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Tim Pawlenty Returns to Jeopardy! After Three-Year Hiatus

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But a single pop culture moment is unlikely to launch a new political campaign for one of Minnesota's biggest Republican names any time soon

Jeopardy! just can't stop loving Minnesota politicians.

timpawlenty12.jpgMichele Bachmann has become a regular fixture on the popular game show - with her name coming up four times in the last year and a half.

And now, after a three-year hiatus, Bachmann's fellow failed 2012 Republican presidential candidate and former two-term Governor Tim Pawlenty resurfaced on Wednesday's program.

Pawlenty secured the prime $2,000 slot in the Double Jeopardy round yesterday, for the following clue in the on-the-nose category "Governors":

Seen here, he took over the governor gig from Jesse Ventura.

New Jersey law clerk and challenger Greg Haroutunian correctly rang in.

However, like every contestant who has correctly answered clues about Minnesota's controversial Congresswoman, Mr. Haroutunian won the battle, but lost the war, and ended up with just $2 after Final Jeopardy.

Other governors mentioned in the category were:

$400 This Arkansas governor is seen here before and after losing 100 pounds. (Mike Huckabee)

$800 Before becoming governor, he served for two decades as a state senator from Harlem. (David Patterson)

$1,200 In 1928, discontented rural voters helped make him Louisiana governor. (Huey Long)

$1,600 In 1982, this politician was elected Texas Treasurer - the first woman politician to win a state office in 50 years. (Ann Richards)

Wednesday's program marked the third time Pawlenty has 'appeared' on the game show.

On October 15, 2008 (show #5543), Pawlenty's name was mentioned along with governors of Ohio and New Mexico in the $800 clue in the category "The "G"-8":

2008 job title for Ted Strickland, Tim Pawlenty & Bill Richardson

Challenger Meredith Robbins, a library media specialist from New York, correctly stated, "What is governor?"

Robbins ended up winning the show with $5,700.

Then, on June 24, 2010 (show # 5949), "Tim Pawlenty" was the $1,600 clue in the category "State the State of the Governor."

Defending one-day champion Joey Genereux, a biochemist from San Diego, California, correctly asked, "What is Minnesota?"

Genereux nonetheless lost his crown and ended up in second place for the show.

Pawlenty has largely been out of the national spotlight after leaving Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in the fall of last year to become the new head of the D.C. Financial Services Roundtable lobbying group.

As one of only a few well-known statewide Republicans, Pawlenty's name was briefly mentioned (and quickly shot down) as a potential challenger to his successor Mark Dayton in the 2014 gubernatorial contest.

Republicans are still searching for a candidate.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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