Paul Wellstone

Paul David Wellstone (July 21, 1944 – October 25, 2002) was an American academic, author, and politician who represented Minnesota in the United States Senate from 1991 until he was killed in a plane crash in Eveleth, Minnesota, in 2002. A member of the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, Wellstone was a leader of the progressive wing of the national Democratic Party.

Born in Washington D.C., Wellstone graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science. He was a professor at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and a community organizer in Rice County prior to entering public office. In 1982, he ran an unsuccessful campaign for State Auditor against Republican Arne Carlson.

Wellstone gained national attention after his upset victory over Republican incumbent Rudy Boschwitz in the 1990 US Senate election. Widely considered an underdog and outspent by a 7-to-1 margin, he was the only Democratic candidate to defeat a Republican senator in the 1990 election season. In his 1996 reelection campaign, he defeated Boschwitz in a rematch. He won both Senate elections with a majority of the popular vote.

In 1999, Wellstone formed an exploratory committee to run for President of the United States in the 2000 election. After campaigning in the early primary states, he announced he would not seek the presidency because of sustained physical limitations from a college wrestling injury. His condition was later diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. As Senator, Wellstone authored the Wellstone Amendment for the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. His efforts toward campaign finance reform were posthumously overturned in 2010 by the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In 2002, he was the only Senator facing reelection to vote against the congressional authorization for the Iraq War.[1]

Eleven days before the 2002 U.S. Senate election, Wellstone died in a plane crash in Eveleth, Minnesota. His wife, Sheila, and daughter, Marcia, also died on board. Wellstone's sons, David and Mark, were not on the flight, and now co-chair the Wellstone Action nonprofit organization in honor of their parents.

Paul Wellstone
Paul Wellstone, official Senate photo portrait
United States Senator
from Minnesota
In office
January 3, 1991 – October 25, 2002
Preceded byRudy Boschwitz
Succeeded byDean Barkley
Personal details
Paul David Wellstone

July 21, 1944
Washington, D.C., U.S.
DiedOctober 25, 2002 (aged 58)
Eveleth, Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic-Farmer-Labor
Spouse(s)Sheila Wellstone (1944–2002)
ChildrenDavid Wellstone
Mark Wellstone
Marcia Wellstone (1969–2002)
Alma materUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Background and education

Wellstone was born in Washington, D.C., the second son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants Leon and Minnie Wellstone. His father changed the family name from Wexelstein after encountering antisemitism during the 1930s.[2] Raised in Arlington, Virginia, Wellstone attended Wakefield public schools and Yorktown High School, graduating in 1962.[3]

Wellstone attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) on a wrestling scholarship. In college he was an undefeated Atlantic Coast Conference wrestling champion. After his freshman year, he married Sheila Ison Wellstone. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 1965, and was elected Phi Beta Kappa.[4][5] In May 1969, Wellstone earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His doctoral dissertation on the roots of black militancy was titled "Black Militants in the Ghetto: Why They Believe in Violence".[3]

Early career and activism

In August 1969, Wellstone accepted a tenure-track position at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he taught political science until his election to the Senate in 1990.[3] During the 1970s and 1980s, he also began community organizing, working with the working poor and other politically disenfranchised communities. He founded the Organization for a Better Rice County, a group consisting mainly of single parents on welfare. The organization advocated for public housing, affordable health care, improved public education, free school lunches, and a publicly funded day care center. In 1978, he published his first book, How the Rural Poor Got Power: Narrative of a Grassroots Organizer, chronicling his work with the organization.[3]

Wellstone was twice arrested during this period for civil disobedience.[6] The Federal Bureau of Investigation began a case file on him after his arrest in May 1970 for protesting against the Vietnam War at the Federal Office Building in Minneapolis. In 1984 Wellstone was arrested again, for trespassing during a foreclosure protest at a bank.[6]

Wellstone extended his activism to the Minnesota labor movement. In the summer of 1985, he walked the picket line with striking P-9ers during a labor dispute at the Hormel Meat Packing plant in Austin, Minnesota. The Minnesota National Guard was called in during the strike to ensure that Hormel could hire permanent replacement workers.[3]

The trustees of Carleton College briefly fired Wellstone in the late 1970s for his activism and lack of academic publications. After his students held a sit-in, the trustees agreed to rehire him and provide him with tenure. Wellstone remains the youngest tenured faculty member in Carleton's history.[7]

Early political career

Wellstone first sought public office in 1982. He received the Democratic nomination for Minnesota State Auditor after an impassioned speech at the state convention.[3] In the general election he garnered 45% of the vote, losing to Republican incumbent, and future Minnesota Governor, Arne Carlson.[3] Wellstone remained active in Democratic politics in the mid-1980s. He served as an elected committeeman for the Democratic National Committee in 1984, and in 1986 began a second campaign for State Auditor before dropping out to tend his mother's failing health.[3] In 1988, Wellstone chaired Jesse Jackson's campaign for the presidency in Minnesota. After the primary, he co-chaired Michael Dukakis's campaign in the state.[3]

U.S. Senate campaigns (1990–2002)

Paul Wellstone
Earlier portrait of Wellstone

In 1990, Wellstone ran for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Rudy Boschwitz, beginning the race as a serious underdog. He narrowly won the election despite being outspent by a 7-to-1 margin. Wellstone played off his underdog image with quirky, humorous ads created by political consultant Bill Hillsman, including "Fast Paul"[8] and "Looking for Rudy",[9] a pastiche of the 1989 Michael Moore documentary Roger & Me. Boschwitz was also hurt by a letter his supporters wrote, on campaign stationery, to members of the Minnesota Jewish community days before the election, accusing Wellstone of being a "bad Jew" for marrying a Gentile and not raising his children in the Jewish faith. (Boschwitz, like Wellstone, is Jewish.) Wellstone's reply, widely broadcast on Minnesota television, was "He has a problem with Christians, then." Boschwitz was the only incumbent U.S. senator not to be re-elected that year.

