Minnesota Body Slams Politics-as-Usual

This week's most unusual election result — former wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura's victory in the Minnesota governor's race — may turn out to be good news for the state's direct marketers.

“The Democrat [Hubert Humphrey III] wanted more services, which translates to higher taxes, and we're already the second-highest taxed state,” said John Schulte, president of the National Mail Order Association, Minneapolis, noting that Ventura was his second choice after Republican candidate Norm Coleman. “People are tired of being taxed and losing companies and jobs to states with lower taxes like South Dakota and Wisconsin.”

As a fiscal conservative and social liberal, Ventura was a midway point between Coleman and Humphrey. While he is pro-choice and in favor of gay rights, Ventura also is in favor of decreasing the size of government. During the campaign, he said that had he been in office this year, he would have supported using the state's budget surplus to give money back to taxpayers, Schulte said.

“I think he would be on a favorable side to business and would listen to direct marketers on privacy and sales tax issues,” Schulte said.

During pre-election debates, Ventura would sit calmly with his hands folded while his two opponents viciously attacked each other. His commercials included a child playing with Jesse Ventura action figure, making it fight taxes.

“He doesn't powder-puff things. He says what's on his mind,” Schulte said. “He has no party, so he comes with no strings attached. I think a lot of people like that.”

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