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Wednesday, November 4, 1998 Published at 10:07 GMT


Minnesota's ace Ventura

"The Body" politic

[an error occurred while processing this directive]Jesse "The Body" Ventura, a former pro-wrestler has astonished the US political establishment with a Reform Party victory as governor of Minnesota.

"We shocked the world, I feel like Muhammad Ali the night he beat Sonny Liston," said Jesse Ventura after his win.

Political analysts described the result as a shock. Exit polls indicated that around 12% of voters turned out simply because Mr Ventura was in the race.

"Ventura's key issue was that he's not part of the system," said Chris Gilbert, a local political science professor.

Mr Ventura ran on the Reform Party's libertarian anti-tax platform, his personal pledges ranging from challenging the anti-gun lobby to looking at legalising prostitution.

He believes abortion is a personal matter for women and on the campaign trail refused to accept money from any special interest groups.

In a somewhat unorthodox political gambit, he also called his opponents "boring."

Left on the ropes were Democrat Hubert Humphrey III, the state's Attorney-General, initially considered the most likely winner, and Republican Norm Coleman, the mayor of St Paul.

'Life is too short' for presidential bid

Asked whether he might now consider the White House, Mr Ventura said: "I don't think so, because I've watched presidents and usually when they get elected, they look young and virile, and about four years later they look like they've aged 25 years. Life is too short."

Jesse Ventura, born James Janos in Minneapolis, served from 1991 to 1995 as mayor of Brooklyn Park, a Minneapolis suburb. He did two tours of duty in Southeast Asia and was a member of the Navy Seals underwater demolition team.

More recently, he was a radio talk show host until his candidacy forced him to give up the show. He has also appeared in the movie Predator and on the X-Files TV series.



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