Twenty years ago, that party's founder and only candidate ever -- beloved Twin Cities pitchman/comic Fancy Ray McCloney -- was on the ballot for governor. Ultimately, Ray's 919 votes weren't enough to top insurgent champ Jesse Ventura (773,713), Republican Norm Coleman (717,350), DFLer Skip Humphrey (587,528), and a handful of other gubernatorial longshots.
Reliably jubilant and hyper-charged, Fancy Ray only has fond memories of his brief experiment with electoral politics.
"I ran with my mother, Toni J. McCloney, for lieutenant governor," he remembers. "We bonded and had blast getting information and educating folks about the plight of people on the lower economic level. We talked to black folks, white people, Natives, and Asians that had got left behind in Minnesota's booming economy."
McCloney would've been Minnesota's first governor named Fancy, as well as its first named Ray, TPT pointed out in this delightful candidate profile of Fancy Ray:
With two decades years of politics and Super Bowl quesalupa pitches in the rearview, we asked Fancy Ray to take us back to 1998, the (almost) year of the People's Champion Party.
On his favorite memories from the 1998 run...
One of the most memorable experiences was after the election. I was outside a 12-step meeting and a gentleman came up to me and thanked me for my running for governor and giving him a voice. I went into my hyperbole mode and said, "Did you vote for me?" He said no. He explained that he was homeless with no permanent address, thus was unable to vote, but said, "I heard what you were saying and you made me proud." He then gave me the best hug that I received that whole year!
Plus all my real friends helped get signatures so we could get on the ballot. The day we handed the signatures in at the Minnesota Treasury Department, we strutted in the office playing the theme song from Rocky on a boombox. On election night, my mom, my son, and I went to Broadway Pizza and had a victory meal. Later, I connected with the other minor-party candidates and had a toast.
On his then-rival Jesse Ventura...
Love Jesse as a person and admire his run.
On potential future political plans...
Future political run? No plans at this time, but if Trump and Jesse can get elected -- why not a real Champion of the People?!