Gibson, Foley trample Independence Party competitors

Erin Ghere

As a candidate in the 1998 primary election, Gov. Jesse Ventura was laughed at by his mainstream party competitors.
Today he holds the highest executive position in the state.
The Independence Party, newly separated from the crumbling national Reform Party, seems to be following in his footsteps.
After two heated primary contests, the party’s voters agreed on only one of its endorsed candidates: U.S. Senate contender James Gibson.
Former Ramsey County Attorney Tom Foley beat out the party’s endorsed candidate, Pam Ellison, for the Fourth Congressional District seat.
At press time, Foley was beating Ellison 63 percent to 37 percent with 77 percent of precincts reporting. With more than 50 percent of precincts reporting, Gibson was leading with 44 percent over opponents Leslie Davis, who had 25 percent; Buford Johnson, with 21 percent; and Fred Askew, who garnered 8 percent, according to the Secretary of State’s Web site.
John Wodele, Ventura’s spokesman, said the governor is thrilled there are enough good Independence Party candidates to have contested elections.
He also said Ventura will endorse a few Independence candidates now that the primaries are through.
Foley said Tuesday he plans to continue reaching out to voters through his “Minnesota Maverick” campaign.
His major campaign issues are campaign finance reform, the environment, social security and health care. Foley recently switched from the Minnesota DFL Party to the Independence Party.
Gibson’s major campaign issues are the national debt, social security, education, the environment and campaign finance reform.
He said in an interview he chose to run for the Senate because the current leadership was taking too short a view on issues he felt were important.
Neither candidate was available for comment following the primary results.
Foley and Gibson will face other primary winners in their respective elections: Republican Linda Runbeck and Democrat Betty McCollum in the House, and Republican Sen. Rod Grams and Democrat Mark Dayton in the Senate.
The winner will fill Rep. Bruce Vento’s seat. Vento will retire after 24 years of service to fight a rare form of cancer.
The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Erin Ghere welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3218.