Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Will Pawlenty Run For A Third Term?

Bookmark and Share

After flirting with national office in 2008 – as a purported finalist on John McCain’s short list of Vice-Presidential nominees – Tim Pawlenty has the luxury of governing a state in which gubernatorial elections are conducted in presidential off-year cycles.

Governor Pawlenty has stated that he is not going to announce whether or not he will run for reelection until 2009. However, presuming he still wishes to be involved in politics as an officeholder, the odds are fair to good that he will indeed seek a third term.

Should Pawlenty also have national ambitions and get the itch to run for President, he would be able to do so without technically jeopardizing his gubernatorial career or reelection campaign. However, launching a 2011 campaign for the presidency after releection in 2010 might be seen as a bit unseemly by DFLers; no doubt it would surely be a campaign issue in his reelection bid.

But a run for a third term per se would not be unprecented in Minnesota political history. Seven Gopher State Governors have each won three consecutive gubernatorial elections, although each were for two-year terms:

· Republican John S. Pillsbury (1875, 1877, 1879)
· Democrat John A. Johnson (1904, 1906, 1908)
· Republican Theodore Christianson (1924, 1926, 1928)
· Farmor-Laborite Floyd B. Olson (1930, 1932, 1934)
· Republican Harold E. Stassen (1938, 1940, 1942)
· Republican Luther W. Youngdahl (1946, 1948, 1950)
· DFLer Orville L. Freeman (1954, 1956, 1958)

Freeman was also the DFL nominee on the losing side of elections bookending his gubernatorial reign: in 1952 and 1960. An eighth governor, DFLer Rudy Perpich, ran for a third term and lost in 1990.

If reelected in 2010, Pawlenty would thus be the longest serving Governor in state history (whether or not he serves out the entirety of a third term).

And as for Pawlenty’s presidential credentials, while he may not be the freshest of faces for which the GOP is looking to lead their Party in 2012 (e.g. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal; Alaska Governor Sarah Palin), the Minnesota Governor duly impressed the Party (and the national media) in 2006 by staving off defeat in a Democratic wave election year.

And a track record of being able to come out on the winning side of a battleground state might indeed be a prerequisite for the next Republican presidential nominee.

Previous post: Inside Obama's Landslide: The Young Man Went West
Next post: Even At 42 Percent, Coleman's Performance Historically Strong

16 Comments


  • Why would Minnesota want to reelect a no-show governor in 2010 just so he can run for president in 2012? Minnesota deserves a full-time governor who actually wants the job.

  • Your assumptions are incorrect. Pawlenty cannot risk a 3rd run for Governor. This man has never received over 50% of the vote in two elections. If he loses, his bid for federal office is over. He will not run for Guv and will instead transition to the National stage.

  • > Your assumptions are incorrect. Pawlenty cannot risk a 3rd
    > run for Governor. This man has never received over 50% of
    > the vote in two elections.

    He can risk it -- as you are not taking into account a few factors.

    First, since Pawlenty survived 2006 it is quite likely he will survive 2010 -- as the odds of a third straight Democratic wave election are extremely low. With a more favorable political environment at his back, Pawlenty could easily win a third term. Remember, unlike Norm Coleman (who also appears to have won in the face of a Democratic wave), Pawlenty has a fairly high job approval rating: in the low to mid 50s.

    Secondly, the fact that Pawlenty has not received 50 percent of the vote is an artifact not of his unpopularity but of the uniquely strong position third parties enjoy in the State of Minnesota. Over the past 10+ years, Minnesota has the highest support for third parties across elections in the Midwest - U.S. House, U.S. Senate, state legislature, and, of course, in gubernatorial contests.

    While former Virginia Senator George Allen may counsel otherwise, I do not expect Pawlenty to shy away from what may be much less of a challenge than you think.

  • >>First, since Pawlenty survived 2006 it is quite likely he will survive 2010 -- as the odds of a third straight Democratic wave election are extremely low.

    That's true, but what are the chances that voters just decide they want something different? By 2010, he'll have been in office for seven years. Popular or not, do you think the voters will be okay with having him as the governor for more than a decade? It seems to me like that is getting to be a lot of years, and that he may be better backing off and finding a different way to stay in the public eye.

  • Minnesota has really had bad luck with governors. One was a WWF wrestler named Jake the Snake Roberts, and the other is reported as a "ghost Governor" Its unfortunate because this is a state that needs officials that will look in its best interest!

  • I believe Pawlenty will make a good fourth term. I feel like he really learned from his inexperience through the first two terms and this last term he really showed strength in his policy issues and where he plans to take us in the next term. if not re elected it poses another trial year for his replacement so we should re elect him and let him finish what he started.

  • I agree, his first two terms where to feel out the office and create a boundary to help his next two years really make a difference. If hes isnt elected for this next term its going to be another evaluation period for whoever is selected.

  • I think a lot of it will have to do with how he reacts to this economic crisis. Bringing more jobs to Minnesota will definitely help out his chance along with maybe lowering the state taxes to helpout the consumer spending.

  • " ... since Pawlenty survived 2006 it is quite likely he will survive 2010 -- as the odds of a third straight Democratic wave election are extremely low. ..."

    One of the challenges Gov. Pawlenty will face if he decides to run in 2010 is that he will have Minnesota 6th District Rep. Michele Bachmann downballot. Will he endorse her? Will he campaign for her?

    This will be an even thornier problem if he runs for president in 2012.

    If Gov. Pawlenty gets the nomination, the Democrats (and before that, even some of his Republican challengers for the nomination) most assuredly will use footage of Gov. Pawlenty campaigning for the albatross -- they'll probably substitute the name of the Minnesota state bird and call his judgment into question -- in conjunction with video clips and news stories such as those that I've posted at the links below.

    Bachmann Bears False Witness

    $2 Gas? Bad News.

  • I guess we all will see how his politcal career goes. I think it's in Jeopardy and it depends on how Minnesota handles the Economy crisis and if they create more jobs...

  • Minnesota is a great state. I did service for a non-profit organization there. Many help from the state government.

    -monty

  • If Pawlenty does not allow his state to have new senator he should pay for it by losing in 2010. Or by recall. Minnesotans., get mad!

  • Thank God he has stated that he wont be seeking a third term in office, but who will replace him and finally take an interest in the welfare of the state.

  • Thank you everybody for sharing your opinion. This is a great blog - very informative!

  • When I was living in Minneapolis, Jesse Ventura was the governor at the time..most of the people doesn't like him either. Being a governor you get blame for almost everything..

  • The fact that Pawlenty has not received 50 percent of the vote is an artifact not of his unpopularity but of the uniquely strong position third parties enjoy in the State of Minnesota. Over the past 10+ years, Minnesota has the highest support for third parties across elections in the Midwest - U.S. House, U.S. Senate, state legislature, and, of course, in gubernatorial contests.

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

    Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

    Political Crumbs

    Mary Burke: English First?

    While multiculturalism and bilingualism are increasingly en vogue in some quarters as the world seemingly becomes a smaller place, one very high profile 2014 Democratic candidate does not shy away from the fact that she only speaks one language: English. In an attempt to highlight her private sector credentials working for Trek Bicycle, Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke boasts on her campaign bio page how she made great strides in international business dealings...while only speaking English: "Despite not speaking a single foreign language, she established sales and distribution operations in seven countries over just three years." Note: According to 2010 Census data, nearly half a million Wisconsinites over five years old speak a language other than English at home, or 8.7 percent, while 4.6 percent of Badger State residents do not speak English at all.


    Does My Key Still Work?

    Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting