Jesse Ventura endorsement: Former Minnesota Gov. endorses Democratic Gov. Tim Walz

Former pro wrestler and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura has endorsed Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz for reelection, saying democracy is “under attack” and praising Walz’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic

Ventura, who considers himself an independent and was elected governor as a part of the Reform Party, said in a video posted to Walz’s Twitter account that he rarely makes endorsements. 

“But this election is too important. That’s why I’m endorsing Governor Tim Walz for reelection,” Ventura said. 

“Minnesota faces a choice this election, and we’re at a crossroads. That’s why I’m taking the unprecedented step to endorse Tim,” Ventura said. 

Ventura, who was Minnesota governor from 1999 to 2003, harkened back to Jan. 6, 2021, when former President Trump and his “cronies” decided to “spread the Big Lie,” as Ventura put it. 

“I took an oath 50 years ago as a Navy SEAL to defend this country,” Ventura said. “I can’t stand with anyone or any part who cannot condemn the Jan. 6 insurrection.” 

Ventura also said “women’s rights are under attack across this country,” and said Walz will defend access to reproductive medical care. 

“This November, I’ll be casting my independent ballot for Governor Tim Walz,” Ventura concluded. 

Walz called the endorsement an “honor.” 

“I’m committed to being a governor for all Minnesotans, and I’ll work with anyone who’s willing to work with me to get things done,” Walz tweeted. “Thank you, Jesse, for taking the unprecedented step to cast your independent vote for me!”

Walz will face off against Republican Scott Jensen on Nov. 8. Polls show Walz with around an 8 point lead in the race, although a poll by the Republican pollsters Tralfagador Group released a poll earlier this month with Jensen leading by one. 

Hillary Clinton won Minnesota in 2016 by less than two points —   a surprise for a state that had a reputation for being a solid blue state. Trump was bullish on flipping state in 2020, but ultimately, President Joe Biden won it by seven points in 2020.   

Ventura gained fame for his wrestling in the 1970s and 1980s, before diving into politics in the 1990s. Eventually, he became friends with then-New York real estate developer Donald Trump. In 2015, Ventura said he was open to being Trump’s vice presidential running mate. But by several years later, Ventura was calling Trump a “con man president.” 

New York developer and potential Reform Party presidential candidate Donald Trump and Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura take questions at a news conference after Trump gave a speech at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Jan. 7, 2000 in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, the city where Ventura was once mayor.

Craig Lassig/AFP/Getty Images

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