have managed to garner he seemed like an honest and earnest politican, unfortunately there is a dearth of such men in legislatures worldwide.

yep we fight over land but ultimately its the land that claims you and not the other way around.
posted by johnnyboy at 12:58 PM on October 25, 2002


Paul Wellstone was one of the few people in congress that i felt was capable of creating a new paradigm in American politics, along with folks like Rep. Dennis Kuchinich and Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee. God[-dess] forbid that his death is used advantageously in any way. We're all human before we're party members. He will be missed.
posted by moonbird at 12:59 PM on October 25, 2002


Paul Wellstone was always the best thing on C-SPAN. It's interesting that many non-Minnesotans considered him their favorite senator, the one that they wish they could have had representing them.

Here in Missouri, we (including me) voted for and elected a deceased candidate last time around, of course. I've heard that the Republican candidate in Minnesota was running mostly an anti-opponent, not pro-myself sort of campaign; I wouldn't be surprised if Wellstone was re-elected posthumously.

Meanwhile, Widow Carnahan has raised a record $10+ million (including $1 million in two weeks), trying to go back for six more.



posted by jmcmurry at 1:07 PM on October 25, 2002


I'm attacking the idea that it's beyond the pale to raise the possibility of assassination at all here.

right. 'cause that worked out so well when the republicans killed mel carnahan.
posted by lescour at 1:08 PM on October 25, 2002


Thanks for the link, lupus. Hang on a minute:

AAARRRGGGHHH!

There. I feel better.
posted by deadcowdan at 1:08 PM on October 25, 2002


I am from MN, and while I have sympathy for a man who hasdied and those that knew him, he was no saint. I'm fairly liberal (although my vote is going to be for Coleman or Pentel), but he was a man that you could see right through.


Honor the man by wishing his family peace, but don't kiss his ass - he was simply another politician - he was just better at convincing you he wasn't. He had the same sensitive and fake reactions that all his other party members have. make no mistake - he was just another guy in office.
posted by cuomofied at 1:09 PM on October 25, 2002


If you want to understand a little bit what a David beats Goliath win Wellstone's first victory was, read this article from the Mpls Strib, my former employer.

"Wellstone gave no ground on his principles. What he said in public, he also said in private. He sometimes held his tongue but could not banish his true emotions from his face...

In a year when voters wanted to shower off the political slime, Wellstone ran a campaign based on issues, and he made people smile.

In the darkest moments of the campaign's final days, when tears of anger and pain trickled down his cheeks, he resisted the urge to respond in kind to Boschwitz's personal attacks.

Instead, he placed his faith in the basic goodness and fairness of the voters. By a large majority, they rewarded him with their trust - and with a seat in the U.S. Senate."
posted by GaelFC at 1:10 PM on October 25, 2002


My post was thoughtless, and I apologize for posting without thinking it out beforehand.
posted by jragon at 1:20 PM on October 25, 2002


Mediareport: The party gets to pick a replacement candidate; the electorate picks the person who will be sworn in on Nov. 6; Gov. Ventura picks who holds the office until that day.

I think we're agreeing.

Oissubke: One ought not to trheaten to kick someone's ass unless one means to follow through, one can follow through, and one has left a statement of intent on a public forum so that one's remains can be identified after one gets blown away in a righteous episode of self-defense.
posted by mikewas at 1:27 PM on October 25, 2002


By a large majority, they rewarded him with their trust - and with a seat in the U.S. Senate.

The NYT says he won with 50.4% the first time. Not my idea of a large majority.

Also, just read that he graduated from my school, UNC-Chapel Hill. Judging by his politics, I guess I'm not surprised. Not that the naifs running the school paper will write anything about it.

Question: Was Wellstone considered a potential future presidential candidate?
posted by gsteff at 1:27 PM on October 25, 2002


Yesterday I got a lengthy e-mail from Wellstone where he discussed his position against unilateral action in Iraq. Though I disagree with the fellow, I found his words to be a kind gesture in response to my terse message I sent him a few weeks before.

Sure, mine was likely one of many inboxes that received that e-mail, but I appreciate him taking the time to lay it all out in the first place.

A copy of Wellstone's reply is up at my weblog. I think the words sum up the man quite well.
posted by Dane at 1:28 PM on October 25, 2002


AAARRRGGGHHH!

Silliness and jumping to conclusions from Indymedia visitors - quelle surprise. Can the rest of us wait until we get a full investigation into the plane crash before ruling out any possibilities? Or is doing that somehow dishonoring the dead people in the plane?
posted by mediareport at 1:30 PM on October 25, 2002


Can the rest of us wait until we get a full investigation into the plane crash before ruling out any possibilities?

Yeah! All this talk of conspiracies is distracting Trent while he measures the office next door for new drapes.
posted by machaus at 1:35 PM on October 25, 2002


Check the Coleman for Senate site. It's a blank white page right now.
posted by mediareport at 1:37 PM on October 25, 2002


From above:

Paul Wellstone is a hunted man. Minnesota's senior senator is not just another Democrat on White House political czar Karl Rove's target list, in an election year when the Senate balance of power could be decided by the voters of a single state. Rather, getting rid of Wellstone is a passion for Rove, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and the special-interest lobbies that fund the most sophisticated political operation ever assembled by a presidential administration. - JOHN NICHOLS, The Nation, May 9, 2002
posted by vomitous at 12:41 PM PST on October 25


and:

Oh, horseshit, Steve_at_Linnwood. Noting the possibility of political assassination here is hardly out of line. Especially when we know that violent, politically-motivated lunatics are part of the landscape on all sides of the spectrum.
posted by mediareport at 12:14 PM PST on October 25


From the Washington Post:

"Aviation officials said that the pilot had been advised during the flight of conditions that could lead to the build up of ice on the wings and make flight difficult."

