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Minnesota Democrats Shaken by Wellstone Death - 2002-10-26


Minnesota state Democrats shaken by the death of Senator Paul Wellstone's death in a plane crash are deciding who might replace him on the November fifth ballot. It is a race that could decide control of the Senate.

Minnesota Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer says state law allows the Democratic party to choose someone to run in Mr. Wellstone's place, and allows the governor to appoint someone to serve the remainder of the Senator's current term.

Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, a political independent, says he has not yet made a decision on the matter.

News of Mr. Wellstone's death shocked members of Congress, and President Bush. "Paul Wellstone was a man of deep convictions, a plain-spoken fellow, who did his best for his state and for his country," he said.

Mr. Wellstone, one of the most liberal members of the Senate, was in a tight race against Republican Norm Coleman in his bid for a third term when his plane went down in bad weather in northeastern Minnesota.

Before his death, Democrats had a one-seat majority in the Senate.

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