ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — 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.
He said he would run on an anti-war platform, and his first act would be to close the military prison in Guantanamo Bay and return the naval base to Cuba.
The former actor and ex-pro wrestler won election in 1999 in Minnesota as a Reform Party candidate, but he later disavowed party ties. He didn't seek re-election after his term. He went on to host a short-lived television talk show and more recently a cable TV program on conspiracy theories. Ventura now splits his time between Minnesota and Mexico, where he's surfs and golfs.
Tanned and relaxed, the 62-year-old Ventura pulled up his tie-dye shirt at one point to show off his toned abdomen muscles to prove he was in good health.
He was at the Capitol to mark the retirement of a veteran gubernatorial bodyguard.