Wellstone defeated Boschwitz again in 1996. During that campaign, Boschwitz ran ads accusing Wellstone of being "embarrassingly liberal" and calling him "Senator Welfare". Boschwitz accused Wellstone of supporting flag burning, a move some believe backfired. Before that accusation, the race was closely contested, but Wellstone went on to beat Boschwitz by a nine-point margin despite again being significantly outspent. Reform Party candidate Dean Barkley received 7% of the vote.

Wellstone's upset victory in 1990 and reelection in 1996 were also credited to a grassroots campaign which inspired college students, poor people, and minorities to get involved in politics, many for the first time. In 1990, the number of young people involved in the campaign was so notable that shortly after the election, Walter Mondale told Wellstone that "the kids won it for you". Wellstone also spent much of his Senate career working with the Hmong community in Minnesota, which had not previously been much involved in American politics, and with the veterans community—serving on the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, successfully campaigning for atomic veterans to receive compensation from the federal government, and for increased spending on health care for veterans.[10][11][12]

In 2002, Wellstone campaigned for reelection to a third term despite an earlier campaign pledge to serve only two. His Republican opponent was Norm Coleman, a two-term mayor of St. Paul and former Democrat, who had supported Wellstone in his 1996 campaign. Earlier that year Wellstone announced he had a mild form of multiple sclerosis, causing the limp he had believed was an old wrestling injury.

Wellstone was in a line of left-of-center or liberal senators from the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). The first three, Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, and Walter Mondale, were all prominent in the national Democratic Party. Shortly after joining the Senate, South Carolina Senator Fritz Hollings approached Wellstone and told him, "You remind me of Hubert Humphrey. You talk too much."[13]

Policy views

Wellstone was known for his work for peace, the environment, labor, and health care; he also joined his wife Sheila to support the rights of victims of domestic violence. He made the issue of mental illness a central focus in his career.[14] He was a supporter of immigration to the U.S.[15] He opposed the first Gulf War in 1991 and, in the months before his death, spoke out against the government's threats to go to war with Iraq again. He was strongly supported by groups such as Americans for Democratic Action, the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, the American Civil Liberties Union, and People for the American Way.

In 1996, he voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act.[16] He later asked his supporters to educate him on the issue and by 2001, when he wrote his autobiography, Conscience of a Liberal, Wellstone admitted that he had made a mistake.

Wellstone was one of only eight members of the Senate to vote against the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999.[17]

After voting against the congressional authorization for the war in Iraq on October 11, 2002, in the midst of a tight election, Wellstone is said to have told his wife, "I just cost myself the election."

In the 2002 campaign, the Green Party ran a candidate against Wellstone, a move which some Greens opposed. The party's 2000 Vice-Presidential nominee, Winona LaDuke, described Wellstone as "a champion of the vast majority of our issues".[18] The Green Party's decision to oppose Wellstone was criticized by some liberals.[19]

Wellstone was the author of the "Wellstone Amendment" added to the McCain-Feingold Bill for campaign finance reform, in what came to be known as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. The law, including the Wellstone Amendment, was called unconstitutional by groups and individuals of various political perspectives, including the California Democratic Party, the National Rifle Association, and Republican Senator Mitch McConnell (Kentucky), the Senate Majority Whip.[20] On December 10, 2003, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling upholding the key provisions of McCain-Feingold, including the Wellstone Amendment. Wellstone called McCain-Feingold's protection of "advocacy" groups a "loophole" allowing "special interests" to run last-minute election ads. Wellstone pushed an amendment to extend McCain-Feingold's ban on last-minute ads to nonprofits like "the NRA, the Sierra Club, the Christian Coalition, and others." Under the Wellstone Amendment, these organizations could advertise using only money raised under strict "hard money" limits — no more than $5,000 per individual.[21]

In January 2010, in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the McCain-Feingold Act and removed restrictions on the NRA and others' ability to campaign at election time.

Presidential aspirations

Shortly after his reelection to the Senate in 1996, Wellstone began contemplating a run for his party's nomination for President of the United States in 2000. In May 1997 he embarked on a cross-country speaking and listening tour dubbed "The Children's Tour." It took him through rural areas of Mississippi and Appalachia and the inner cities of Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Baltimore. He intended to retrace the steps Robert F. Kennedy took during a similar tour in 1966, and to highlight the fact that conditions had improved slightly for African-Americans since the Civil Right movement, but not much for poor whites despite their dependency on food stamps, government jobs (military) and the massive Federal Government's investment in their regions, especially Appalachia.

Wellstone's distinctive campaign bus.

