The Independent-Republicans initially nominated businessman
Jon Grunseth. Just over three weeks before the election, two women alleged that, in 1981, Grunseth had requested they swim nude during an
Independence Day party at his home and, when they refused, he attempted to forcibly remove their swimsuits. The girls were 12 and 13 years old at the time of the incident. In response, Carlson — the runner-up in the Independent-Republican primary — announced a write-in candidacy, backed by US Senator
Rudy Boschwitz. Despite denying the allegations (but admitting to past extramarital affairs), Grunseth dropped out of the race on October 28, just over a week before election day. The Independent-Republicans replaced him on the ballot with Carlson that day.