ST. PAUL (AP) -- If Gov. Jesse Ventura seeks reelection, he might face a primary challenge from a St. Paul man whose 1998 bid for governor sparked an investigation into Ventura's campaign.
In late December, Bill Dahn formed a campaign committee and listed himself as an Independence Party candidate, the same party as Ventura. Forming a committee is the first official step toward a campaign.
Dahn didn't return calls Friday. But he intends to run, said Tami Kaikaka, his campaign committee chairwoman.
In 1998, Dahn initially filed to challenge Ventura, who was then a member of the Reform Party. But Dahn soon switched his affiliation to Republican, pitting him against then-St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman.
Ventura's campaign manager Dean Barkley paid the $600 fee that allowed Dahn to refile against Coleman, prompting Republicans and Democrats to ask a county prosecutor to investigate whether Barkley illegally influenced Dahn's decision.
An assistant Anoka County attorney refused to bring charges against Barkley, saying his probe failed to produce proof of undue influence.
Dahn challenged former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams in the news GOP primary, but didn't wage a serious campaign.
Ventura says he won't reveal his political plans until after the legislative session this spring.
James Gibson, who finished third in the news U.S. Senate race as an Independence Party candidate, said Friday he hopes to decide by months' end whether he will run for anything in 2002.
"The only race I'm really seriously considering is a run against the governor," he said.
Gibson said a primary challenge would be healthy for the fledgling party. He also wants to make sure the party has a viable candidate should Ventura step aside.
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