Democrats visit U to stir student support

Coralie Carlson

Six Democrat politicians stood on the bed of a pickup truck at the Superblock on Monday, driving up support for today’s election.
On the final day before the election, gubernatorial candidate Hubert H. “Skip” Humphrey III, U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone and U.S. Rep. Martin Olav Sabo clambered onto the truck to thank about 175 supporters for their help in the campaign during the 20-minute rally.
“It’s more just to thank people who have been supporters, thank them for their work,” Wellstone said, bundled in his winter jacket.
Hennepin County Attorney candidate Amy Klobuchar, state Rep. Phyllis Kahn, Minneapolis, and state Sen. Jane Krentz, DFL-May Township, joined the bandwagon.
Republican candidate Norm Coleman spent his last day flying to campaign stops around the state, while Jesse Ventura, the Reform Party candidate, combed the Iron Range.
Humphrey took a narrow lead in a Star Tribune/KMSP-TV Minnesota Poll on Saturday, carrying 35 percent compared to Coleman’s 30 percent and Ventura’s 27 percent. The poll has a margin of error of about 3 percentage points.
Emphasizing his commitment to education, Humphrey started his day at Moorhead State University and visited Weaver Elementary School in Maplewood before visiting the University campus.
Humphrey reiterated his promises to higher education, which include a $1,000 tax credit for college students and support for the University’s budget.
“The University of Minnesota is a very important part of my life,” Humphrey said. “And it’s going to be very special when I’m governor.”
Humphrey graduated from the University Law School in 1969 and said that much of his political career stemmed from events and friends he made at the school.
For example, Humphrey met his campaign manager, Vance Opperman, when they were both University students.
Humphrey also pleaded for students to vote and to convince their friends to vote, explaining that their “quiet, powerful vote” will make a big difference in the tight race.
Wellstone, whose Senate term is not up until 2002, said he was surprised by the turnout; he only expected about 50 students to show because of the chilly weather and the late afternoon time slot.
The College Democrats plastered the campus with posters advertising the candidate’s appearance and free pizza and pop.
Yet the crowd pales in size to Ventura’s rally on Wednesday, which drew between 800 and 1,000 people.
But Sabo quickly drew the line between Humphrey and his opponents.
“He may not be the flashiest guy, but he’s pure, solid Minnesota,” Sabo said.