Imagine that...a small plane went down in bad weather...who'd a thunk it? /sarcasm

What howling morons...maybe we could at least bury the guy before we gin up a conspiracy or start sharpening our political axes.
posted by cyclopz at 1:38 PM on October 25, 2002


cuomofied, not kissing ass. Completely honest. That man was perhaps the best politician i've ever known. nobody's an angel, but he was a hell of a lot closer than just about anybody else out there. By the way, interesting that you're thinking of voting for somebody (pentel) that isn't even running for the senate.
posted by jnthnjng at 1:40 PM on October 25, 2002




Alan Page, a Minnesota State Supreme Court Justice and former Vikings football player, is rumored to be a leading replacement by the Democrats, in addition to Mondale.
posted by quam at 1:42 PM on October 25, 2002


Mediareport: Since when has an official investigation stopped the usual suspects in the conspiracy crowd from jumping to their usual conclusions? Before, during and after?
Here, I'll jump to a conclusion: A twin turbo prop commuter plane crashed while attempting an ILS landing in bad conditions to an "airport" with no air traffic control resulting from some combination of pilot error, hubris and mechanical failure.
Two words: Shit happens.
Conspiracy theories are poisoning intelligent, provocative responses to the status-quo and Bush's march to war. They're the refuge of intellectual lightweights.
(I'm not lumping you in with that crowd, unless, of course, you do believe Meyssan and his ilk; these things always set me off.)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:44 PM on October 25, 2002


Noting a possibility on many people's minds, especially given the world's current political state, is hardly "jumping to unfound conclusions."

Noting possibilities without any substantiating facts is what then? And what purpose does it serve?

It just reminds me of the spurious Clinton death-list e-mail: possibilities on some -- rather sad -- people's minds.

Wellstone gave no ground on his principles. What he said in public, he also said in private.

That was always my opinion of him, but how did he reconcile his 2 term pledge with this re-election bid? (I have not been following this election at all.)

Can the rest of us wait until we get a full investigation into the plane crash before ruling out any possibilities?

How about waiting for an investigation before engaging in wild speculation? Can we at least rule out the weather and pilot error, 'cause those are so pedestrian? (Sorry for being so flippant, conspiracy theories annoy me more than DC traffic.)
posted by probablysteve at 1:48 PM on October 25, 2002


I, for one, welcome our new ice-flying overlords.
posted by Vidiot at 1:59 PM on October 25, 2002


i work in the capitol as a reporter. went to his office to get comment right when we heard. staffers were still coming around the corner to his office, only to find the assembled press, and having to be informed by reporters what had happened. it's the worst time to be a reporter, when people's grief is the only thing you can get on tape, when there's no other information. that's why people hate the media.

a few months back, i went to a hearing on the issue of arial spraying of coca plants in columbia, a practice the US funds and whose results are disasterous for people and livestock and crops. wellstone held a special session of the foreign relations committee to get the testimony of farmers, columbian health workers, and NGO's into the record. he was the only lawmaker who showed up. he had even visited columbia to see the damage firsthand. at the hearing he said "i think i am the only congressman holding the distinction of having been been sprayed with herbicide from an airplane."

we lost a real hero in the progressive community today!
posted by jfc at 2:04 PM on October 25, 2002


"I, for one, welcome our new Republican conspiracists overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a tax-paying plebeian, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground propagando-fascist caves."
posted by four panels at 2:11 PM on October 25, 2002


Question: Was Wellstone considered a potential future presidential candidate?

I have heard that he was considering running; I also heard that in 2000. Many progressives were asking him to do it. I would have voted for Wellstone in a heartbeat; a lot faster than it takes me to vote for Nader.

I lived in MN during his first campaign. He was an original politician who energized voters greatly and made me, a teenager at the time, very optimistic.

I'll venture another theory about candidate plane crashes: busy October schedule + cold weather + small, charter planes. A tragic mix of American politics and unfortunate circumstances.
posted by rschram at 2:11 PM on October 25, 2002


Noting possibilities without any substantiating facts is what then?

it's just noting possibilities. possibilities does not equal probabilities.
posted by tolkhan at 2:16 PM on October 25, 2002


My sister still attends White Bear Lake High School. She also volunteered in Wellstone's campaign. The school made an announcement during the day, and is devastated at the loss of one of their most popular teachers (daughter Marcia) and for one of the most prominent figures in Minnesota. My sister came home crying.
posted by McBain at 2:17 PM on October 25, 2002


probablysteve, look again at my third comment - my first about the speculation that it could be foul play. I was specifically referring to this:

"I will personally kick the ass of anyone who turns this into a political issue...All ConspiracyFilter, PolicyFilter, and PartyFilter comments can go elsewhere."