In 1998, Wellstone formed an exploratory committee and a leadership PAC, the Progressive Politics Network, that paid for his travels to Iowa and New Hampshire, two early primary states in the nomination process. He spoke before organized labor and local Democrats, using the slogan, "I represent the democratic wing of the Democratic Party". Vermont governor Howard Dean later incorporated that phrase into his stump speech in the 2004 US presidential election.[3]

On January 9, 1999, Wellstone called a press conference at the Minnesota State Capitol. Despite expectations that he would announce his candidacy, he stated he could not muster the stamina necessary for a national campaign, citing chronic back problems he ascribed to an old wrestling injury. His pain was later diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. He thereafter endorsed the candidacy of former Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey, the only Democratic candidate to challenge Vice President Al Gore.[3]

Gulf War

Wellstone voted against authorizing the use of force before the Persian Gulf War on January 12, 1991 (the vote was 52–47 in favor).[22] He also voted against the use of force before the Iraq War on October 11, 2002 (the vote was 77–23 in favor).[23] Wellstone was one of 11 senators to vote against both the 1991 and 2002 resolutions. The others were also all Democratic senators: Daniel Akaka of Hawaii; Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico; Robert Byrd of West Virginia; Kent Conrad of North Dakota; Daniel Inouye of Hawaii; Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts; Patrick Leahy of Vermont; Carl Levin of Michigan; Barbara Mikulski of Maryland; and Paul Sarbanes of Maryland.

Other key military action votes

Wellstone supported requests for military action by President Bill Clinton, including Operation Restore Hope in Somalia (1992), Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti (1994), Operation Deliberate Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1995), Operation Desert Fox in Iraq (1998), and Operation Allied Force in Yugoslavia (1999). On July 1, 1994, during the 100-day Rwandan Genocide from April 6 to mid-July 1994, Wellstone authored an amendment to the 1995 defense appropriations bill.[24]


On October 25, 2002, Wellstone, along with seven others, died in an airplane crash in northern Minnesota, at 10:22 a.m. He was 58 years old. The other victims were his wife, Sheila; one of his three children, Marcia; the two pilots, and campaign staffers Mary McEvoy, Tom Lapic and Will McLaughlin. The airplane was en route to Eveleth, where Wellstone was to attend the funeral of Martin Rukavina, a steelworker whose son Tom Rukavina served in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Wellstone decided to go to the funeral instead of a rally and fundraiser in Minneapolis attended by Mondale and fellow Senator Ted Kennedy. He was to debate Norm Coleman in Duluth, Minnesota, that same night.

Paul Wellstone Grave Minneapolis Minnesota (17405711761)
Paul and Sheila Wellstone memorial, Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Beechcraft King Air A100 airplane crashed into dense forest about two miles from the Eveleth airport, while operating under instrument flight rules. It had no flight data recorders. Autopsy toxicology results on both pilots were negative for drug or alcohol use. Icing, though widely reported on in following days, was considered and eventually rejected as a significant factor in the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) judged that while cloud cover might have prevented the flight crew from seeing the airport, icing did not affect the airplane's performance during the descent.[25]

The FBI, which initially sent agents to help recover debris, investigated possible foul play in the crash. After a few days, the Bureau determined that the crash was accidental, but only after following several criminal leads involving death threats. Wellstone had been receiving death threats since he took office; the FBI tapped his phone to locate the callers. Documents about the FBI's involvement in investigating Wellstone's death were not publicly released until October 2010.[26] Government documents also indicated that the FBI had been following Wellstone before he became a senator, and included records dating as far back as his arrest at a 1970 antiwar protest.[27]

The NTSB later determined that the likely cause of the accident was "the flight crew's failure to maintain adequate airspeed, which led to an aerodynamic stall from which they did not recover."[28] The final two radar readings detected the airplane traveling at or just below its predicted stall speed given conditions at the time of the accident.[28] Aviation experts speculated the pilots might have lost situational awareness because they were lost and looking for the airport.[29] They had been off course for several minutes and "clicked on" the runway lights,[28] something not usually done in good visibility. There was a problem with the airport's VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) navigational beacon. According to Minnesota Public Radio:

The day after the crash, FAA pilots tested the VOR. The inspection pilots reported to the NTSB that when they flew the approach without their automatic pilot engaged, the VOR repeatedly brought them about a mile south of the airport. In one written statement an FAA pilot told the NTSB that the signal guided him 1 to 2 miles left or south of the runway. That's the same direction Wellstone's plane was heading when it crashed.[29]

Paul and Sheila Wellstone - Memorial Site, Eveleth, Minnesota (35191438863)
The Paul Wellstone Memorial and Historic Site near Eveleth, Minnesota.

Other pilots at the charter company told NTSB that pilot Richard Conry and first officer (co-pilot) Michael Guess had both displayed below-average flying skills. Conry had a well-known tendency to allow copilots to take over all aircraft functions as if they were the sole pilot during flights. After the crash, 3 copilots told of occasions on which they had to take control of the aircraft away from Conry.[28] After one of those incidents, only 3 days before the crash, the copilot (not Guess) had urged Conry to retire.[30] In a post-accident interview, Conry's longtime friend and fellow aviator Timothy Cooney said that he had last spoken to Conry in June 2001 and had expressed concerns about difficulties he had flying King Airs as late as April of that year, 18 months before the accident.[31] Significant discrepancies were also found in the captain's flight logs in the course of the post-accident investigation, indicating he had probably greatly exaggerated his flying experience, most of which had been accrued before a 9–10 year hiatus from flying due to a fraud conviction and poor eyesight.[28] He had had Lasik surgery but it had improved his vision to only 20/50 or 20/30[32] and he was required by FAA regulations to wear corrective lenses,[33] but the pilot's wife and Cooney said Conry did not wear lenses after the surgery.[34] The coroner who examined his body was unable to determine whether Conry was wearing contact lenses at the time of the crash.[35]

