|Democrats Nominate Walter Mondale for Senate|
Oct. 30, 2002 -- Minnesota's Democratic Farmer Labor party officially selected former Vice President Walter Mondale Wednesday night as its candidate for the U.S. Senate.
Mondale appeared before the party's central committee, which was convened in Minneapolis to ratify the overwhelmingly popular decision to replace the late Sen. Paul Wellstone's name with that of the former vice president on the Nov. 5 ballot.
"I will be your voice, and I will be Paul Wellstone's voice for decency and better lives," Mondale said to the committee members, according to the Associated Press.
The party's action was largely a formality because Mondale had already accepted requests by party leaders and members of the Wellstone family that he face Republican Norm Coleman on Election Day.
Mondale and other prominent Democrats and Republicans attended a Wellstone memorial service Tuesday evening that at times resembled a political rally.
Vice President Dick Cheney was asked by the Wellstone family not to attend the event because they didn't want attendees subjected to the kind of security a Cheney visit would have required.
Republican Sen. Trent Lott was booed by the decidedly Democratic crowd. Some of the speakers implored voters to cast ballots for Democratic candidates during the event that the Minneapolis Star Tribune called "raucous and sometimes acidly partisan."
Republicans had earlier raised the ire of Democrats when some began to criticize Mondale before he had officially announced his candidacy and before memorial services were held for Wellstone.
Democrats were "also angered by a letter from the Minnesota Republican Party to the Democrats requesting a series of five debates between the presumed replacement, Walter Mondale and Republican candidate Norm Coleman. The letter arrived yesterday, just as Sen. Wellstone was laid to rest," reported NBC News.
Wellstone's death, coming just 11 days before the election, has put pressure on both parties to shore up support while avoiding the unbecoming appearance of seeking political gain during a traditional period of mourning.
Meanwhile, news organizations and the parties have begun to poll Minnesota voters on a Coleman versus Mondale race. A Minneapolis Star Tribune survey taken Monday, Oct. 28 has Mondale leading Coleman 47 to 39 percent.