The Minnesota gubernatorial campaign begins again: state Republicans tapped Arne Carlson, who came in second in the GOP primary, to be their gubernatorial nominee. Jon Grunseth, the winner of the GOP primary, quit the race Sunday because of allegations of sexual misconduct.
Despite a strong distaste for Carlson's moderate views, including his support for abortion rights, the party's 14-member executive committee voted unanimously Tuesday night to unite behind the three-term state auditor. Carlson, who launched a write-in candidacy 10 days ago as Grunseth's campaign fell apart, called his selection "a dream come true."
Grunseth withdrew from the race amid allegations that he had had an extramarital affair and, in 1981, encouraged teenage girls to swim nude with him.
GOP state Chairman John Weinholzer said party headquarters had been inundated with calls urging Carlson as the best candidate to defeat Gov. Rudy Perpich (D). He said Carlson "has got his phone banks going, volunteers all over the place, good sums of money. He's got all the requirements to run a campaign in the week we have left."
But all is still not set. Sharon Clark, Grunseth's running mate, filed a petition yesterday with the Minnesota Supreme Court seeking a hearing to determine whether she has the right to the second spot on the ticket or whether Carlson can make his own choice. Carlson has selected a moderate, Jonnell Dyrstad, mayor of Red Wing, for the No. 2 spot.
Meanwhile, the state GOP, in conjunction with Republican legislators and Sen. Rudy Boschwitz (R-Minn.), began mailing 500,000 sample ballots that black out the names of Grunseth and Clark and substitute Carlson and Dyrstad.
Secretary of State Joan Growe said the GOP had until 5 p.m. Friday to get a new ticket on an estimated 2 million supplemental ballots.
Perpich, who is very unpopular, acknowledged that a contest with Carlson would be tough. "The conditions that were last week, well, anyone could win that one," he said.