Ventura lets hype build about possible 2020 run

Former Minn. Governor Jesse Ventura talks to reporters.
Former Minn. Gov. Jesse Ventura talks to reporters after a meeting with Governor-elect Tim Walz inside the State Capitol in St. Paul in 2018. "I'm 67 with a six pack," Ventura said.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Jesse Ventura hasn’t ruled out a bid for president in 2020, inviting speculation about a possible campaign in the same fashion the former Minnesota governor let hype build other times he didn’t wind up running.

And those waiting on a decision will wait much longer: Ventura told MPR News this week that he won’t arrive at a final decision until the last possible minute, perhaps next June.

“You come in the race now, you’ll get one day of publicity. And then mainstream media that works with the two parties will then destroy you. You will never get another day of media,” Ventura said after appearing at the state Capitol for a Veterans Day event. “You wait until the last day of filing. Then you explode onto the scene. You carry it through to the election.”

Ventura said if he runs he’d likely pursue the Green Party nomination because it will afford him ballot access in most places.

Ventura served one term as governor. He was elected under the Reform Party banner, but his political home became the Independence Party by the time he left office in 2003.

Since his upset win in 1998, he’s been frequently mentioned as a candidate for president. He has never gone forward with a campaign.

In an interview in a blistering wind by his pickup truck, Ventura sounded every bit as bothered by the two-party system as he was during his time as Minnesota governor.

“We have to elect an independent president,” Ventura said. “If we elect a Democrat or a Republican, the polarization continues.”

Ventura said he’d rather see President Trump defeated than impeached but was critical of how Trump had gone about his job.

“I don’t want religious people telling me about government. I don’t want government people telling me about religion,” he said. “And I don’t want a draft dodger telling me what’s patriotic.”

Ventura, a former pro wrestler, actor and author, presently hosts a TV show on the Russian-sponsored RT channel.

At 68, he’s quick to brag about his physique that has him “in the best shape I have been in in my older adult life.”

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