The ridiculous idea that any political, party or conspiracy discussion/speculation belonged elsewhere is what I was responding to. This thread is as good a place for that discussion as any. I also disagree that raising the very possibility of (gasp!) foul play counts as "wild speculation." If it does, it's "wild speculation" that's almost certainly being considered at least once by millions of Democrats around the country. Attempts to stifle it here are what's really out of line. And Steve_at_Linwood's obviously dashed-off outburst was just the kind of insulting over-reaction he recently took someone to MeTa for.

lupus, I share your disdain for loony conspiracies that poison rational debate. But I also know that political murders happen, and am more than willing to keep an open mind until I see some evidence.

cyclopz, your "howling morons" statement speaks for itself, but probably not in the way you intended.
posted by mediareport at 2:23 PM on October 25, 2002


Alternet has reprinted "Wellstone for President," a 1998 Pioneer Press op-ed.
posted by ~rschram at 2:24 PM on October 25, 2002


Being on the completely opposite side of the political spectrum as Wellstone, I still recognized and honored him as a man of conscience and conviction. I applauded his efforts, especially, to align public policy on health with reality and not corporate interests (see FDA standards on tobaaco). My prayers are with his family and all those who mourn him.

Whenever these crashes happen, there's always a lot of murmuring about sabotage, assassinations and so forth. I remember a three-hour radio program after Sen. Heinz's death that was a conspiracy theorists' wet dream of "reasons" and "ideas" why everyone from Jimmy Carter to Arlen Spector to George H.W. Bush wanted Heinz dead and had the power to futz with his plane. It was sick then, it's sick now.

That was always my opinion of him, but how did he reconcile his 2 term pledge with this re-election bid? (I have not been following this election at all.)

I believe (someone correct me if I'm thinking of someone else) it was because the party asked him to run again because he had popular support and name recognition in a tough and important race.
posted by Dreama at 2:24 PM on October 25, 2002


jasontromm:

i won't miss wellstone. he's part of the obstructionist block in the senate that held up passage of the homeland security bill.

Yeah, I'm sure that people such as yourself are absolutely dancing a jig over Wellstone's death. He's another progressive that can no longer hold up "progress".

I didn't agree with Wellstone's support of the Patriot Act. I didn't like the fact that he broke a term limits pledge. However, it is a great tragedy to see one of the tiny handful of true liberals left in Congress die in a plane crash. I for one will miss him and I wish there were more like him.
posted by mark13 at 2:28 PM on October 25, 2002


Oops, my comment to Steve about foul play came first. Sorry. Still, my point is the general one about speculation.
posted by mediareport at 2:38 PM on October 25, 2002


Slate is theorizing that the stock market jump today is attributable to Sen. Wellstone's death. In the sense that it makes a Republican reclamation of the Senate more likely, and investors (logically or not) believe that a Republican-controlled Senate is better for the economy. No analyst will say this, of course, but Slate doesn't see any other market moving news after 1:40 pm today, when the jump began.
posted by gsteff at 2:50 PM on October 25, 2002


gsteff: while it's true that another independent would make the senate count 49-49-2, our VP is republican. That means that committee chairmanships/majority leadership positions would go to the republicans.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:52 PM on October 25, 2002 [1 favorite]


ironically tho, "Democrats, it turns out, are much better for the stock market than Republicans. Slate ran the numbers and found that since 1900, Democratic presidents have produced a 12.3 percent annual total return on the S&P 500, but Republicans only an 8 percent return. In 2000, the Stock Trader's Almanac, which slices and dices Wall Street performance figures like baseball stats, came up with nearly the same numbers (13.4 percent versus 8.1 percent) by measuring Dow price appreciation. (Most of the 20th century's bear markets, incidentally, have been Republican bear markets: the Crash of '29, the early '70s oil shock, the '87 correction, and the current stall occurred under GOP presidents.)"
posted by kliuless at 2:57 PM on October 25, 2002


Subgenius:

any absentee votes that come in for Wellstone will be assigned to him, not the nominee who replaces him.

How frustrating.
posted by frykitty at 2:58 PM on October 25, 2002


49-49-2

I counted Jeffords with the Democrats, because thats who he voted for regarding Senate organization. Senate control until Nov. 6, which is all Ventura's appointment would matter for, would only switch back to the Republicans if Ventura appoints a GOP-leadership supporting Senator (Senate=50/50). If he appoints a Senator abstaining on Senate organization, a non-trivial possibility considering the baggage, Senate control would remain democratic (50-49-1). And that's likely moot anyway because, given a republican appointment, the Republicans wouldn't risk a nationwide voter backlash by trying to ram bills through this way days before an election (and the Senate is only holding pro-forma sessions until Nov. 12 anyway).

Senate control between Nov. 6 and the next session would switch back to the GOP if Coleman wins the Minnesota seat (Senate=50/50).
posted by gsteff at 3:13 PM on October 25, 2002


Slate is theorizing that the stock market jump today is attributable to Sen. Wellstone's death. In the sense that it makes a Republican reclamation of the Senate more likely, and investors (logically or not) believe that a Republican-controlled Senate is better for the economy.

I hate Slate...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:15 PM on October 25, 2002


Mr. WELLSTONE: "But, I say to my colleague from Iowa, this is the problem. There are about 70 million people in this country--70 million people--who were not registered to vote. And if you ask the question why, I would suggest that what we do not want to do is blame the victim and say: Well, they suffer from exotic diseases like apathy and alienation. So if they do not want to register to vote, what is the problem?

[...]

