MINNEAPOLIS, July 14 (UPI) -- Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura said Monday he will not run for the U.S. Senate this year unless "God comes and speaks to me."
Appearing from Minneapolis on CNN's "Larry King Live," Ventura said it was an "agonizing" decision. He left the possibility slightly open with a sarcastic reference to a reported meeting in which President George W. Bush told supporters God spoke to him.
"I'll tell you now that I'm not going to run at this moment," Ventura said. "But if between now and (the filing deadline Tuesday) maybe God comes and speaks to me like he did to president … don't call me a liar, Larry, just understand God sent me to file."
Ventura, who was elected governor as a third-party candidate in 1998, had been the subject of speculation he would challenge Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democratic Farmer Labor candidate Al Franken in the November election, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune said Monday.
Ventura has criticized Coleman's support for the Iraq War, and has called Franken -- the former "Saturday Night Live" star -- an opportunist for returning to Minnesota after years of living elsewhere to run for office, the newspaper said.
A poll by SurveyUSA and Minnesota TV station KSTP Monday showed Ventura trailing Coleman but virtually tied with Franken.