In this Corner: Jesse 'The Body' Ventura a Contender in Mayor-Mania
Nov. 05, 1990
BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (AP) _ Jesse ''The Body'' Ventura was in an ugly mood.
''Politics is dirtier than pro wrestling,'' he fumed, and he ought to know.
The candidate for mayor of this Minneapolis suburb is a retired pro wrestler.
What ticked him off one week before the election was a political body slam -or maybe it was a headlock - from a state lawmaker.
Rep. Linda Scheid wrote a letter to the community newspaper publicizing excerpts from Ventura's interview with Penthouse magazine last year and accusing the candidate of insulting women and of being a bad role model.
The lean and chiseled, 6-foot-4 candidate was outraged.
Politics is ''dirtier than anything,'' Ventura said. ''I mean, including wheeling and dealing in Hollywood. They're even more honest than politics is.''
Retired from the ring since 1986, Ventura, 39, is trying to unseat 18-year Mayor Jim Krautkremer in this bedroom community of 50,000.
Ventura, who wore a goatee, earrings and feather boas during his wrestling days but now dresses more sedately and is cleanshaven and graying about the temples, had feared character attacks during the campaign. But he said the worse he had been called publicly before Scheid's letter was a ''bit-part actor.''
He appeared in two films with Arnold Schwarzenegger, ''Predator'' and ''The Running Man,'' appeared in other films and did a never-aired ABC pilot, ''Tag Team.'' He also is color commentator for football's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In the interview in Penthouse's March 1989 issue, Ventura said, ''I just want to be the actor who, when a scene's done, heads back to his air- conditioned trailer, picks up a Penthouse, looks at the pictures, and maybe even reads the articles.''
On why he chose the villainous role of ''The Body'' as a wrestler: ''I identify with that role perfectly, because I am eccentric and I am a maniac.''
Scheid recommended in her letter that Ventura ''pick up some sensitivity handbooks.''
''Sorry, Jesse Ventura, but our city doesn't need a mayor who flaunts an image of macho indifference to half of our population,'' she wrote.
Ventura got involved in politics when the city proposed real estate development in a marsh near his house. He and his neighbors wanted to save the wetland.
He is campaigning for slow-growth development, expanded recycling and a two-term limit for city officials.
His campaign slogan? ''If you've had enough and you're mad enough ...''
The two candidates have never debated. The race for the four-year office has been waged mostly through yard signs.
''He has never been involved in our community except for that neighborhood thing,'' said Krautkremer, who advocates more aggressive development. ''He doesn't realize the commitment he's making.''
Still, he acknowledged Ventura could be a threat.
''He's been doing this for a year and a half and I don't have the ability to come up with these one-liners that he does,'' Krautkremer said.