"Either State governments are involved or the Federal Government is involved in such a way as we discourage voter registration, we depress participation, and by the way, not with neutral effect, but imposing undue hardships on working people and low- and moderate-income people--or we play an affirmative role in making sure, as we should in a democracy, that every citizen is able to register and vote.

"It is a civil rights issue. That is why we introduced this bill in the U.S. Senate; that is why I think we will vote cloture; and that is why I think we will pass this legislation."

NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION ACT OF 1993 (Senate - March 05, 1993)


Here's a better idea. One of Wellstone's most important accomplishments was his advocacy for the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 or Motor Voter Act. Indeed, in this term he introduced legislation to amend this law to include same-day voter registration.

Likely voters tend to be older, wealthier, whiter, and more conservative, i.e. less representative of the US population as a whole. A fitting tribute to Wellstone would be to vote in this election. Fill out the whole ballot. Encourage your friends and family to vote, and support exapanding voting rights to everyone.
posted by rschram at 3:17 PM on October 25, 2002


"In the sense that it makes a Republican reclamation of the Senate more likely,"

Er, this may be the 'nuck in me theorizing, but how does this make a GOP reclamation more possible? If anything, sympathy votes will go to whoever replaces Wellstone in the tight race, right? Esp. if, as was mooted on CNN -- I know, I'm sorry -- one of his sons raises his father's banner?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:50 PM on October 25, 2002


rschram: Beautifully said.
posted by frykitty at 3:55 PM on October 25, 2002


any absentee votes that come in for Wellstone will be assigned to him, not the nominee who replaces him.

That's ridiculous. At the very least, those ballots should be marked as "provisional" and the absentee voters contacted to have the chance to correct their vote. Forcing them to vote for a candidate who's now dead is absurd.
posted by mediareport at 3:58 PM on October 25, 2002


gsteff: this is an actual Reuters article.

And it's officially that damn sad.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:59 PM on October 25, 2002


kliuless: I'd like to see those numbers run based on what party was in control of congress. Ultimately, they have a much more important impact on the economy than the President does, as evidenced during the Clinton years.
posted by nobody_knose at 4:00 PM on October 25, 2002


the absentee voters contacted to have the chance to correct their vote

Don't you normally fill out an absentee vote if you are not going to be around (or be able to be contacted)....
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 4:03 PM on October 25, 2002


I would like to add the following tribute by Peggy Noonan which beautifully states what many of us who lean conservative felt about him.

God bless those close to him who are in mourning this evening.
posted by Plunge at 4:09 PM on October 25, 2002


Thanks XQUZYK
Memo to Steve:

Start Hating Yahoo Too
posted by matteo at 4:11 PM on October 25, 2002


Actually I will direct that hate at Reuters, where it belongs...

Reuters wrote the story at Yahoo.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 4:17 PM on October 25, 2002


Don't you normally fill out an absentee vote if you are not going to be around (or be able to be contacted)....

Not necessarily. Oregon offers vote-by-mail for all elections now. I've already voted. I don't know how it works in Minnesota.
posted by frykitty at 4:29 PM on October 25, 2002


nobody_knose it was in the article: "Nor does having a Republican Congress help the market. A Democratic Senate showed returns of 10.5 percent (versus 9.4 percent for a GOP upper chamber), and a Democratic House returned 10.9 percent versus 8.1 percent for the Republicans.

[...]

"There may be all sorts of explanations for the bias of the economy and the markets toward Democrats. The worst years of the Great Depression occurred under Republican Herbert Hoover, and Democrats got credit for the entire recovery. Democrats had some awfully good streaks of peace and prosperity in the '30s, late '40s, and '90s. These could be chance, or it could be that Democrats more tightly regulate the markets, which gives investors confidence. Democrats are more likely to spread the wealth around through public spending on education or transportation, which may stimulate the economy more broadly. The foundation of recent GOP economic policy—tax cuts—may offer narrower benefits than Republicans claim. High defense spending, another GOP hallmark, may only boost one sector while hurting the whole economy in the form of bigger federal deficits and higher interest rates."
posted by kliuless at 4:30 PM on October 25, 2002


Don't you normally fill out an absentee vote if you are not going to be around (or be able to be contacted)

Minnesota's early voting doesn't start until Nov. 2, but the state accepts [pdf] being ill, a college student, absent on business, religious reasons or anything else that places you out of the jurisdiction on Election Day as reasons for absentee voting. Are you implying that the whereabouts of most of those voters can't be traced to allow them to vote for one of the actual candidates who'll be on the ballot?

"Not able to vote on election day" =/= "not able to be contacted."
posted by mediareport at 4:30 PM on October 25, 2002


Right now, I'm sitting here in Minneapolis, on a dank bleak evening, watching the candlelight vigil on TV--a hastily-organized memorial service, with Native American drummers and singers, a Jewish cantor, a black evangelical minister shouting "Keep fighting! Keep fighting!" and thousands of cold, damp people holding candles, listening, crying, singing along. Interspersed with live footage of Wellstone's campaign headquarters on University Ave., where crowds of people are stopping by to lay flowers, put up signs, light candles -- so many that the police have had to set up barricades and redirect traffic.

