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Gubernatorial Candidate Profile
Skip Humphrey
By Karen Louise Boothe
February 23, 1998
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The race for governor is drawing attention outside of Minnesota because the race includes several sons of famous fathers. None has a bigger name or is taking a bigger gamble now than Attorney General Skip Humphrey.

As he walked into his campaign office, located in a blue and white house in the shadow of the state capitol, Humphrey appeared relaxed and affable. He was even able to laugh about the doctor-ordered bandage on his right hand thumb - bruised by too much hand-shaking.

Humphrey: It's just nothing really...actually this has been like this for about six months...

After 25 years in state politics, Humphrey is stepping outside of the long shadow cast by his late father, Hubert H. Humphrey, perhaps the most famous man in DFL politics. Images of his father decorate his campaign office. In fact, his surname is one of the biggest assets he has going for him, in addition to healthy campaign coffers.

Humphrey is a politician's politician. And, he's eager to hit the campaign trail.

Humphrey: I love this state!... that's a rare privilege.

But Humphrey is in no hurry to make his candidacy official. Said to be the man most feared by tobacco companies, he's enjoying a good amount of press resulting from the state's lawsuit against big Tobacco interests. When he filed the lawsuit in 1994, no state had ever waged a successful attack on tobacco companies and the move was politically riskier than things look today.

Humphrey: I know that getting it right just on tobacco, making sure the next generation...make it a healthier generation.

If the state wins, Humphrey could enter the gubernatorial race riding high on a wave of recognition and popularity. If it loses, he'll be the guy who turned down a national settlement worth billions, and then blew a court case worth billions more.

That might be why he hasn't officially announced yet. He says when he does, Minnesotans will get a better picture of him and the policies he'll tout.

Humphrey: I have to tell you, down the road what Humphrey is going to be about is education...future of Minnesota.

Humphrey says his campaign will also include property tax reform, policies geared at strengthening families - like his crackdown on parents delinquent on child support payments - and his environmental policies. Humphrey developed the state's Environmental Enforcement Act, which established strong criminal and civil penalties for environmental violations.

Humphrey believes that of the pool of DFL hopefuls; it's he who's the most electable statewide.

Humphrey: When people go to vote, there needs to be familiarity...for that.

Other DFLers in contention for the seat are; former State Senator Ted Mondale, former State Auditor Mark Dayton, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, Senator Doug Johnson and Senator John Marty.

Skip Humphrey's web site

Quotations are excerpted from audio samples.