FOREST LAKE, Minn. (AP) _ Pointing to Amsterdam's infamous red-light district as a model, Reform Party gubernatorial candidate Jesse Ventura said Wednesday that Minnesota should consider legalizing prostitution.

``It's a lot easier to control something when it's legal than when it's illegal,'' Ventura said. ``Nevada don't seem to have a problem with it, do they?''

The former professional wrestler known as ``The Body'' and ex-Brooklyn Park mayor briefly mentioned the issue in a luncheon speech to business owners.

Although a third party candidate, Ventura surprised the political establishment when a recent poll showed 21 percent of likely voters intended to vote for him.

That still puts him in third place, but he appears to be responsible for dropping Democrat Hubert Humphrey III into a virtual dead heat with Republican St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman. Both candidates denounced Ventura's latest idea.

``To think you're going to solve these problems by opening up the floodgates is absolutely absurd,'' Coleman said.

Evelina Giobbe, an ex-prostitute who runs a Minneapolis agency that helps women leave prostitution, was aghast.

``I'd be appalled to go downtown Minneapolis and have naked women sitting in a window like puppies for sale,'' she said, referring to a typical scene in Amsterdam's red-light district.

But Ventura said something had to be done.

``We need to look at solving these social problems in a different way,'' he said.