What I keep hearing from all the coverage of this sad event is the respect and affection that everyone, even his opponents, held for Wellstone. What I take from it is that it's indeed possible to conduct your life in such a way that even those who disagree vehemently with you regard you with respect and affection. Something that all of us can consider as we move through our own lives, on MetaFilter and elsewhere.
posted by Kat Allison at 4:38 PM on October 25, 2002


Very nicely said.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:43 PM on October 25, 2002


cuomofied: [...] he was simply another politician - he was just better at convincing you he wasn't. He had the same sensitive and fake reactions that all his other party members have. make no mistake - he was just another guy in office.

By the people, for the people, of the people. Why do so many people assume that once an individual gets into office, he's no longer a genuine, caring person who wants to change the world for the better?

Senator Wellstone was a good politician and a good person, and I am intensely sad about his death. I'll miss him.
posted by swerve at 4:53 PM on October 25, 2002


Allthough I don't agree with his socialist politics I am deeply sadened by the loss. I actually have had a terrible day thinking about it. God bless Paul.
posted by ZupanGOD at 5:18 PM on October 25, 2002


Here's the official word on absentee ballots (just saw an interview with the Minnesota Secretary of State).

All absentee ballots have already been sent out, so absentee voters will not receive the supplementary ballot with the DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor) party's new candidate listed. If the absentee voter has already sent in their ballot, their only recourse is to go to their polling place on the day of the election. If unable to do so, any votes for Wellstone simply do not count. If they have yet to send in their ballot, they can write in the name of the new DFL candidate. If they still choose Wellstone, their vote will not count.

She also mentioned that in the last major election (1998 gubernatorial election) there were 300,000 absentee ballots sent out.
posted by hootch at 5:38 PM on October 25, 2002


As a Brit who takes an interest in US politics, I'd certainly heard of Senator Wellstone, but I was never really aware of his activities and history.

It's a terrible shame that it takes an event like this to lead me to get more of the picture.

Whatever the views on his politics, it certainly seems clear that you've lost a politician who stood out from the crowd.
posted by jonpollard at 5:39 PM on October 25, 2002


Minor correction: I should have said the last major non-presidential election.

Also, on election day, the official ballots will still be used, but with the Senate race blacked-out. Voters will receive a supplementary ballot for the Senate race.
posted by hootch at 5:44 PM on October 25, 2002


What a horrible, sad shock that Paul Wellstone (and his family) are gone. It's a huge loss for the country and for Minnesota. It seemed obvious to me he was a great leader and a courageous and compassionate man.

In the three years I lived in Minnesota, I was proud to call him my Senator. I feel lucky that I was able to see him speak at a union rally last October.

As for the political situation in Minnesota, the Strib reports that former vice president Walter Mondale and current Minnesota Supreme Court justice Alan Page are possible replacements on the ballot.

Others mentioned are Rebecca Yanisch and Mike Ciresi who both, of course, lost to Sen. Mark Dayton in 2000's Democratic primary. Judi Dutcher, who lost to Roger Moe in this year's Democratic primary for governor, said she wasn't interested.
posted by gohlkus at 5:48 PM on October 25, 2002


Lupus - I think his sons aren't yet 35, so couldn't stand in.

A sad day. The worst moment was maybe when his CoS, practially crying, came out and announced his death.

Can they really ignore absentee ballots that have already been sent in?
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:16 PM on October 25, 2002


Ventura was on local TV today saying that he absolutely would not appoint himself to the vacant seat.

Here's a press release from Sen. Wellstone's office about his proposed Motor Vehicle Owner's Right to Repair Act. It's a good concrete example of what the Senator was all about--looking out for regular folks. Wellstone was the kind of guy who would get down with guys like these auto mechanics and ask them: "How does this affect your job, your livelihood?", then turn around and try to do something about it.
posted by gimonca at 6:40 PM on October 25, 2002


One highly risky proposition, if absentee ballots without a replacement DFL candidate really could tip the scales, is to not name a replacement. Let people vote for Wellstone as is and pass the responsibility of appointing a new senator to the new governor. Of course, you say, the new governor will likely be the IR candidate, and would appoint a Republican senator. Therein lies the risk! Because of the unique and emotional circumstances of this race, there is a chance that a Republican would appoint Mondale, to avoid being seen as aloof to the MN voters who chose Wellstone. (But that may not be allowed by state law; I think I read somewhere that Wellstone ballots are already being blotted, with or without a replacement.)
posted by rschram at 6:41 PM on October 25, 2002


If they don't name a replacement candidate there would still be a supplementary ballot, but without a Democratic candidate listed. More likely than not, the Republican candidate would win and that'd be that. Under no circumstance will the new governor be in a position to appoint a senator.
posted by hootch at 7:23 PM on October 25, 2002


I just got back from a retreat with fellow students from my university. We were there to discuss, debate, and mull over issues of race and ethnicity and it was quite an emotional rollercoaster.

That was before we heard the news that Senator Wellstone's plane crashed.

My school is Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and we couldn't help but let out a torrential outburst of tears when we heard the news. Luckily, we had a counselor on hand, who was helping with the conference, to help us through it. Also, we had each other. We were a multiethnic, multicultural group of 60 students from all walks of life yet mostly Minnesotan. Wellstone was our Senator. Most of us had met him personally at one time or another. Most of us would have voted for him for the first time this Nov. 5. Most of us just couldn't believe the news.

On the way home from the conference in this last hour, we were driving down I-694 back to St. Paul when we saw that the car dealerships that dot the freeway were flying their flags at half-mast. Again, tears. Again, horrendous feelings of loss. Again, sadness.

