1996 United States Senate election in Minnesota

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United States Senate election in Minnesota, 1996

← 1990 November 5, 1996 2002 →
  Paul Wellstone.jpg RudyBoschwitz.jpg Dean Barkley.jpg
Nominee Paul Wellstone Rudy Boschwitz Dean Barkley
Party DFL Republican Reform
Popular vote 1,098,430 901,194 152,328
Percentage 50.3% 41.3% 7.0%

County Results

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

Boschwitz:      40–50%      50–60%

U.S. Senator before election

Paul Wellstone

Elected U.S. Senator

Paul Wellstone

The 1996 United States Senate election in Minnesota was held on November 5, 1996. Incumbent Democrat Paul Wellstone won reelection to a second term.[1]

Primary elections[edit]

The primary election was held on September 10, 1996.


1996 Minnesota U.S. Senate Primary Election (Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party)[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
DFL Paul Wellstone 194,699 86.41%
DFL Richard Franson 16,465 7.31%
DFL Ed Hansen 9,990 4.43%
DFL Oloveuse S. Savior 4,180 1.86%
Turnout 225,334


1996 Minnesota U.S. Senate Primary Election (Republican Party)[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Rudy Boschwitz 158,678 80.59%
Republican Stephen Young 16,324 8.29%
Republican Bert McKasy 12,711 6.46%
Republican Monti Moreno 6,536 3.32%
Republican John J. Zeleniak 2,655 1.35%
Turnout 196,904

General election[edit]

Major candidates[edit]


Wellstone had unseated the two-term senator Boschwitz in the 1990 election. Boschwitz filed for a rematch.[3] He released ads calling Wellstone "embarrassingly liberal" and "Senator Welfare",[4] and accused Wellstone of supporting flag burning, a move some believe backfired.[5] As in 1990, Wellstone had a massive grassroots campaign that inspired college students, poor people and minorities to get involved in politics for the first time. Boschwitz significantly outspent Wellstone on campaign advertising and the race was closely contested, but Wellstone defeated Boschwitz by a nine-point margin in a three-way race. Dean Barkley received 7% of the vote[6] and was appointed by Governor Jesse Ventura to serve the last few months of Wellstone's term after Wellstone died in a plane crash 11 days before the 2002 election.


United States Senate election in Minnesota, 1996
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Paul Wellstone (Incumbent) 1,098,430 50.32%
Republican Rudy Boschwitz 901,194 41.28%
Reform Dean Barkley 152,328 6.98%
Grassroots Tim Davis 14,139 0.65%
Libertarian Roy Ezra Carlton 5,428 0.25%
Resource Party Howard Hanson 4,381 0.20%
Natural Law Steve Johnson 4,321 0.20%
Socialist Workers Thomas A. Fiske 1,554 0.07%
Independent Write-In 1,130 0.05%
Total votes 2,182,905 100.00%

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=173
  2. ^ a b "Primary Election Results". OurCampaigns.
  3. ^ "Star Tribune Archives".
  4. ^ Welch, William M. (September 11, 1996). "A classic, clear choice in Minnesota Liberal Wellstone vs. conservative Boschwitz". USA TODAY.
  5. ^ "Pioneer Press: Search Results". September 25, 1996.
  6. ^ Banisky, Sandy (October 14, 1996). "Incumbent is liberal and proud; Campaign: In Hubert H. Humphrey's home state, a former Republican senator, Rudy Boschwitz, is using his incumbent opponent's views against him.; CAMPAIGN 1996". The Sun.