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The Dartmouth
May 28, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Campus mourns Wellstone

Many Dartmouth students, especially those from Minnesota, shared the nation's shock of the Friday morning plane crash that killed popular U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) and his family.

Wellstone, one of Congress' foremost liberals and a strong proponent of higher education, was involved in one of this year's most heated election battles. Although many disagreed with his political views, he was highly regarded for his ethical standards and his affable demeanor.

Numerous Minnesotans at Dartmouth echoed these sentiments, touting Wellstone as a great leader and also as a great human being.

Ellen Tani, a sophomore from Minnesota, said that even though she is not very politically involved, Wellstone's death has still affected her.

"He was a really down-to-earth guy who will be greatly missed," Tani said. "I have friends who worked with him personally, and they had nothing but good things to say about him."

"He will be hard to replace," Jennifer Kleinman '06 added.

Indeed, just eight days before Election Day, Democrats are scrambling to find someone to replace Wellstone's name on the ballot. According to Mike Erlandson, chairman of the Democratic Party in Minnesota, former Vice President Walter Mondale "is at the top of the list."

Mondale is said to be considering running and the Democrats have until the close of business on Thursday to fill the ballot.

Out of respect for Wellstone, the campaign of Republican candidate Norm Coleman is now at a standstill.

Janna Johnson '06 said that she is still waiting for her absentee ballot to vote in the upcoming election.

"They told me it would be here by now, but I think they are probably waiting to send it out until they have replaced Wellstone's name," Johnson said.

Wellstone was also remembered by Dartmouth students and others at the anti-war protests in Washington, D.C., last weekend, where people wore shirts and held signs that read "This is for Paul." Political personality Jesse Jackson dedicated his speech to Wellstone, saying that "his seat will be filled, but his idealism and energy will not be so easily replaced."

Elected to the Senate in 1990 after teaching political science at Minnesota's Carleton College for 20 years, Wellstone was a staunch supporter of peace, one of only a few senators to vote against going to war with Iraq.

According to the Star-Tribune, a Minnesota newspaper, Paul and Sheila Wellstone, daughter Marcia Markuson, and three campaign aides were headed to a funeral for the father of Democratic Farmer Labor party State Representative Tom Rukavina when the plane crashed just south of Eveleth, Minn. The two pilots aboard also died.

Wellstone is survived by two sons and six grandchildren.