Boschwitz fails to regain seat

by Tracy Ellingson

For the second time this decade, Republican Senate candidate Rudy Boschwitzconcededdefeatto Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone.
Boschwitz and his supporters gathered Tuesday night at the Radisson Hotel in St. Paul hoping to celebrate a Boschwitz victory. A win would have meant Boschwitz had regained the same seat he lost in the 1990 Senate campaign to then-political newcomer Wellstone.
The final election polls left Boschwitz with a greater margin of defeat than in 1990, when he was the only incumbent senator in the nation to lose. In the first contest, Boschwitz lost with 48 percent of the vote and 50 percent to Wellstone.
As the election results rolled in, Boschwitz’s press secretary, John Ullyot, called the final campaign efforts a difficult task for Boschwitz and his supporters.
“Anybody who has looked at the polls over the last three weeks or so realized it was a little bit of an uphill fight,” Ullyot said. “There was not one published poll in which we were ahead of Paul Wellstone.”
Polls on Sept. 10, the date of the Minnesota primary, showed Boschwitz one point behind Wellstone. But over the past month Boschwitz began to fall behind the incumbent, trailing by as many as 13 points in the final days of the campaign.
Sen. Rod Grams was among those who came out to show support for his fellow Republican. Grams said he thought the campaign went well and was surprised that Boschwitz was unable to pull off a win in this election.
“Up until a couple of weeks ago it looked very good,” Grams said of Boschwitz’s campaign efforts. “I’m a poor one to ask what went wrong or what went right, all I know is tonight we’ve got a very disappointed crowd here at the Radisson.”
The disappointment was lightened at times for the Republican crowd, as results showed a conservative majority remaining in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
As for Boschwitz, Ullyot said that regardless of the final results, everyone “from Rudy on down” felt they had waged an honorable campaign. Some political pundits claimed Wellstone’s lead swelled as Boschwitz’s campaign grew more negative.
“Whatever the outcome tonight, Rudy Boschwitz will go on and contribute to Minnesota whichever way, whether in the Senate or out,” said Ullyot. “I think he’s very proud of the campaign he’s waged, I’m certainly proud to have been a part of it.”