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Vote for Alice!
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Alice Tripp campaigns for governor. (Photo courtesy of Starbuck Times)
In an April 1978 poll, the Minneapolis Tribune asked Minnesotans whether they sided with the farmers or the utilities. Sixty-three percent said they sided with the farmers. Among rural Minnesotans, support for the farmers ran at 70 percent. That spring, Alice Tripp decided to run for governor.

Undated — "The Pope County Democrats asked me to run. I was so astonished, but I (thought) sure, why not?" she says. "And then Mike Casper, who is this physics professor, agreed to be the Lt. Governor, and he wrote the press releases, and he fixed up a solar loudspeaker, didn't he? So that we wouldn't be wasting energy. We were also going for alternative energy. And we tried to get gasohol, but the only place you could get it was Olivia. So we tried to use that in our truck. We ran around in a truck, and Patty Kakak came along and sang, and Russell Packard wrote the song."

Where you going to be on election day?
Are we going to let them have their way?
Pushing farmers off the fields to big powerlines.
Nuclear plants are their big design. Vote for Alice! Vote for Alice!

A vote for Alice is vote to demand,
Justice now throughout the land.
Guaranteed income, farmers' parity.
Reduce the budget of the military.

Freedom of choice for all women,
Equal rights for all minorities.
Tax corporations, feed the poor
Deliver the wealth to every door.
Public ownership of NSP
Power to the people, democracy!

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Image Political cartoon from Tripp campaign literature.

Of her politics before the power line, Alice says "I wasn't that radical. I grew up a Republican, but I quickly became a Democrat. Then I became a radical. I'm a very radical person now."

In June, Alice Tripp went to the DFL convention in St. Paul to seek the party's endorsement.

"We've had highway patrolmen come out there, tell us we cannot assemble, we cannot speak, calling our speech harassment, telling us we cannot drive down county roads, telling us we cannot stop on township roads," Tripp told delegates. "This was an act of the governor. When I called and said, 'Why are you stopping people on county roads?', the officer of the day, Colonel Kittridge, said, 'Mrs. Tripp we will do whatever we can to get that powerline through.' Not. 'we are there to protect you,' not, 'we are there to protect the workers.' But 'we will get that powerline through whatever we have to.'"

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Image She's a radical now.

To no one's surprise, Rudy Perpich won the party endorsement for governor. But that September, Alice Tripp ran in the primary anyway. She won more than 97,000 votes.

An unknown woman challenging an incumbent governor, she got 20 percent of the vote statewide. In Pope County, she got 44 percent. But if Alice Tripp's surprise showing that September was the faint rumble of thunder in the countryside, lightning had struck just a few weeks earlier.

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