An article yesterday incorrectly said that former Democratic governor Rudy Perpich of Minnesota assumed the governorship in 1976 when then-governor Wendell R. Anderson was appointed to the Senate after the death of Hubert H. Humphrey. Anderson was appointed to the Senate to replace Walter F. Mondale, who ran that year as Jimmy Carter's vice presidential running mate.
Former Democratic governor Rudy Perpich, 53, who returned last week to Minnesota after 30 months in Europe, today announced a comeback campaign for governor based on his perception that the state is in a serious economic condition.
He is challenging state Attorney General Warren Spannaus, 51, for the nomination in the September primary, thereby passing up the Democratic Farmer Labor Party's (DFL) June endorsement convention, on which Spannaus has a lock.
The Perpich bid comes at a time when the Minnesota Republican Party, officially entitled the "Independent Republican Party," is divided among six announced candidates to succeed Republican Gov. Al Quie. Last January Quie abruptly quit his reelection campaign because of multimillion-dollar budget shortfalls that scuttled his tax-cut program and caused him to drop disastrously in the opinion polls.
This hardly makes the Perpich bid any more popular with his party's regular leadership. Historically, primary contests to upset convention endorsements are anathema to the DFL because bitter primary fights at crucial times have led to defeat in the general election.
But while Perpich told a news conference that he would avoid "single-issue" campaigning, he conceded that he was against more gun control and was "pro-life," which means anti-abortion. By contrast, Spannaus is responsible for the state's moderate gun law and is cautiously "pro-choice" on the abortion issue.
Despite the possible risk of "single-issue" dissension, Spannaus is a clear front-runner against the late-arriving Perpich. Also, Perpich starts with a campaign chest of $6,000, compared with Spannaus' $500,000.
Perpich was lieutenant governor and assumed the governship in 1976, when then-governor Wendell Anderson got himself appointed to the Senate after Hubert H. Humphrey's death.