I only got to meet Senator Wellstone once or twice, but I think it's indicative of the man, his beliefs, and his politics that I ever got the chance to see him eye to eye in the first place.

Not only was Senator Wellstone invovled and accessible, his wife and children were advocates for the people as well. Within the past two weeks, both his wife Sheila and daughter Marcia visited Hamline to talk to us about issues important to them, to us, and the Senator. These wonderful women will be missed.

The loss of Senator Wellstone is horrible, and this country definitely needed him.

Wellstone!
posted by Hammerikaner at 7:24 PM on October 25, 2002


I also sit here in Minneapolis, crying for the loss of someone I hardly knew, but someone who I believed to be one of the few politicians I could truly respect.
posted by jojo at 7:28 PM on October 25, 2002


Advance warning: I maintain my grief about all of this, but this post is about the election, and might be seen as offensive in light of what happened. I'm sorry if you feel that way.

Simply because of the absentee ballots, I don't think a replacement will be made. To be morbidly honest, the only thing it could do is reduce the number of votes the Democrats get in the election.

My bet would be that the Democrats get Ventura to allow a Carnahan-style proposal in case Wellston wins the election. Granted the rules might be different in MN than they were in MO, but really now- are the Republicans going to complain?

Wellstone was already polling to win; the added sympathy is only going to guarantee he wins posthumously, and if he stays on the ballot all the absentees will count. After the election, the Democrats can easily put in someone who "promises to carry the Wellstone ideals." Again, good luck complaining.

Personally, I would like to see him still on the ballot, just so that even posthumously his election would prove that a candidate with his ideals is a winning candidate- hopefully one that could promote more to reflect on his legacy. The idea of a new generation of "Wellstone Democrats" is a promising future and a fitting legacy for such a great politician.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:32 PM on October 25, 2002


MN law is quite specific:

Absentee ballots that have been mailed prior to the preparation of official supplemental ballots shall be counted in the same manner as if the vacancy had not occurred. Official supplemental ballots shall not be mailed to absent voters to whom ballots were mailed before the official supplemental ballots were prepared.

I don't see much discretion there. Changing it to be more flexible is up to the Minnesota legislature. It does seem that voting in person is sufficient to nullify an already-mailed absentee ballot, and I don't see any penalties for that. Presumably the secretary of state or election authorities will involve themselves in some public education between now and a week from Tuesday as to how to handle this properly under Minnesota law without incurring legal penalties or spoiling one's ballot.

To speak to a theoretical Wellstone presidential bid, recall that he was considering one for 2000; but in 1998 withdrew his name, due to medical advice that his bad back could not handle the rigors of a national campaign. That, along with the later revelation of his affliction with MS (probably a factor in the back, but he didn't know at the time), seemed to have scotched any likelihood of ever trying in the future. Still, and I mean this with full respect, his progressive politics were about as far left as conventional politics ever really go in the US -- and Minnesota is about the most reliably liberal state there is. If he has a tough time making 50% margins in his home state, he's not a serious political force. I'm sure he recognized this, and saw a campaign as a way of putting certain issues in the national conversation rather than as a realistic shot at running the country; his health problems provided a graceful way to avoid acknowledging this.

And once again: Minnesota law provides that the winner of the election, in the case of a vacancy, will immediately succeed to the office. There will be no appointment by Ventura, the governor-elect, or anyone else. (He could put someone in for the next 11 days, but has apparently already said he won't.) MN law also requires the ballots to be blotted out so that voting for a dead nominee is not possible. The Dems must, perforce, nominate a replacement or forfeit the election.
posted by dhartung at 7:50 PM on October 25, 2002


This Star-Tribune article says that the MN Sec of State suggested that DFL put Wellstone's name back (that is, as his own replacement) on the ballot. The DFL Atty Gen said they couldn't do that.

A bunch of news.google links say that Mondale is a likely replacement, although based on what, I don't know.
posted by ~rschram at 9:08 PM on October 25, 2002


Wellstone was a hell of a guy. Met him several times in DC and he was an actual human, as opposed to a robotic simalcrum powered by public opinion. He will be sorely missed. Horribly, horribly missed.

But, I have to say, firstly:

Actually I will direct that hate at Reuters, where it belongs...
Reuters wrote the story at Yahoo.


Does a tragic death negate facts? Or, discussion of what might be facts? Jesus, what's with the grieving head in the sand routine? It's not disrespecting the man, he was a public figure, and he's not around anymore besides. It's not disrespecting his memory, 'cause that's a crock of shit. Can't disrespect my memory of him.

And two:

Yes, jumping to unfounded conclutions with no reason to make them, in hope that one can use a tragic event for political gain...

This is among the more naive statements I have seen on here. The entire polictical landscape for the past year has been littered with people doing just that. Hello? The War on Iraq, anyone?

Which is sad. He was a great guy, and will end up yet another political football.
posted by umberto at 9:12 PM on October 25, 2002


Does a tragic death negate facts?

Speculation that the market went up because of the now former Senator's death is hardly fact.

The entire political landscape for the past year has been littered with people doing just that.