Coworkers described Guess as having had to be consistently reminded to keep his hand on the throttle and maintain airspeed during approaches.[28] He had had two previous piloting jobs, one with Skydive Hutchinson as a pilot (1988–1989), and another with Northwest Airlines as a trainee instructor (1999), and was dismissed from both for lack of ability.[36] Conry's widow told the NTSB that her husband told her "the other pilots thought Guess was not a good pilot."[37]

The crash and the investigation had many irregularities raising suspicions of assassination, especially in light of Wellstone having had many threats on his life including from the administration.[38][39]


Don Hazen, executive editor of Alternet, wrote of the death, "Progressives across the land are in shock as the person many think of as the conscience of the Senate is gone."[40] Wellstone died just 11 days before his potential re-election in a crucial race to maintain Democratic control of the Senate. Campaigning was halted by all sides. Minnesota law required that his name be stricken from the ballot, to be replaced by a candidate chosen by the party. The DFL selected former Vice President Walter Mondale to compete with Norm Coleman in the general election.

The memorial service for Wellstone and the other victims of the crash was held in Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota and was broadcast live on national TV.[41] The lengthy service was dotted with political speeches, open advocacy on political issues, and a giant beach ball batted around the crowd in the style of a beach party. Many high-profile politicians attended the memorial, including former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, and more than half of the U.S. Senate. The White House offered to send Vice President Dick Cheney to the service, but the Wellstone family declined.[42]

Some criticized the service for having an inappropriate tone[43][44] and resembling a "pep rally"[45] or "partisan foot-stomp".[46] Wellstone campaign manager Jeff Blodgett noted after the event that it had not been scripted and apologized to people who were offended or surprised.[43] In his book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, comedian, liberal political commentator, and former United States Senator Al Franken wrote that "reasonable people of good will were genuinely offended" but argued that conservative media figures had exploited outrage at the event for political gain.

Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, who had stated his preference to appoint a Democrat to serve out the remainder of Wellstone's term through January 2003, was "disgusted"[43] by the event, walking out and later threatening to appoint "an ordinary citizen" instead.[47] On November 4, the day before the election, Ventura appointed state planning commissioner Dean Barkley, founder and chair of Ventura's Independence Party of Minnesota, to complete the remaining two months of Wellstone's term; he had run against Wellstone in 1996.[48] Coleman received 49.5 percent of the vote to defeat Mondale and win Wellstone's seat. In 2008, he was narrowly defeated (by 312 votes) in his bid for reelection by Franken, in a three-way race that included Barkley.


Paul Wellstone Grave Minneapolis Minnesota (17405715191)
Paul Wellstone marker
Sheila Wellstone marker

The AFL-CIO has created the AFL-CIO Senator Paul Wellstone Award for supporters of the rights of labor unions. Presidential candidate Howard Dean and California state senator John Burton both received the first award in January 2003. In 2004, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill dedicated the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Memorial Garden as a tribute to the couple, both graduates of the university. Also in 2004, Mason Jennings released "The Ballad of Paul and Sheila," a song memorializing the Wellstones, on his album Use Your Voice.

Near the site of his plane crash, a memorial to the Wellstones was dedicated on September 25, 2005. His distinctive green bus was present, as well as hundreds of supporters and loved ones. The Senator and his wife were buried at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis, the same cemetery in which Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey is interred. A memorial sculpture near Bde Maka Ska marks their gravesites. Visitors sometimes follow the Jewish custom[49] of placing small stones on the boulder marking the family plot or on the individual markers. His legacy continues as Wellstone Action, a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that trains citizens and potential candidates with a progressive agenda.[50][51][52][53]

In 2007, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter joined with David Wellstone to push Congress to pass legislation regarding mental health insurance.[54] Wellstone and Carter worked to pass the "Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008" which requires equal coverage of mental and physical illnesses when policies include both types of coverage; both testified before a House subcommittee regarding the bill in July 2007.[54] David said of his father, "Although he was passionate on many issues, there was not another issue that surpassed this in terms of his passion."[54] Because Paul Wellstone's brother had suffered from mental illness, Wellstone had fought for changes in mental health and insurance laws when he reached the Senate.[54]

On March 5, 2008, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1424, the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007, by a vote of 268-148. It was sponsored by Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-Rhode Island) and Representative Jim Ramstad, (R-Minnesota), both of whom are recovering alcoholics. The narrower Senate bill S. 558, passed earlier, was introduced by Kennedy's father, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), Pete Domenici, (R-New Mexico), and Mike Enzi, (R-Wyoming).[55]

Electoral history

2002 Minnesota U.S. Senate Election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Norm Coleman 1,116,697 49.53% +8.25%
Democratic Walter Mondale 1,067,246 47.34% −2.98%
Independence Jim Moore 45,139 2.00% −4.98%
Democratic Paul Wellstone[56] 11,381 0.50% n/a
Majority 49,451 2.19%
1996 Minnesota U.S. Senate Election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Paul Wellstone (inc.) 1,098,430 50.32% −0.12%
Republican Rudy Boschwitz 901,194 41.28% −6.53%
Reform Dean Barkley 152,328 6.98% n/a
Majority 197,236 9.04%
1990 Minnesota U.S. Senate Election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Paul Wellstone 911,999 50.44% +9%
Republican Rudy Boschwitz (inc.) 864,375 47.81% −10%
Majority 47,624 2.63%
1982 Minnesota State Auditor
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Arne Carlson 932,925 54.81% +3.0%
Democratic Paul Wellstone 769,254 45.19% -1.5%
Majority 10%


