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Coleman has overseas challenger

ST. PAUL - The only thing more unusual than U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman's primary election opponent's residence may be the Republican challenger's stated intent for running.

Voters who visit Jack Shepard's campaign Web site can view a video in which Shepard talks of the importance of booting Coleman from office - to help Democrats gain a larger majority.

Shepard's "positions on issues are 100 percent similar to Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken," his Web site says.

And Minnesotans interested in Shepard's latest candidacy - he's run for statewide office from overseas before - may have to settle for the Web site, because the former Twin Cities-area dentist is running his campaign from Italy, where he lives reportedly to avoid a felony arson charge in Minnesota dating back to the early 1980s.

On a form that accompanied his filing for the Sept. 9 primary, Shepard declared himself a legal resident of Ramsey County who is working out of Rome.

Coleman is seeking a second, six-year term in the Senate. The former Democrat and two-term St. Paul mayor first won election to the Senate in 2002. He beat former Vice President Walter Mondale, who jumped into the race after Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash late in the campaign.

Coleman squashed Shepard in the 2002 Senate GOP primary, garnering 94 percent of the vote.


Norm Coleman

Party: Republican

Age: 59

Residence: St. Paul

Occupation: Senator, former mayor and state attorney

Previous elected experience: Elected to U.S. Senate in 2002; served two terms as St. Paul mayor, switching from a Democrat to a Republican during his tenure; ran for governor in 1998, losing to Jesse Ventura.

Education: Hofstra University; University of Iowa, law

Family: Married, two adult children


Jack Shepard

Party: Republican

Age: 61

Residence: Rome, Italy

Occupation: Dentist

Previous elected experience: Ran against Coleman in 2002 U.S. Senate Republican primary; ran for U.S. House; campaigned from overseas, reportedly to avoid arrest in Minnesota for arson

Education: University of Minnesota

Family: Divorced, two children