Ten years ago a small chartered airplane went down on the Iron Range of Minnesota. Paul and Sheila Wellstone, their daughter Marcia Wellstone Markuson, campaign staffers Tom Lapic, Mary McEvoy and Will McLaughlin, and pilots Richard Conry and Michael Guess all died in the crash. It was eleven days before the 2002 election, in which Paul was running for a third term as Senator representing the state of Minnesota. [more inside]
Today is the fifth anniversary of Senator Paul Wellstone's death. Wellstone's friend and Senate colleague Mark Dayton writes in today's St. Paul Pioneer Press that Wellstone's vocal opposition to the Iraq War in the days leading up to his death in an airplane crash offers an example of rare political courage.
Minnesota is a state rich in study material for fans of political oddity. The state has faced famous (and infamous) political news in the last few years, from the legendary surprise independent gubernatorial victory of Jesse "The Body" Ventura to the tragic death of Senator Paul Wellstone and its ensuing fallout, controversy, and lunacy. It holds a unique variation in the usual two-party system with the DFL replacing the Democratic Party. St. Paul will host the 2008 Republican National Convention. And now, the ongoing oddity that is Minnesota politics will now enter a new chapter as Comedian Al Franken, who moved his Air America radio show to his home state of Minnesota a year ago, will be leaving radio in February to run for his late friend Paul Wellstone's old Senate seat against incumbent Republican incumbent Norm Coleman. Another unique fact would be should Franken win the DFL nomination, it would be a rare instance of both candidates from the major parties in a statewide race being Jewish- Franken and Coleman are two of the less than 50,000 Jews living in the state.
some strong words about "corporate chickens" thoughts about giving government contracts to companies that have bolted offshore to tax havens - and who might have slipped this defeat of the wellstone amendment into the "homeland security bill"?