See also


Further reading

See also


  1. ^ Minnesota senators' 'No' votes on Iraq War - and other 10th anniversary thoughts, MinnPost, Eric Black, March 19, 2013. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  2. ^ Dennis J. McGrath, Dane Smith (April 1995). Professor Wellstone goes to Washington: The Inside Story of a Grassroots U.S. Senate Campaign. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. p. 292. ISBN 978-0-8166-2663-2.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 3, 2013. Retrieved January 16, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "". Archived from the original on January 26, 2009. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  5. ^ "". Archived from the original on January 26, 2009. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ Lofy, Bill. Paul Wellstone: The Life of a Passionate Progressive. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press, 2005. Pgs. 36–37. ISBN 0-472-03119-8
  8. ^ "Paul Wellstone TV Ad "Fast Paul"". YouTube. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  9. ^ "North Woods Advertising – "Looking for Rudy" – Paul Wellstone for U.S. Senate (MN)". YouTube. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
  10. ^ A. Schneider, Mark Kuhn. "Sen. Paul Wellstone, 1944–2002". Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  11. ^ OMB Approves Benefits for Vets Suffering from Radiogenic Cancers
  12. ^ "Wellstone Welcomes White House Announcement on Increased Funding for Vets Health Care, But Says `We Must Do Better'". July 26, 1999. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  13. ^ "Paul Wellstone was a true mensch and Christ-like soul". November 15, 2002. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  14. ^ "About Us | Wellstone Action!". Archived from the original on April 22, 2008. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  15. ^ "Immigration-Reduction Grades | NumbersUSA – For Lower Immigration Levels". Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  16. ^ "1996 Roll Call for H.R. 3396". Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  17. ^ Congressional roll-call: S.900 as reported by conferees: Financial Services Act of 1999, Record Vote No: 354, November 4, 1999, Clerk of the Senate. Sortable unofficial table: On Agreeing to the Conference Report, S.900 Gramm-Bliley-Leach Act, roll call 354, 106th Congress, 1st session Votes Database at The Washington Post, retrieved on October 9, 2008
  18. ^ "Talking Politics|Green around the gills". Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  19. ^ "Red Over Green Party Moves". Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  20. ^ Von Drehle, David (December 11, 2003). "McCain-Feingold Ruling Angers Activists on Both Left and Right". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  21. ^ Kaus, Mickey. "Wellstone's Folly" Slate. April 4, 2002.
  22. ^ "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  23. ^ "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote". Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  24. ^ "". Archived from the original on October 26, 2007. Retrieved July 14, 2007.
  25. ^ NTSB. "NTSB Press Release". Retrieved October 25, 2012.
  26. ^ Chappell, Bill (October 25, 2010). "Files Reveal FBI Tracked Wellstone Early; Aided Inquiry Into 2002 Crash : The Two-Way". NPR. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  27. ^ Baran, Madeleine (October 25, 2010). "From protester to senator, FBI tracked Paul Wellstone|The Wellstone Files|Minnesota Public Radio News". Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  28. ^ a b c d e f "Aircraft Accident Report" (PDF). Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  29. ^ a b "MPR: Four months later, questions remain in Wellstone crash probe". Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  30. ^ "Pioneer Press|02/22/2003|Pilot wanted to cancel Wellstone's fatal flight". August 31, 2003. Archived from the original on December 24, 2004. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  31. ^ Interview Summaries, pp. 18, 21.
  32. ^ Human Performance Specialist Report, p.10
  33. ^ Human Performance Specialist Report, p. 8
  34. ^ Interview Summaries, pp. 19, 24
  35. ^ Human Performance Specialist Report, p.26
  36. ^ Kennedy, Tony (February 22, 2003). "Wellstone's pilot balked at flying on morning of crash". Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  37. ^ Interview Summaries page 26
  38. ^ Fetzer, James H. (November 2004). American Assassination: The Strange Death Of Senator Paul Wellstone. Vox Pop. p. 202. ISBN 0-9752763-0-1.
  39. ^ Global Research / by Joachim Hagopian. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  40. ^ AlterNet / By Don Hazen (October 25, 2002). "Paul Wellstone Dies in Tragic Plane Crash". AlterNet. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  41. ^ "Paul Wellstone funeral". YouTube. October 29, 2002.
  42. ^ Wilgoren, Jodi (October 29, 2002). "At Request of Wellstones, Cheney Will Not Attend Memorial". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 24, 2009. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  43. ^ a b c Radio, Minnesota Public. "MPR: Wellstone staff apologizes for memorial service rhetoric". Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  44. ^ Noonan, Peggy. "'No Class': What Paul Wellstone might have thought of the memorial rally." The Wall Street Journal November 1, 2002.
  45. ^ Saletan, William (October 30, 2002). "No Contest". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  46. ^ Collins, Dan (November 6, 2002). "Mondale's Senate Bid Falls Short". CBS News. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
  47. ^ Jones, Tim (November 5, 2002). "Ventura pokes Senate". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 27, 2011.
  48. ^ Sternberg, Bob von (October 27, 2008)Dean Barkley: As a 'viable alternative,' he's a force that matters StarTribune. "In the waning days of the administration, Ventura appointed Barkley to serve out the final weeks of Wellstone's Senate term after Wellstone died in a plane crash."
  49. ^ "Origins of the Custom of Putting Stones on Graves When Visiting the Cemetery". Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  50. ^ "Politics the Wellstone Way". University of Minnesota Press. Archived from the original on February 21, 2006. Retrieved January 15, 2007.
  51. ^ "Training Programs". Wellstone Action. Archived from the original on October 15, 2006. Retrieved January 15, 2007.
  52. ^ "Wellstone Action Network". Wellstone Action. Archived from the original on January 4, 2007. Retrieved January 15, 2007.
  53. ^ Horrigan, Marie (October 17, 2006). "Minn. Roundup: Walz a Legit Barrier to Gutknecht in 1st District". New York Times. Retrieved January 15, 2007.
  54. ^ a b c d "Former first lady joins fight for mental health coverage". Associated Press. July 11, 2007. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved July 17, 2007.
  55. ^ "House approval is historic moment for Wellstone's addiction and treatment crusade". March 5, 2008. Archived from the original on January 19, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  56. ^ Wellstone won the Democratic primary in 2002, but was replaced by Mondale after his death. Absentee ballots that had already been cast did not count towards Mondale's totals.
  57. ^ Fetzer, James H. (November 2004). American Assassination: The Strange Death Of Senator Paul Wellstone. Vox Pop. p. 202. ISBN 0-9752763-0-1.
  58. ^ "American Assassination: the Strange Death of Senator Paul Wellstone". Google Books.