So, let me get this right... You have no issue with people jumping to unfounded conclusions with no reason to make them... Am I reading you correctly?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:46 PM on October 25, 2002


Steve -- Of course. Don't you know where there is rumor and inuendo with a lack of any real evidence or even the hint thereof forces us to investigate the accusation further to either prove or disprove the unsubstantiated rumor? Its just logical. /sarcasm
posted by Plunge at 10:03 PM on October 25, 2002


Wouldn't it be nice if the affection that people from both sides of the aisle apparently genuinely had for Wellstone would get people to look across the aisle a little differently? I don't expect it to change things in the Senate, but maybe we could at least take that one small fact into account here.

Would it make things worse?
posted by dglynn at 10:52 PM on October 25, 2002


McBain: Teachers who inspire their students are few and far between. I'm sorry you and your sister lost somebody who was so good at her teaching. I'm sorrier still that you both lost a friend (and her mom and her dad). I've lost more than one good teacher in my life and I know how painful it can be. But, if you'll keep on learning Spanish because Marcia got you going, you'll find that helps ease your hearts.
posted by realjanetkagan at 10:57 PM on October 25, 2002


McBain, hug your sister for us. I too have lost teachers, and it affected me immensely.

Thank you realjanetkagan for reminding me of McBain's poignant post earlier. Today his sister lost her Spanish teacher.

McBain, tell your sister that another Spanish student, even though twenty years removed, will be thinking of Marcia Wellstone.
posted by dglynn at 12:05 AM on October 26, 2002


The various websites are becoming available again, with statements:

Statement from Colin McGinnis, Chief of Staff to Senator Paul D. Wellstone

This morning Senator Paul Wellstone, Sheila Wellstone, and Marcia Wellstone, along with Will McLaughlin, Tom Lapic, and Mary McEvoy of our campaign staff were traveling on a plane in northern Minnesota. The FAA indicates that there were an additional two individuals on the plane; we understand both were pilots. The Department of Transportation has confirmed that the identification number on the tail of the plane that went down southeast of Eveleth, Minnesota matched the serial number of Senator Wellstone's plane. The reports are that there were no survivors.

We are shocked and saddened by this horrible news. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those who were on the plane. We will provide additional information as we have it. -- wellstone.senate.gov


*

Statement about Paul Wellstone

Paul Wellstone was one of a kind. He was a man of principle and conviction, in a world that has too little of either. He was dedicated to helping the little guy, in a business dominated by the big guys. We who had the privilege of working with him hope that he will be remembered as he lived every day: as a champion for people.

His family was the center of his life and it breaks our hearts that his wife of 39 years and his daughter Marcia were with him. Our prayers are with Mark and David and the grandchildren he and Sheila cherished so much. -- Wellstone 2002.


*

Statement from Norm Coleman

The people of Minnesota have experienced a terrible, unimaginable tragedy. Laurie and I are deeply saddened about the death of Senator Paul Wellstone, Sheila and their daughter Marcia, members of their campaign staff, and the pilots. The entire Wellstone family has been selfless, public servants who embodied the best of Minnesota. Laurie and I wish to extend our deepest sympathy and heartfelt prayers to the entire Wellstone family and to all families who have been impacted by this terrible tragedy. -- Coleman for Senate

posted by dhartung at 4:41 AM on October 26, 2002


I'm still shocked. Paul Wellstone was one of the few politicians that really touched me. One of my heroes has died.

cuomofied: I'm fairly liberal (although my vote is going to be for Coleman or Pentel), but he was a man that you could see right through.

This is only true in the sense that you could see right through him and into his heart... Paul wore his heart on his sleeve and wasn't afraid to fight for his convictions. He was much different than many other politicians I've met.

Just so you are aware, Coleman and Pentel are in different races. Norm Coleman (Republican), Jim Moore (Independent) and Ray Tricomo (Green) were running against Wellstone. Ken Pentel (Green), Tim Penney (Independent), Tim Pawlenty (Republican) and Roger Moe (Democrat) are all running for governor.

Speaking of Ken Pentel, his passion and conviction are quite similar to Paul's. I've met him on a few occasions and got the same feeling of "this guy actually cares about what he is saying" that I got from Wellstone. Although his chances of winning the election are extremely thin, he may be someone to watch.
posted by bucko at 6:36 AM on October 26, 2002


1. How long before lawyers from both political parties file a suit?

2. How long before the Supreme Court must decide the case?

Sad loss for the people of MN. Can't say I've ever met any congress or senate rep from my state, but only seen/met one Presidential candidate, in a church no less......
posted by brent at 9:04 AM on October 26, 2002


1. They won't.
2. They won't.

Outside of demanding that the election itself is called off, for the Coleman campaign to make any legal attempt to counter something that the Wellstone campaign might request now would be PR if not legal suicide.

Like I said, the Dems will either run a Carnahan-stlye posthumous campaign, or sub in a big-name former politician a la New Jersey. If the Repubs sue for the former, they'll look like complete assholes and lose points in every election across the country, and they can't challenge the latter because that's the actual law.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:12 AM on October 26, 2002


Wellstone was a hell of a guy. Met him several times in DC and he was an actual human, as opposed to a robotic simalcrum powered by public opinion.

So, you've met Al Gore then also?

Could. Not. Resist.
posted by RevGreg at 9:47 AM on October 26, 2002


Now that it's the next day...

The "what happens now" thing is a potential minefield for both parties. Of course, this is much easier for the Republicans because they don't have to make any moves in that minefield--their best strategy is to sit tight and let things run their course.

