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Walter Mondale  Likely  to Replace Wellstone on Minnesota Senatorial Ballot - 2002-10-29

Former United States Vice President Walter Mondale will reportedly run for the U.S. Senate from his home state of Minnesota. Mr. Mondale would take the ballot spot of the late Senator Paul Wellstone, who was killed in a plane crash last Friday.

Within hours of the death of Democrat Paul Wellstone Friday, analysts and party officials mentioned former U.S. senator and vice president Walter Mondale as a possible replacement on Tuesday's ballot. Mr. Mondale had said he would not comment on that speculation until after Mr. Wellstone's memorial service. That service is being held Tuesday night in Minneapolis.

News reports say Mr. Mondale will appear before Minnesota Democratic Party leaders Wednesday to begin his campaign for the Senate. He is also reportedly planning a campaign rally on Thursday. Former St. Paul, Minnesota mayor Paul Latimer says Mr. Mondale is well-known and well-liked in his native state, making him a good choice to replace Mr. Wellstone. "The wonderful thing if Senator Mondale accepts is that he does not have to explain himself to the people of Minnesota or the people of the country and it is a wonderful opportunity in a tragic situation," said Paul Latimer.

If he wins, this would be the second time Mr. Mondale has represented Minnesota in the United States Senate. He served from 1964 until 1976, when he was elected vice president to Jimmy Carter. Mr. Mondale ran unsuccessfully for president in 1984.

The Republican candidate for Senate, former St. Paul mayor Norm Coleman, temporarily suspended his campaign activities after Mr. Wellstone's death. President Bush will campaign for Mr. Coleman in Minnesota on Sunday.

Mr. Wellstone died along with his wife, daughter and several other people when his private plane crashed on a campaign trip in northern Minnesota. Mr. Wellstone was at odds with President Bush on many issues, including whether military force should be considered among the options for ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. On Tuesday, the president had kind words for the late senator. "Paul Wellstone was a deeply principled and a good-hearted man," said President Bush. "He will be missed by all who knew him and by all who had the privilege or serving with him."

Close to 20,000 people were expected at the University of Minnesota Tuesday night for Mr. Wellstone's memorial service. The White House offered to send Vice President Dick Cheney, but the late senator's family declined the offer, reportedly partly out of concern that Mr. Cheney's presence would mean thousands of other attendees would be subject to tighter security screening.