Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ventura Out, Barkley In

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura halted his political comeback before it began Monday, using a national TV platform to announce that he won't launch a third-party bid for the U.S. Senate "at this moment." But Ventura kept the door open for a possible bid, saying things could change before the 5 p.m. Tuesday filing deadline. In an appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live," the former pro wrestler squelched speculation about his possible effect on an already hard-fought race between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken, the former "Saturday Night Live" personality.Within moments of Ventura saying he is out of the U.S. Senate race, Dean Barkley surprised local reporters by announcing he will throw his hat into the ring. Barkley served in the Senate for two months in 2002 after Ventura named him to replace the late Paul Wellstone. "This was an agonizing decision for me," Ventura said. But he said his family fears they will be attacked in the media again if he runs, "because nothing is off-limits today in the world of politics." For the past week, Minnesota's political class had waited to see if Ventura would really get back into the race - or if he was just enjoying a new chance to bask in the spotlight almost six years after he left the governor's office after a single term.