United States Senate election in Minnesota, 1996

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United States Senate election in Minnesota, 1996

← 1990 November 5, 1996 2002 →
  Paul Wellstone, official Senate photo portrait.jpg RudyBoschwitz.jpg Dean Barkley.jpg
Nominee Paul Wellstone Rudy Boschwitz Dean Barkley
Party DFL Republican Reform
Popular vote 1,098,430 901,194 152,328
Percentage 50.3% 41.3% 7.0%

County results

U.S. senator before election

Paul Wellstone

Elected U.S. Senator

Paul Wellstone

The 1996 United States Senate election in Minnesota was held on November 5, 1996. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone won re-election to a second term.[1]

Primary elections

The primary election was held on September 10, 1996.


1996 Minnesota U.S. Senate Primary Election (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party)[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
DFL Paul Wellstone 194,699 86.41%
DFL Richard Franson 16,465 7.31%
DFL Ed Hansen 9,990 4.43%
DFL Oloveuse S. Savior 4,180 1.86%
Turnout 225,334


1996 Minnesota U.S. Senate Primary Election (Republican Party)[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Rudy Boschwitz 158,678 80.59%
Republican Stephen Young 16,324 8.29%
Republican Bert McKasy 12,711 6.46%
Republican Monti Moreno 6,536 3.32%
Republican John J. Zeleniak 2,655 1.35%
Turnout 196,904

General election

Major candidates


Boschwitz filed to run a rematch against Wellstone. The incumbent was an unapologetic liberal.[3] Rudy released ads accusing Wellstone of being "embarrassingly liberal" and calling him "Senator Welfare".[4] Boschwitz accused Wellstone of supporting flag burning, a move that some believe possibly backfired.[5] Like the 1990 election, Wellstone had a massive grassroots campaign which inspired college students, poor people and minorities to get involved in politics for the very first time. Prior to that accusation, Boschwitz had significantly outspent Wellstone on campaign advertising and the race was closely contested, but Wellstone went on to beat Boschwitz by a nine-point margin in a three way race (Dean Barkley received 7%).[6]


General election results
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Paul Wellstone (inc.) 1,098,430 50.32
Republican Rudy Boschwitz 901,194 41.28
Reform Dean Barkley 152,328 6.98
Grassroots Tim Davis 14,139 0.65
Libertarian Roy Ezra Carlton 5,428 0.25
Resource Party Howard Hanson 4,381 0.20
Natural Law Steve Johnson 4,321 0.20
Socialist Workers Thomas A. Fiske 1,554 0.07
Write-In Candidates 1,130 0.05
Majority 197,236 9.04
Turnout 2,182,905