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  Carlson, Arne H.
NameArne H. Carlson
Minneapolis, Minnesota , United States
Born September 24, 1934 (87 years)
Last ModifedEric
Sep 29, 2010 11:22pm
Tags Swedish - Divorced - Married -
InfoArne H. Carlson was born to Swedish immigrants on September 24th, 1934 in New York City. He earned a full scholarship to Choate, a private high school in Connecticut, and graduated in 1952. He then attended Williams College in Massachusetts, on a full scholarship, and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in History in 1957. In the same year that he finished college, he moved to Minnesota. He attended graduate school at the University of Minnesota. After graduate school, Carlson entered the work force for Control Data, a large firm in Minnesota, from 1962 until 1964. He entered political life when he served on the Minneapolis City Council as Majority Leader from 1965 until 1967.

Arne Carlson continued his political career when he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1970 and served there until 1979. While in the State House, he served as Majority Whip from 1974 to 1978.

Arne Carlson reached the Executive Offices of Minnesota's government when he was elected to the position of State Auditor in 1978. Arne Carlson was reelected to that position in 1982 and 1986. He served as State Auditor from January 4th, 1979 until January 7th, 1991. He opted not to run for reelection to the auditor's office to focus on a gubernatorial bid.

The Minnesota Legislative Manual for 1991 lists the following a accomplishments of Arne Carlson as Minnesota's Auditor. "As State Auditor, he created the nation's first Fiscal Health Program which provided an early warning system to help local governments prepare for changes in the economy." "He also significantly increased the return on Minnesota's multi-billion dollar pension fund."

Arne Carlson's candidacy and eventual election to the governorship of Minnesota has become on of the most bizarre occurrences in the State's election history.

Due to Arne Carlson's understanding of his unpopularity within the Independent-Republican Party, he decided to not even try to win his Party's endorsement for the 1990 gubernatorial election. Carlson's pro-choice view on abortion and pro-gay rights stance went directly against the governing body within the Independent-Republican Party, which oversees the endorsement process.

In the 1990 Republican Primary, Arne Carlson finished second in a three-way race. Failing to win the Primary, Carlson seemed to be destined to retire to public life after serving his state for 25 years.

The election of 1990 saw the incumbent Governor Rudy Perpich being challenged by the Independent-Republican endorsed candidate Jon Grunseth. Jon Grunseth appeared to be easily heading for the governorship of Minnesota in early October of 1990. Then on October 16th, 1990, the face of the election quickly changed. It was on that day the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune newspaper went public with allegations that in 1981, Jon Grunseth had been swimming naked with two teenaged friends of his daughter's. This development served as a crushing blow to Grunseth's election bid as numerous radio stations and newspapers throughout the state unmercifully mocked him.

With Grunseth's inevitable defeat, Arne Carlson began a write-in campaign on October 22nd, 1990, a mere twenty days before the general election. The only hope at this point for Carlson's victory would be by receiving enough write-in votes to beat the incumbent governor and the Independent-Republican's endorsed candidate, which was a virtually impossible feat.

Carlson's big break occurred on October 29th, 1990 when Jon Grunseth withdrew from the gubernatorial race. Acting quickly, Carlson appealed to the Minnesota State Supreme Court. The Court found that since Carlson and his running mate, Joanell Dyrstad, were the second-placed finishers in the Independent-Republican Primary, they were eligible to be placed on the General Election ballot since Grunseth withdrew.

During this time, not only did Grunseth's approval number fall, but so did Governor Perpich's. Some people sensed that the Perpich campaign was somehow responsible for creating the negative publicity in the first place. It should be noted that Grunseth has vigorously denied the claims made against him and no wrongdoing was found on the part of Governor Perpich or his campaign.

Despite his twenty-day General Election campaign, Arne Carlson won the gubernatorial election over Rudy Perpich, 50.1% to 46.8%.

Arne Carlson's first term as governor started poorly as he inherited a multi-billion dollar deficit from Perpich's administration. While Carlson reduced expenditures well, he also attempted to reform the property tax code in Minnesota. The attempt to reform property taxes in Minnesota resulted in the need to raise some property taxes. The media, his DFL foes, as well as many members of his own party relentlessly attacked Carlson's plan. These occurrences caused his approval ratings to drop to the lowest levels ever received by a Minnesota governor.

As a result of his property tax debacle, Carlson influenced the budget process through the conservative management and the employment of the veto instead of actively promoting large-scale changes. After setting records for the use of the veto, Carlson's approval ratings soared. His building popularity showed no sign of slowing when he entered the 1994 primary election.

Even though Arne Carlson had proved himself a powerful and persuasive governor, the Republican Party of Minnesota opted to endorse another candidate. The Republican Party endorsed a candidate that was much more conservative than Carlson, but proved to be too conservative for the majority of Minnesotans. Governor Carlson breezed through the Primary Election of 1994 and faced off with an extremely liberal DFL candidate, Jon Marty, in the General Election. Arne Carlson won reelection by a huge margin.

Throughout the remainder of his first term, Arne Carlson feared that the state was expanding monetary compensation to combat societal problems at a faster rate than the problems themselves were growing. To quell this trend, Carlson tightened monetary expenditures from the State, while assessing the needs of Minnesotans. Overall, Governor Carlson was successful in reducing money for programs while maintaining high standards of those programs. In doing so, Arne Carlson enjoyed budget surpluses by the end of his second gubernatorial term. By the time he left the governor's residence, he had lifted the state out of a two billion dollar deficit. He was also able to increase elementary and secondary education by twenty-nine percent.

Arne Carlson opted not to run for a third term as governor and has since retired to semi-private life. Arne Carlson's political views are still enjoyed by many as he periodically writes for political organizations and causes.

DateFirmApproveDisapproveDon't Know
06/03/1998-06/03/1998 Mason-Dixon 59.00% ( 0.0) 41.00% ( 0.0) 0.00% ( 0.0)

Title Purchase Contributor

Start Date End Date Type Title Contributor

Date Category Headline Article Contributor
Apr 03, 2005 10:00am Opinion Arne H. Carlson: The state's revenue problem  Article Eric 
Jan 22, 2004 12:00am Editorial Arne Carlson, on politics, life  Article Eric 

Importance? 7.33330 Average

Wife Barbara Carlson 00, 1965- 00, 1977

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