Ventura Will Not Appoint Himself To Wellstone's Senate Seat

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:29pm EDT

( - Saying he is through with politics at the end of his present gubernatorial term, Minnesota Independent Governor Jesse Ventura said Friday he would not appoint himself to the fill the remainder of the late Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone's term.

"I will only state this, unequivocally and absolutely, I will not appoint myself. My days in public service will end at the end of my term," Ventura told reporters at a news conference in St. Paul, Minnesota.

When pressed by reporters as to who he might appoint to the seat, Ventura said, "It's not the time nor the place to be making that decision at this time and place."

Ventura, who won as a member of the Reform Party, then became an Independent, announced on June 18 he would not seek re-election.

Friday, he ordered American flags in the state to be flown at half-staff until Election Day, Nov. 5.

While mourning the death of Wellstone, Ventura called on his fellow Minnesotans to be "strong."

"We must be strong and to be strong we only need to remember Paul Wellstone's energy, Paul Wellstone's integrity, Paul Wellstone's absolute love of his country, the people he represented, his friends and most of all, his family," he said.

"Paul Wellstone," Ventura continued, "will long be remembered as the great man he was. I have tremendous respect for Paul and I will forever be in debt to him for his service and his ultimate sacrifice for this great democracy."

Ventura said he was stunned when informed of Wellstone's death and didn't know how to react. He had just finished his statewide radio show and was on his way back to his ranch when informed of Wellstone's death.

Wellstone, his wife and daughter, two pilots and several staff members died when a plane crashed in northern Minnesota. He was on his way to a funeral and also had a campaign event scheduled when the crash occurred.

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