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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

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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