External links

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Rudy Boschwitz
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Minnesota
Served alongside: David Durenberger, Rod Grams, Mark Dayton
Succeeded by
Dean Barkley
1990 United States Senate election in Minnesota

The 1990 United States Senate election in Minnesota was held on November 6, 1990. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz was defeated by Democratic challenger Paul Wellstone in a tight race. Widely considered an underdog and outspent by a 7-to-1 margin, Wellstone was the only candidate to defeat an incumbent senator in the 1990 election cycle and gained national attention after his upset victory.

1990 United States Senate elections

The 1990 United States Senate elections were held on Tuesday, November 6, 1990. The Democratic Party increased its majority with a net gain of one seat from the Republican Party. The election took place in the middle of President George H. W. Bush's term, and, as with most other midterm elections, the party not holding the presidency gained seats in Congress.

These elections featured the smallest seat change in history since the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913 with only one seat changing parties. That election featured Democrat Paul Wellstone defeating incumbent Republican Rudy Boschwitz in Minnesota.

1996 United States Senate election in Minnesota

The 1996 United States Senate election in Minnesota was held on November 5, 1996. Incumbent Democrat Paul Wellstone won reelection to a second term.

2002 United States Senate election in Minnesota

The 2002 United States Senate election in Minnesota took place on November 5, 2002. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone was running for reelection to a third term, but died in a plane crash eleven days before the election. The Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) chose former Vice President and 1984 Presidential candidate Walter Mondale to replace Wellstone on the ballot. Mondale lost to Republican Mayor of Saint Paul Norm Coleman. The day before the election, Governor Jesse Ventura appointed the 1996 Independence Party candidate, Dean Barkley, to serve the remainder of Wellstone's term. As of 2019, this is the last Senate election in Minnesota won by a Republican.

2002 United States elections

The 2002 United States elections were held on November 5, in the middle of Republican President George W. Bush's first term. Unusual in midterm elections, the incumbent president's party gained seats in both chambers of the United States Congress. The Republicans picked up net gains of 2 Senate seats and 8 House seats.These elections were held just a little under fourteen months after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Thus the elections were heavily overshadowed by the war on terror, the impending war with Iraq, the Early 2000s recession, and the sudden death of Democratic Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone about one week before the election.

These elections marked only the third time since the Civil War that the president's party gained seats in a midterm election (the first two being 1934 and 1998), and the first time that this happened under a Republican president. These elections were the second consecutive midterm elections held in a President's first term (regardless of the President's party) where Republicans netted a gain in both houses of Congress, and the only midterm House elections (as of 2018) since 1978 to be won by the President's party.

Dean Barkley

Dean Malcolm Barkley (born August 31, 1950) is an American lawyer and politician who briefly served as a United States Senator from Minnesota from 2002 to 2003. A founder and chair of the Minnesota Reform Party (the predecessor of the Independence Party of Minnesota), he chaired Jesse Ventura's successful 1998 gubernatorial campaign; Ventura subsequently appointed him director of the state's Office of Strategic and Long Range Planning, and appointed Barkley to the U.S. Senate after the death of Paul Wellstone. Barkley ran as the Independence Party's candidate for the Senate in 2008, finishing third as Democrat Al Franken defeated the Republican incumbent Norm Coleman by 312 votes.Barkley is now a legal partner at The Engel Firm in Minneapolis.