The replacement problem for the DFL is a big one. If the replacement is a disappointment--and especially if the replacement is seen as being too opportunistic--the whole DFL campaign could collapse, and there will be no time left to repair anything. They only have one chance to make the right decision.

Walter Mondale's advantages are that he wouldn't be seen as a "climber"--he's long since made his reputation--and that he might come off as grandfatherly and comforting. However, he's definitely not a long-term replacement, due to age and that he seems to be pretty happy being retired.

Alan Page is interesting. Successful black man, sports hero, and now grey judicial eminence. He hasn't expressed a lot of overt interest in running for office, which would really help in this situation. Frankly, I don't know what his politics are, I'm just assuming that if he held any positions that conflicted with the DFL or Wellstone's legacy too much, his name wouldn't be tossed around like it has. On a more calculating level, if he left for the U.S. Senate and the Republican Pawlenty gets elected governor, the DFL would lose a chance to choose a State Supreme Court justice.

One of the big knocks against the DFL party, and this goes all the way back to the 1976-1978 debacles at least, is that the DFL is said to be run by clubby insiders who make all the decisions about who runs for what. Now, these decisions wouldn't made in smoke-filled rooms (certainly not in Minnesota!), maybe over bowls of granola and yogurt, but the impression remains that the DFL gets its candidates based on longstanding internal quid-pro-quos and not on who is a strong or vital or electric candidate. (I have to note very, very strongly that Wellstone was an obvious exception to this--one reason he was both well-liked and a huge asset to the DFL party.)

Big example is the DFL nominating Roger Moe for governor this year. Now, I like Moe and I'm going to vote for him, but I have to admit, I get this picture in my head of him meeting with top DFLers and saying, basically, "Hey, it's my turn to run. I've waited for years and been a good boy. My turn now." So, we get a stolid old pine board of a Norwegian farmer running against a young Republican dude named Pawlenty with energy and "likeability" (although I really disagree with him) and former congressman Penny running on principals and honesty and reform, and boring old "it's my turn now" Moe going through the motions. There were plenty of good candidates last spring, but good old Roger Moe cashed in all his old IOUs and got himself on the ticket. It was just too cut and dried.

Four years ago, the DFL ran Skip Humphrey (recognize the name? "It's MY turn.") for governor. He came in third.

Ted Mondale might make a good senator, but until the DFL gets this impression shaken, I think any heir to a famous family name could hurt rather than help, especially in this situation. The DFL needs to avoid favorite sons, social climbers, and any appearance of opportunism.
posted by gimonca at 9:52 AM on October 26, 2002


Okay, before I get too out of hand...

Let me try to piece together the 76-78 roundabout from memory. Feel free to scroll past if this gets too detailed for you.

Senator Walter Mondale gets elected Vice-President in 1976 on the ticket with Jimmy Carter.

Gov. Wendell Anderson (DFL) has to nominate a replacement as Senator. He nominates himself to fill out the rest of the Senatorial term, which runs out in 1978. Everybody gets pissed off at him.

Rudy Perpich becomes the new DFL governor.

Coincidentally, Hubert Humphrey passes away early in 1978. Perpich appoints HHH's wife Muriel Humphrey to be Senator until a special election can be held in the fall of '78.

Result: in 1978, a non-elected governor and both non-elected senators, all DFLers, are up for re-election in the same year. Normally, two senators from the same state are never up for election in the same year. Muriel Humphrey doesn' t run for re-election.

Congressman Don Fraser, longtime DFL insider, runs for one of the Senate seats, and gets beaten in the primary by maverick Bob Short.

November of '78, the Republicans sweep absolutely everything. It's a massacre.

Wendell Anderson, formerly well-liked and respected, never survived politically after appointing himself. He's apparently lived on lawyering and/or consulting since then, although he was spotted modeling men's suits in a newspaper ad several years ago.

Don Fraser got himself elected mayor of Minneapolis in 1980, and did just fine at that for several years. Never tried to return to Washington.

Rudy Perpich, with less of an "insider" tag, got elected governor outright in 1982 and reelected in 1986, so he didn't suffer too much.
Moral of the story: the DFL blew it in 1976-78, and it took them years to recover. Come to think of it, Wellstone was part of the recovery.
posted by gimonca at 10:11 AM on October 26, 2002


Paul wore his heart on his sleeve and wasn't afraid to fight for his convictions.

Maybe you can help me understand something about Wellstone, then, bucko. Again, I mean no disrespect, and if you don't want to answer right now, I understand. But this one has always bothered me whenever I've encountered the "Wellstone always fought for his principles" stuff. Why did Wellstone, a champion of lesbian and gay rights, vote for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996?
posted by mediareport at 12:05 PM on October 26, 2002


Lupus - I think his sons aren't yet 35, so couldn't stand in.

A senator only has to be 30, not 35.

Even though the next senator won't wait for January, Gov. Ventura is still going to appoint a replacement to serve until the election results are certified, according to ABC News. He's probably going to pick a Democrat who isn't planning to run for the office.
posted by rcade at 8:07 PM on October 26, 2002


(Incidentally, both sons appear to be over 30; 30 and 37, to be exact.)
posted by evixir at 9:50 PM on October 26, 2002


It looks like it's going to be Walter Mondale replacing Wellstone on the ballot.
posted by PrinceValium at 6:12 AM on October 27, 2002


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