ST. PAUL, Minn., Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Gov. Jesse Ventura on Monday appointed independent Dean Barkley to fill out the remaining term of Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., who was killed in a plane crash Oct. 25.
Ventura acted as Wellstone's replacement on Tuesday's ballot, former Vice President Walter Mondale, began debating Republican Norm Coleman in the only face-to-face encounter of their whirlwind campaign.
Ventura had promised to appoint a Democrat to fill the spot when the 107th Congress reconvenes Nov. 12 for its lame-duck session but changed his mind after last Tuesday's Wellstone memorial at the University of Minnesota. Ventura objected to the political tone of the event, during which he was roundly booed.
Barkley, 52, a former partner in a six-person law firm, has been director of Minnesota Planning, the long-range state planning agency, since 1999. Before that, he managed a furniture company, car wash and other businesses.
He ran for Congress in 1992 and the Senate in 1994 and 1996 as an independent aligned with the Reform Party, which he helped organize in Minnesota. He also has been a director of the citizen's advocacy group Common Cause.
It was unclear exactly how long Barkley would hold the office. Attorney General Mike Hatch has said whoever is elected Tuesday would take office as soon as the results are certified Nov. 19. Ventura, however, has indicated he thinks Barkley would serve until the 108th Congress is sworn in January.
Mondale was chosen to replace Wellstone on the ballot last Wednesday and he accepted, promising he would use his campaign to heal the state's grief.
Wellstone, his wife, their daughter, three campaign workers and two pilots died when their King Air Turboprop crashed in a peat bog in light snow and freezing drizzle. Wellstone had been en route to a friend's funeral.