Digby (blogger)

Digby is the pseudonym of political blogger Heather Digby Parton from Santa Monica who founded the blog Hullabaloo. She has been called one of the "leading and most admired commentators" of the liberal / progressive blogosphere.Digby began as a commenter on the blogs of Bartcop and Atrios and launched her own blog on January 1, 2003, calling it Hullabaloo "because one function of blogs is to cause a ruckus" and decorating it with a picture of a screaming Howard Beale from the film Network. She has been joined by other bloggers on Hullabaloo, including composer Richard Einhorn, who blogs under the name "Tristero".

Digby graduated from Lathrop High School in Fairbanks, Alaska. She studied theater at San Jose State University (then known as San Jose State College) and worked on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and for a number of film companies, including Island Pictures, Polygram, and Artisan Entertainment.She won the 2005 Koufax award for blog writing and accepted the Paul Wellstone Award on behalf of the progressive blogosphere from the Campaign for America's Future at their "Take Back America" conference. Digby had initially kept her identity secret and it was widely assumed that Digby was male until she made an appearance at the 2007 CAF conference to accept the award. Digby has since written regularly at Salon under her actual name of Heather Digby Parton. She also won the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

Eveleth, Minnesota

Eveleth is a city in Saint Louis County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 3,718 at the 2010 census.U.S. Highway 53 and State Highway 37 (MN 37) are two of the main routes in Eveleth.

The city briefly entered the national news in October 2002 when U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone, along with seven others, died in a plane crash, two miles away from the airport of Eveleth. It was also the site of the conflict that resulted in the court case Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co., and the film North Country, which was based on it. Eveleth is home of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

Eveleth is part of the Quad Cities of Virginia, Gilbert, and Mountain Iron.

Fitzgerald Theater

The Fitzgerald Theater is the oldest active theatre in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and the home of American Public Media's Live from Here (formerly A Prairie Home Companion). It was one of many theaters built by the Shubert Theatre Corporation, and was initially named the Sam S. Shubert Theater. It was designed by the noted Chicago architectural firm of Marshall and Fox, architects of several theaters for the Shuberts. In 1933, it became a movie outlet known as the World Theater. The space was purchased by Minnesota Public Radio in 1980, restored with a stage in 1986 as a site for Prairie Home, and renamed in 1994 after St. Paul native F. Scott Fitzgerald.On November 4, 2002, the theater was the site of a memorable election-eve debate between United States Senate candidates Norm Coleman (previously mayor of St. Paul) and Walter Mondale (formerly a U.S. Vice President) and moderated by Gary Eichten of MPR and Paul Magers of local television station KARE. Tension was heightened at the time because Mondale stepped in as a candidate at the last minute after the death of Paul Wellstone, who had been running for re-election.In 2005, the theater was used for filming the Prairie Home Companion movie directed by Robert Altman. While a certain level of realism is added by using the normal venue for the show, the regular equipment was eschewed in favor of sets designed for the movie. Because the theater is a small building, other theaters in the region were also scouted prior to filming, just in case the Fitzgerald was not big enough, but eventually it was determined to be adequate for the film's needs.The theater has a theatre organ, made by Wurlitzer.

James H. Fetzer

James Henry Fetzer (born December 6, 1940) is an emeritus professor of the philosophy of science at the University of Minnesota Duluth and a proponent of various conspiracy theories. In the late 1970s, Fetzer worked on assessing and clarifying the forms and foundations of scientific explanation, probability in science, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of cognitive science, especially artificial intelligence and computer science.In the early 1990s, Fetzer started promoting John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories, later 9/11 conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial, conspiracy theories regarding the 2002 death of Senator Paul Wellstone and more recently Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting conspiracy theories. He cofounded Scholars for 9/11 Truth in 2005, and claims that the United States government, Israeli government and Israeli Mossad are involved in these and other conspiracies. Fetzer's allegations and speculations have drawn strong criticism.

Mental Health Parity Act

The Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA) is legislation signed into United States law on September 26, 1996 that requires annual or lifetime dollar limits on mental health benefits to be no lower than any such dollar limits for medical and surgical benefits offered by a group health plan or health insurance issuer offering coverage in connection with a group health plan. Prior to MHPA and similar legislation, insurers were not required to cover mental health care and so access to treatment was limited, underscoring the importance of the act.

The MHPA was largely superseded by the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), which the 110th United States Congress passed as rider legislation on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), signed into law by President George W. Bush in October 2008. Notably, the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act extended the reach of MHPAEA provisions to many health insurance plans outside its previous scope.

Midwest Values PAC

Midwest Values PAC (MVP) is a political action committee, or PAC, that was founded by political satirist, best selling author, radio host, and US Senator Al Franken in the fall of 2005.

Franken has successfully used his national reputation to draw in donations from thousands of individuals, including a number of celebrities such as Barbra Streisand, Nora Ephron, Tom Hanks, Larry David and Jimmy Smits. After less than one year of operation, MVP raised nearly $1,000,000.

MVP’s stated goal is "to provide financial and organizational support to progressive candidates, activists, and causes," and is centered on the values Franken learned growing up in Minnesota.

Through MVP Franken has contributed to national Democratic Party organizations, Minnesota U.S. Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar, and U.S. House candidates Coleen Rowley, Tim Walz, and Patty Wetterling.

In 2008, Franken, a Democrat, ran for the US Senate seat then held by Republican Norm Coleman. Coleman was elected to the seat in 2002 after Democrat Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash on October 25 of that year. Franken has said that Wellstone was one of his political heroes, and Franken has frequently criticized Coleman. After a long legal battle, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled on June 30, 2009 that in fact, Franken had won the election and stated that he deserved for the Governor and Secretary of State to issue a Certificate of Election.

