Jesse Ventura is an American media personality, actor, author, retired professional wrestler, and former politician who served as the Mayor of Brooklyn Park from 1993 to 1995 and as the 38th Governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003. He was the first and only candidate of the Reform Party to win a major government position.
Ventura was a member of the U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Team during the Vietnam War. After leaving the military, he embarked on a professional wrestling career from 1975 to 1986, taking the ring name Jesse “The Body” Ventura. He had a long tenure in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) as a performer and color commentator, and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2004. In addition to wrestling, Ventura pursued an acting career, appearing in films such as Predator and The Running Man (both 1987).
Ventura first entered politics in 1991 when he was elected mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, a position he held until 1995. Three years later, Ventura was the Reform Party candidate in the Minnesota gubernatorial election of 1998, running a low-budget campaign centered on grassroots events and unusual ads that urged citizens not to “vote for politics as usual”. Ventura’s campaign was unexpectedly successful, with him narrowly defeating both the Democratic and Republican candidates. The highest elected official to ever win an election on a Reform Party ticket, Ventura left the Reform Party a year after taking office amid internal fights for control over the party.