1998 Election Cycle
In what was a November to remember, there was turnover in all but one constitutional office in the state. The headline came from the top of the ticket where the state elected the first third-party governor in more than 60 years when Reform Party nominee Jesse Ventura and running mate Mae Schunk eked out a 2.7-point victory over Republican St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman with sitting Attorney General Skip Humphrey in third. The last gubernatorial victory by a third-party nominee came in 1936 (Farmer-Laborite Elmer Benson).
For the Republicans, Big Lake nurse Mary Kiffmeyer flipped the open seat for Secretary of State and Auditor Judi Dutcher was reelected to a second term. Former state DFL party chair Mike Hatch held Humphrey’s open Attorney General seat as did Carol Johnson in winning the open seat for Treasurer. Johnson was the first women Treasurer in Minnesota history, although the office was abolished effective January 6, 2003 following the passage of a 1998 constitutional amendment.
All eight Minnesota U.S. Representatives were reelected to another term – six DFLers and two Republicans.
Republicans flipped the state House with a 71-63 margin by netting seven seats in the general election. It was the first time the GOP controlled the chamber since January 1987.
Associate Justice Alan Page was reelected to the Supreme Court for a second term.