Just back from his part-time home in Mexico, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura dangled the idea Friday that he could run for the U.S. presidency in 2016.
Ventura eagerly volunteered the possibility while at Minnesota's Capitol — and pushed back against skepticism that he would re-enter the political fray after being out of office since 2003. It's hardly the first time the publicity savvy Ventura has broached the idea he would run for the White House or Senate, only to pass on a campaign.
He said the next race is "an opportune time" for an independent like him to run because there will be no incumbent. He said he's approached radio shock jock Howard Stern about being his running mate, and Stern expressed interest.
An email message seeking comment from Stern's agent was left Friday night by The Associated Press.
"The key to this next election I think will be a candidate who doesn't belong to a political party and who has the ability to rise above the mainstream and get the press, which I've never had a problem doing," Ventura said.
Ventura's comments come as members of Minnesota's third major political party are gathering in St. Cloud for a yearly convention.
The Independence Party meet-up is on Saturday at St. Cloud State University. Chief on the meeting's agenda is a contested race for party chairman.
The Independence Party has enjoyed major-party status in Minnesota since its origins during the political career of former governor Jesse Ventura. The party has fielded a number of statewide and congressional candidates in recent years but none have mustered more than 20 percent of the vote. In 2010, the party's candidate for governor Tom Horner got about 12 percent.
Independence Party officials have said they hope to field a serious candidate for governor next year, but no definite candidates have come forward.