United States Senate election in Minnesota, 2002
|Elections in Minnesota|
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 Mayor of Saint Paul Norm Coleman. The day before the election, Governor Jesse Ventura appointed the 1996 Independence Party candidate, Dean Barkley, to serve the remainder of Wellstone's term. As of 2018, this is the last Senate election in Minnesota won by a Republican.
Paul Wellstone defeated Dick Franson 93% to 5%.
Norm Coleman defeated Jack Shepard 95% to 5%.
Candidates on the ballot
- Norm Coleman (R), mayor of Saint Paul
- Walter Mondale (D), former Vice President of the United States
- Jim Moore (I), commercial banker from Minneapolis
- Paul Wellstone* (D), incumbent U.S. Senator
- Ray Tricomo (G), professor from Oakdale
- Miro Drago Kovatchevick (C), systems analyst from Minneapolis
* Wellstone appeared on the ballot despite his death (he had been replaced by Mondale)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.
|DFL||Paul Wellstone (Incumbent) (Deceased)||11,381||0.50%||n/a|
|Constitution||Miro Drago Kovatchevich||2,254||0.10%||n/a|
|Majority||49,451||2.19%||Republican pickup from Independence|
|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 an election in all 50 states. Although Mondale did not seek office again, he remained active politically.