Wendell Anderson

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For the Wisconsin politician, see Wendell Abraham Anderson.
Wendell Anderson
Wendell Anderson.jpg
United States Senator
from Minnesota
In office
December 30, 1976 – December 29, 1978
Appointed by Rudy Perpich
Preceded by Walter Mondale
Succeeded by Rudy Boschwitz
33rd Governor of Minnesota
In office
January 4, 1971 – December 29, 1976
Lieutenant Rudy Perpich
Preceded by Harold LeVander
Succeeded by Rudy Perpich
Personal details
Born Wendell Richard Anderson
(1933-02-01) February 1, 1933 (age 83)
St. Paul, Minnesota
Political party Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
Spouse(s) Mary Christine McKee
Alma mater University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota Law School
Profession politician
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1956–1957

Wendell Richard "Wendy" Anderson (born February 1, 1933) is an American politician and was the 33rd Governor of Minnesota from January 4, 1971 to December 29, 1976. In late 1976, he resigned the governor's office in order to be named U.S. Senator to replace Walter Mondale, who had been elected Vice President of the United States. He served in the U.S. Senate from December 30, 1976 until his term ended on December 29, 1978.[1] Anderson faced backlash from voters when he arranged to have himself appointed to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Walter Mondale by resigning the governorship. He was not reelected to the Senate.[2]


Anderson was born in Saint Paul in 1933. He attended Johnson High School and went on to the University of Minnesota, where he received a B.A. in 1954. He later served in the United States Army during 1956 and 1957 and earned his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1960.

Hockey career[edit]

Anderson played defense for the University of Minnesota from 1951 to 1954, and was a member of the U.S. hockey team that won a silver medal at the 1956 Winter Olympics. Long after his on-ice career ended, he was drafted by the Minnesota Fighting Saints in the inaugural World Hockey Association draft of 1972, in what was seen as a publicity stunt. (Not to be outdone, another WHA team selected Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin.) While flattered, he chose to remain Governor.

Political career[edit]

Anderson's signature accomplishment as governor was helping to create the "Minnesota Miracle of 1971," an innovative reform in financing of Minnesota public schools and local governments that created a fairer distribution in taxation and education. For his efforts, Anderson was featured on a 1973 cover of Time Magazine.[3]

Nearly the entire DFL Party ticket was defeated in 1978, including Gov. Rudy Perpich and the candidates for both U.S. Senate seats, Anderson and Bob Short. Anderson's previous arrangement to have himself appointed to the Senate seat—and Perpich's role in that appointment—were deemed central factors in the defeats.

From 1995 to 2001, Anderson served as a director for and head of the legal committee of Turbodyne Technologies Inc. (TRBD) in Carpinteria, California. Today, he is regularly called upon to act as a commentator on Minnesota politics for local stations such as KSTP-TV.[4]


Anderson married Mary Christine McKee of Bemidji, Minnesota in 1963. They have three children: Amy, Elizabeth, and Brett. In 1975, Wendell R. Anderson was honored by two of the Swedish District lodges of the Vasa Order of America and was selected to be Swedish-American of the Year.[5]


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Harold R. LeVander
Governor of Minnesota
Succeeded by
Rudy Perpich
United States Senate
Preceded by
Walter Mondale
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Minnesota
Served alongside: Hubert Humphrey, Muriel Humphrey, David Durenberger
Succeeded by
Rudy Boschwitz
Party political offices
Preceded by
A.M. "Sandy" Keith
Endorsed Gubernatorial Candidate,
Minnesota DFL State Convention

1970, 1974
Succeeded by
Rudy Perpich
Preceded by
Karl Rolvaag
DFL nominee for Governor of Minnesota
1970, 1974