1996 United States Senate election in Minnesota

← 1990 November 5, 1996 2002 →
Paul Wellstone.jpg
Dean Barkley.jpg
Nominee Paul Wellstone Rudy Boschwitz Dean Barkley
Party Democratic (DFL) Republican Reform
Popular vote 1,098,430 901,194 152,328
Percentage 50.3% 41.3% 7.0%

1996 United States Senate election in Minnesota results map by county.svg
County results
Wellstone:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%
Boschwitz:      40–50%      50–60%

U.S. senator before election

Paul Wellstone
Democratic (DFL)

Elected U.S. Senator

Paul Wellstone
Democratic (DFL)

The 1996 United States Senate election in Minnesota was held on November 5, 1996. Incumbent Democrat Paul Wellstone won reelection to a second term defeating former Republican Senator Rudy Boschwitz in a rematch.[1]

Primary elections

The primary election was held on September 10, 1996.


Democratic–Farmer–Labor primary results[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic (DFL) Paul Wellstone (incumbent) 194,699 86.41%
Democratic (DFL) Richard Franson 16,465 7.31%
Democratic (DFL) Ed Hansen 9,990 4.43%
Democratic (DFL) Oloveuse S. Savior 4,180 1.86%
Turnout 225,334


Republican primary results[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Rudy Boschwitz 158,678 80.59%
Republican Stephen Young 16,324 8.29%
Republican Bert McKasy 12,711 6.46%
Republican Monti Moreno 6,536 3.32%
Republican John J. Zeleniak 2,655 1.35%
Turnout 196,904

General election

Major candidates


Wellstone had unseated the two-term senator Boschwitz in the 1990 election. Boschwitz filed for a rematch.[3] He released ads calling Wellstone "embarrassingly liberal" and "Senator Welfare",[4] and accused Wellstone of supporting flag burning, a move some believe backfired.[5] As in 1990, Wellstone had a massive grassroots campaign that inspired college students, poor people and minorities to get involved in politics for the first time. Boschwitz significantly outspent Wellstone on campaign advertising and the race was closely contested, but Wellstone defeated Boschwitz by a nine-point margin in a three-way race. Dean Barkley received 7% of the vote[6] and was appointed by Governor Jesse Ventura to serve the last few months of Wellstone's term after Wellstone died in a plane crash 11 days before the 2002 election.


General election results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic (DFL) Paul Wellstone (incumbent) 1,098,430 50.32%
Republican Rudy Boschwitz 901,194 41.28%
Reform Dean Barkley 152,328 6.98%
Grassroots Tim Davis 14,139 0.65%
Libertarian Roy Ezra Carlton 5,428 0.25%
Resource Party Howard Hanson 4,381 0.20%
Natural Law Steve Johnson 4,321 0.20%
Socialist Workers Thomas A. Fiske 1,554 0.07%
Write-in 1,130 0.05%
Total votes 2,182,905 100.00%
Democratic (DFL) hold

See also


  1. ^ "Our Campaigns - MN US Senate Race - Nov 05, 1996".
  2. ^ a b "Primary Election Results". OurCampaigns.
  3. ^ "Star Tribune Archives".
  4. ^ Welch, William M. (September 11, 1996). "A classic, clear choice in Minnesota Liberal Wellstone vs. conservative Boschwitz". USA TODAY.
  5. ^ "Pioneer Press: Search Results". September 25, 1996.
  6. ^ Banisky, Sandy (October 14, 1996). "Incumbent is liberal and proud; Campaign: In Hubert H. Humphrey's home state, a former Republican senator, Rudy Boschwitz, is using his incumbent opponent's views against him.; CAMPAIGN 1996". The Sun.