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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

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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