Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Pawlenty's Political Future: When Will We Know?

Bookmark and Share

Although taxes and vetoes are the talk of the town today, reporters at the State Capitol would still like to know the answer to the question: "When is Governor Tim Pawlenty going to announce his future political plans?"

Most analysts and pundits, homegrown and in D.C., have come to the conclusion that the Governor will not run for reelection, and will instead continue to lay the groundwork for a run at the White House in 2012. The idea is that, if Pawlenty has ambitions of becoming President (in 2012 or, more likely, 2016), those dreams will be dashed should he lose his bid for a third term in 2010.

What this theory fails to calculate is a) the (less than even) odds of Pawlenty actually losing in 2010 (after all, the Governor remains fairly popular with Minnesotans, and the political climate, statewide and nationally, is due for a pullback from the Democratic Party after big gains in '06 and '08), and b) the odds of Pawlenty being able to defeat a sitting president, were he to land the GOP presidential nomination (which is also an unknown).

As such, Smart Politics is not so quick to rule out the Governor making a run at history to become the longest-serving Governor in the State of Minnesota, and, all the while, taking a wait-and-see approach to the ultimate success of Barack Obama's presidency.

And if Pawlenty does plan to run for reelection, when can we reasonably expect to hear the news?

The Governor is clearly not going to announce any plans until after the end of session and the dust settles from the budget battle between himself and the DFL-controlled legislature. But does this mean, assuming the legislature wraps up its business without a special session, that we'll know the Governor's plans by the summer? Not necessarily.

When Pawlenty first ran for Governor in 2002, he waited until September 6, 2001 to make a formal announcement. Of course, after ceding the GOP U.S. Senate slot to Norm Coleman earlier that year (in part due to pressure from D.C.), there was little doubt Pawlenty would ultimately seek the Governor's mansion in 2002.

The Governor stated his intention to seek a second term, falling short of making a formal announcement, in October 2005. But Pawlenty did not actually launch his official campaign unitl May 31st of 2006 - some seven months after DFLer Mike Hatch kicked off his campaign (although Pawlenty had raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in the meantime).

As such, if past is prologue, the media might be sitting on the Capitol steps a long time this summer waiting for an answer from the Governor that may not come until mid-autumn. That said, Pawlenty has stated he will make his future political plans known at some point in 2009.

And, if he has a flair for the dramatic (and is taking as many notes as possible on the Obama presidency), he'll wait until as late in the year as possible.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Why the Bachmann 'Revolution' Is a Grassroots Phenomenon
Next post: Who Does Keith Ellison Represent? (And Why Aren't Minnesotans Funding His Campaigns?)

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

No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


The Second Time Around

Former Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez became the seventh major party or second place gubernatorial candidate in Colorado to get a second chance at the office when he narrowly won his party's nomination last month. Two of the previous six candidates were successful. Democrat Alva Adams lost his first gubernatorial bid to Benjamin Eaton in 1884, but was victorious two years later against William Meyer. Democrat Charles Johnson placed third in 1894 behind Republican Albert McIntyre and Populist incumbent Governor David Waite but returned as the Fusion (Democrat/Populist) nominee in 1898 and defeated GOPer Henry Wolcott. Gubernatorial candidates who received a second chance but lost both general elections include Democrat Thomas Patterson (1888, 1914), Progressive Edward Costigan (1912, 1914), Republican Donald Brotzman (1954, 1956), and Republican David Strickland (1978, 1986).


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