Former Gov. Jesse Ventura is toying with the idea of running for
president in 2016.
Ventura returned from his winter home in Mexico last week, and during a stop Friday at the state Capitol, he floated a trial balloon for a White House bid.
He told reporters 2016 will be an "opportune moment" for an independent presidential candidate because no incumbent will be running and the public is fed up with the two major parties.
"If I were to decide -- and I haven't, and may not -- I believe one issue would carry me to victory," he said. "I would give the people of America their first opportunity to elect a president who doesn't belong to a political party since George Washington."
In addition to being an independent, Ventura said, the key to having a shot at winning is having the "ability to rise above the mainstream and get the press, which I have never had a problem doing. You guys like me, I guess."
He said he even has a potential running mate: Howard Stern, the "shock jock" radio and television personality.
Asked if Stern is interested, Ventura replied, "I'll just say it intrigues him."
Reminded that serving as president might cut into the time he could spend in Mexico, he said, "Certainly it would, but when you're president, no one can tell you what to do."
The one-term governor from 1999 to 2003 and former Brooklyn Park mayor said, "I've done city, and I've done state, so there's logically only one left."
The former wrestler, actor and author
was at the Capitol for a private reception for retiring gubernatorial security officer Tony Policano in Gov. Mark Dayton's office.
Dayton and former Govs. Arne Carlson and Tim Pawlenty attended in suits and ties. Ventura wore a tie-dyed T-shirt, jeans and running shoes.
Regarding Policano, Ventura said, "The best compliment I can give Tony is this: Every governor he's protected is alive, aren't they?"
Bill Salisbury can be reached at 651-228-5538. Follow him at twitter.com/bsalisbury.
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