Coleman, Penny unveil campaign flagships, embark on statewide tours

Andrew Pritchard

Tim Penny’s new bus will be his campaign’s signature vehicle – literally.

The Independence Party gubernatorial candidate unveiled his Common Cents Express bus at an Aug. 12 State Capitol rally. The mobile petition joins DFL gubernatorial hopeful Roger Moe’s stock car and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Norm Coleman’s camper in the fleet of trademark vehicles carrying candidates around the state.

Penny’s short orange-and-white bus features Gov. Jesse Ventura’s signature scrawled across the hood as the campaign’s highest profile supporter.

Penny said citizens can sign the bus in support of his four principles – nonpartisanship, the promotion of public interest above special interests, substantive policy solutions and the fight against cynicism through citizen involvement.

Republican Coleman’s camper, also unveiled Aug. 12, will carry Republicans to all 87 Minnesota counties in the last 87 days of the campaign.

Two Coleman volunteer “campers” will live in the vehicle for the rest of the campaign.

DFLer Moe’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo stock car has been his campaign’s flagship since late June.

In a statement issued for the car’s first appearance, Moe campaign manager Pat Forciea said “this is a creative way for us to say that politics can be fun and that we can attract enthusiasm for our campaign in a nontraditional way.”

Coleman’s campaign named its camper the Moving Main Street. The vehicle will visit diners, schools and senior centers across the state, according to a statement from the campaign.

The two volunteer campers plan to videotape comments from “Main Street” Minnesotans and post tour pictures and journals on the Internet.

Political roundup

ï Penny’s candidacy drew support Friday from state Senate Majority Whip Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing. Murphy said he would campaign in Red Wing for both Penny and DFL-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Roger Moe, the Senate’s majority leader, but would ultimately back Penny.

“If push came to shove, and somebody said I had to make a choice, mine would be Tim Penny,” he said.

 

ï Gov. Jesse Ventura said Wednesday the state should pay governors more than the current $120,000 per year but eliminate retirement benefits to deter career politicians from the office.

In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio, the governor said his low salary was one reason he decided not to seek re-election.

Although Ventura said he planned to take time off after his term ends, he did not rule out seeking public office again. He said the odds were “slim-to-none” that he would seek the presidency, but in a forthcoming interview with the New York Times Sunday Magazine, the governor says he has been afraid the White House is his destiny.

 

ï Vice President Dick Cheney spoke Aug. 12 at a fund-raising luncheon for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Pawlenty.

Cheney and President George W. Bush have each visited Minnesota twice to campaign for state Republicans.

“The president and I are here to help any way we can,” Cheney said. “This governor’s race is important to the president and to me because we respect this man (Pawlenty) and his record.”

– The Associated Press
contributed to this report.