MVP’s short-term goal was to elect what it terms progressive Democrats, with a particular emphasis on retaking one or both of the houses of Congress in the 2006 mid-term election.

Politics of Minnesota

Minnesota is known for a politically active citizenry, with populism being a longstanding force among the state's political parties. Minnesota has consistently high voter turnout; in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, 77.8% of eligible Minnesotans voted – the highest percentage of any U.S. state or territory – versus the national average of 61.7%. This was due in part to its same day voter registration laws; previously unregistered voters can register on election day, at their polls, with evidence of residency.The major political parties are the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL), the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party, the Legal Marijuana Now Party and the Republican Party of Minnesota. The DFL was founded in 1944 when the Minnesota Democratic Party and Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party merged. The party is affiliated with the national Democratic Party. Supporters of the DFL are often referred to as "DFLers" in Minnesota by both members and non-members of the party as an alternative to "Democrats." The state Republican Party is affiliated with the national Republican Party.

Public Law 110-343

Public Law 110-343 (Pub.L. 110–343, 122 Stat. 3765, enacted October 3, 2008) is a US Act of Congress signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush, which was designed to mitigate the growing financial crisis of the late-2000s by giving relief to so-called "Troubled Assets."Its formal title is "An Act To provide authority for the Federal Government to purchase and insure certain types of troubled assets for the purposes of providing stability to and preventing disruption in the economy and financial system and protecting taxpayers, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide incentives for energy production and conservation, to extend certain expiring provisions, to provide individual income tax relief, and for other purposes."

The Act created a $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (division A), and also enacted the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (division B), Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008 (division C), which also included the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, and the Heartland Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2008.

Rick Taylor

This is about the politician. For the fictional character, see Splatterhouse. For the American college football coach, see Rick Taylor (American football). For the radio personality also known as Rick Taylor, see Rick Emerson.Rick Taylor is a former Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 151st legislative district. He was elected in 2006.

Taylor attended University of Minnesota and interned for Minnesota House of Representatives and with Paul Wellstone. He earned a master's degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and worked as Manager of Compensation for IMS Health. He served as a member of the Ambler, Pennsylvania Borough Council prior to his election in 2006, when he defeated incumbent Eugene McGill. He lost re-election in 2010 to Republican Todd Stephens. His wife Jeanne Sorg is the current mayor of Ambler, Pennsylvania.

Roger Wolfson

Roger S. Wolfson is an American TV writer and screenwriter from New Haven, Connecticut, and is most notable for writing for the TV series Fairly Legal, Saving Grace, The Closer, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Century City. Wolfson has also been staff to four U.S. Senators: Joe Lieberman, John Kerry, Paul Wellstone, and Ted Kennedy. He is also a columnist for The Huffington Post.

Rudy Boschwitz

Rudolph Ely Boschwitz (born November 7, 1930) is an American politician and former Independent-Republican United States Senator from Minnesota. He served in the Senate from December 1978 to January 1991, in the 96th, 97th, 98th, 99th, 100th, and 101st congresses. In 1990 he was defeated by Paul Wellstone.


Wellstone is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Paul Wellstone (1944–2002), American politician

Sheila Wellstone (1944–2002)

Wellstone Action

Wellstone Action is a 501(c)(4) progressive advocacy organization founded by longtime political operative Jeff Blodgett. Based in Minnesota, it trains community organizers, student activists, campaign staff, progressive candidates and elected officials. The organization is named after Paul Wellstone, a U.S. Senator who died in a plane crash along with his wife Sheila and daughter Marcia on October 25, 2002. After Wellstone's death, his surviving children and former campaign manager founded the group to carry on Wellstone's populist approach to progressive politics.

Tim Walz, elected to represent Minnesota's 1st congressional district in 2006, was the progressive training program’s first successful candidate on the federal level. Mark Ritchie, Minnesota's former Secretary of State, is a Wellstone Action alum.

Class 1
Class 2
Minnesota's delegation(s) to the 102nd–107th United States Congresses (ordered by seniority)
102nd Senate: D. Durenberger | P. Wellstone House: J. Oberstar | B. Vento | M.O. Sabo | V. Weber | T. Penny | G. Sikorski | C. Peterson | J. Ramstad
103rd Senate: D. Durenberger | P. Wellstone House: J. Oberstar | B. Vento | M.O. Sabo | T. Penny | C. Peterson | J. Ramstad | R. Grams | D. Minge
104th Senate: P. Wellstone | R. Grams House: J. Oberstar | B. Vento | M.O. Sabo | C. Peterson | J. Ramstad | D. Minge | G. Gutknecht | B. Luther
105th Senate: P. Wellstone | R. Grams House: J. Oberstar | B. Vento | M.O. Sabo | C. Peterson | J. Ramstad | D. Minge | G. Gutknecht | B. Luther
106th Senate: P. Wellstone | R. Grams House: J. Oberstar | B. Vento | M.O. Sabo | C. Peterson | J. Ramstad | D. Minge | G. Gutknecht | B. Luther
107th Senate: P. Wellstone (until October 22) | M. Dayton | D. Barkley (from October 2002) House: J. Oberstar | M.O. Sabo | C. Peterson | J. Ramstad | G. Gutknecht | B. Luther | M. Kennedy | B. McCollum

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