Muriel Humphrey was described today as willing to discuss being appointed to succeed her late husband in the Senate.
Presumably Hubert H. Humphrey's widow, who is 65 and has a heart condition, would be a caretaker senator, pledging to step aside after November so that a newly elected candidate could complete the four years of Humphrey's term.
Today's announcement was made by Gov. Rudy Perpich's press secretary, Bob Aronson. He said that state Sen. Hubert (Skip) Humphrey III, keeping a promise to perpich, discussed the idea with his mother today.
"She indicated a willingness to meet with Gov. Perpich," Aronson said. "She did not indicate whether she is interested in the appointment - only that she is willing to talk. No time or date was set immediately, but it could be as early as tomorrow" (Friday).
Skip Humphrey, who has not ruled out the possibility of being a Senate candidate himself, said earlier today that he didn't know what his mother might do.
"My first concern is for her health," he said, "and I want to know it won't be a problem."
A poll taken by the Mineapolis Star showed a majority of the executive committee of the Democratic Farmer Labor Party (as the Democrats are called here) favoring a caretaker appointment. The legislature here is heavily dominated by the DFL Party, which Humphrey helped put together in 1944.
Minnesota's other senator, Democrat Wendell Anderson, who arranged for his own appointment to the Senate to fill the seat vacated by Vice President Mondale, said he supported Muriel Humphrey's appointment.
Anderson said, "I think it would be in the best interest of the state. I think she is uniquely qualified in her own right. She is a public figure of long standing, wise and decent. She has good judgement. Sen. Humphrey surrounded himself with a strong and talented staff. She knows every one of them."