Joanne Benson

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Joanne E. Benson
44th Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 4, 1999
Governor Arne Carlson
Preceded by Joanell Dyrstad
Succeeded by Mae Schunk
Personal details
Born (1943-01-04) January 4, 1943 (age 72)
Le Sueur, Minnesota
Political party Independent Republican
Spouse(s) Robert R. Benson
Profession politician

Joanne E. Benson (born January 4, 1943) was the 44th Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota from January 3, 1995 to January 4, 1999. An Independent Republican, she was elected on the gubernatorial ticket with Governor Arne Carlson, competing for the party endorsement with Allen Quist and Doug McFarland, and later in the election against John Marty. She is a former Minnesota state senator noted for being somewhat more conservative than the moderate Carlson.

Benson ran in the 1998 Republican primary for governor, starting off as the initial frontrunner in the GOP primary. However, despite Benson's attempt to amass enough support within the GOP establishment to ward off any primary challengers, a late entrant to the race, St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman, garnered enough delegates to win the Republican endorsement at the state convention. Placing third in the race for delegates (behind Coleman and Allen Quist), Benson agreed not to challenge Coleman in the primary. Coleman won the nomination and placed second in the general election won by Reform candidate Jesse Ventura.

Upon leaving office in 1999, Benson became the first chief education officer of the Minnesota Business Academy. In that capacity, she worked with civic and state leaders to raise money for the school.

Benson was born in Le Sueur, Minnesota, became an educator and married Robert R. Benson. She has two children and six grandchildren.


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Political offices
Preceded by
Joanell Dyrstad
Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
Succeeded by
Mae Schunk