While many commentators and political scientists dismissed Jesse Ventura's rise to the governorship as a fluke of celebrity, Jacob Lentz shows that it was Minnesota's unique electoral rules, coupled with on-target campaign dynamics, that enabled a third-party candidate to reach office. In this first complete account of Ventura's victory, Lentz draws on tantalizing details from the actual race to show that campaigns definitely do matter. Interviews with key players, exit polls, analyses of media coverage, and assessments of advertisements and debate performance also contribute to a compelling case study of U.S. politics at the state and local level. Moving beyond old theories about structural barriers to fringe candidates, Electing Jesse Ventura makes it abundantly clear that third-party candidates can seize the favor of the U.S. electorate - and actually benefit from their lack of ties to the major parties - by emphasizing their pragmatism and independence.
Foreword - S. Verba. Introduction. Minnesota's 1998 Gubernatorial Race. Analysis of Ventura's Victory. Lessons for the Future. Conclusions.