15th Anniversary of Wellstone Plane Crash
Undated (KROC AM News) - It was 15 years ago when Minnesotans and others around the country were stunned after learning of the death of US Senator Paul Wellstone.
The Minnesota Democrat was headed to a funeral in Eveleth on Oct 25, 2002 when the plane he was in crashed a few miles from the airport. Also killed were his wife, daughter, two campaign workers, his driver and the two pilots.
The crash came just days before that year's election. In fact, Wellstone had been scheduled to debate Republican opponent Norm Coleman the evening of the crash.
The Democratic Party selected former Vice President Walter Mondale to take Wellstone’s slot on the ballot and he lost to Coleman.
Political pundits give some of the credit for Coleman’s victory to a controversial Wellstone memorial service that was held four days after the crash. It became more of a political rally that drew widespread criticism. Wellstone’s campaign manager later apologized.
The National Transportation Safety Board later ruled the cause of the plane crash was likely due to inadequate airspeed.
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