2002 United States Senate election in Minnesota

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United States Senate election in Minnesota, 2002

← 1996 November 5, 2002 2008 →
  Norm Coleman congress cropped.jpg 42 Walter Mondale 3x4.jpg
Nominee Norm Coleman Walter Mondale
Party Republican DFL
Popular vote 1,116,697 1,067,246
Percentage 49.5% 47.3%

County Results

Coleman:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%

Mondale:      40-50%      50–60%      60–70%

U.S. Senator before election

Dean Barkley

Elected U.S. Senator

Norm Coleman

The 2002 United States Senate election in Minnesota took place on November 5, 2002. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone was running for reelection to a third term, but died in a plane crash eleven days before the election. The Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) chose former Vice President and 1984 Presidential candidate Walter Mondale to replace Wellstone on the ballot. Mondale lost to Republican Norm Coleman, the Mayor of Saint Paul . The day before the election, Governor Jesse Ventura appointed the 1996 Independence Party candidate, Dean Barkley, to serve the remainder of Wellstone's term.[1] As of 2019, this is the last Senate election in Minnesota won by a Republican.

Primary elections[edit]


Paul Wellstone defeated Dick Franson 93% to 5%.


Norm Coleman defeated Jack Shepard 95% to 5%.

General election[edit]

Candidates on the ballot[edit]

* Wellstone appeared on the ballot despite his death (he had been replaced by Mondale)


At the time of his death, Wellstone was slightly ahead in the polls. After Mondale was chosen as the DFL candidate, he led 51% to 45% in a poll taken a few days before the election. Early on Election Day, Mondale was leading, but by nightfall Coleman pulled ahead, winning by 2.2 percentage points.



General election results
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Norm Coleman 1,116,697 49.53% +8.25%
DFL Walter Mondale 1,067,246 47.34% -2.98%
Independence Jim Moore 45,139 2.00% -4.98%
DFL Paul Wellstone (Incumbent) (Deceased) 11,381 0.50% n/a
Green Ray Tricomo 10,119 0.48% n/a
Constitution Miro Drago Kovatchevich 2,254 0.10% n/a
Write-ins 1,803 0.80% n/a
Majority 49,451 2.19%
Turnout 2,254,639 80.26%
Republican gain from Independence Swing


After Coleman was declared the winner, Mondale conceded and said in his speech, "At the end of what will be my last campaign, I want to say to Minnesota, you always treated me well, you always listened to me." His loss, combined with his landslide defeat in the United States presidential election in 1984, made him the only American major-party candidate to lose a general election in all 50 states as George McGovern had also lost 49 states (in 1972) and lost the Massachusetts primary in 1984. Although Mondale did not seek office again, he remained active politically.

Coleman was sworn in on January 3, 2003. He served one term in the United States Senate, losing to Al Franken by a very small margin in the 2008 election.


  1. ^ Associated Press (November 6, 2002). "Mondale Concedes to Coleman". FOX News Network, LLC. Archived from the original on May 15, 2008. Retrieved August 12, 2010.