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 74)
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, serving from January 3, 1995, to January 4, 1999. An Independent Republican, she was elected with Governor Arne Carlson, who had competed for the party endorsement with Allen Quist and Doug McFarland, and defeated DFL nominee John Marty. Benson 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 front-runner. But despite her 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. He won the nomination but lost the general election to the Reform Party nominee, 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