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Blog Home Page --> Governor -- Minnesota

Coleman Not Running For Governor

To the surprise of most political observers, former Republican senator Norm Coleman announced last night he will not run for governor of Minnesota.

"The timing on this race is both a bit too soon and a bit too late," he said in his written statement. "It is too soon after my last race and too late to do a proper job of seeking the support of delegates who will decide in which direction our party should go."

Recent polling found Coleman to be the heavy favorite in the Republican primary, and a candidate had even dropped out recently thinking Coleman was in. Left in the GOP mix are state representatives Tom Emmer and Marty Seifert.

Coleman's exit also lessens the chances of a former U.S. senator becoming governor -- a feat never accomplished in the state. Coleman lost a drawn-out election in Nov. 2008 to Al Franken, who wasn't seated until July 7, 2009.

Current Gov. Tim Pawlenty will not run for re-election. Instead he's expected to seek the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

MN Gov: Dayton, Coleman Lead Primary Fields

With low poll numbers and far less money than he had in 2000, then-senator Mark Dayton announced in 2005 that he would not run for re-election the following year. However, Dayton -- who has said he's better suited for an executive position in politics rather than legislative -- jumped into the Minnesota governor's race a year ago and now leads a large Democratic primary field, according to a new Rasmussen poll.

Finishing closest to Dayton is Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who has to battle not only Dayton and the rest of the field, but also history -- no sitting Minneapolis mayor has ever been elected governor. Behind him are state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and former state House Dem Leader Matt Entenza.

Democrats (Jan. 11, 331 Dem LV, MoE +/- 5%)
Dayton 34
Rybak 25
Kelliher 12
Entenza 5
Undecided 13
Someone else 10

On the Republican side, things are on hold until former senator Norm Coleman announces his decision -- which many in Minnesota presume is that he will indeed run. He would be the outright favorite for the nomination.

One potential opponent included in this poll, former state Auditor Pat Anderson, left the race Tuesday to instead run again for state auditor. Also included are state Reps. Marty Seifert and Tom Emmer.

Republicans (Jan. 11, 301 GOP LV, MoE +/- 6%)
Coleman 52
Seifert 9
Emmer 9
Anderson 5
Undecided 18
Someone else 7

While both parties are holding Sept. 14 primaries, a more pressing date on the Dem side is the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party nominating convention April 23-25 -- though it's usually held in June. The state GOP holds a similar event May 1. In theory, the state party is supposed to get behind the endorsed candidate even if primary challengers remain.

UPDATE: An on-the-ball reader points out Dayton and Coleman have their own historical obstacle to overcome -- no former senator has ever gone on to become governor. This blog at the University of Minnesota has more details.

MN Gov Poll: Coleman Takes a Hit

Former Minnesota senator Norm Coleman (R), fresh off a losing battle for re-election in which he won half the votes, is now rumored to be considering a run for governor. However, Coleman's extended post-election legal battle to keep his former Senate seat has negatively affected his stance among voters, a new survey finds.

The poll, conducted by PPP (July 7-8, 1491 RV, +/- 2.5%), finds 52% of voters have an unfavorable opinion of Coleman, and 54% said the way he handled his post-election campaign made them less likely to support him in a future campaign for governor.

Coleman is less popular than former senator Mark Dayton (D), who declined to run for re-election to a second term in 2006 due to low poll numbers and no money. Dayton is viewed unfavorably by 37% of voters, 15 points less than Coleman.

Matched up against potential Democratic oppponents, Coleman leads only State House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, who's unknown by nearly half of voters. Coleman trails Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

Dayton 41 - Coleman 39 - Und 20

Rybak 43 - Coleman 37 - Und 19

Kelliher 34 - Coleman 42 - Und 24

Pawlenty Mum On '12, Says He'll Follow Court Decision On Senate Race

After announcing he won't seek re-election, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) dodged questions about a potential presidential bid in 2012. But he certainly made a subtle case for such a run, arguing that the Republican Party needs "new ideas and new faces."

Pawlenty said his immediate focus would be finishing his term and helping elect a Republican to succeed him in 2010. "As time and circumstances allow, I'm going to try to lend voice to the need to raise issues and ideas for my party here and elsewhere if I'm asked," he added.

The 48-year-old governor said he wants to play a role in helping the GOP determine its future course, saying he'll work to "develop new ideas" and "new energy in the party."

"It's gotta be a party that can accommodate both Colin Powell and Rush Limbaugh if we're going to be successful," he said. "It's not either or, it's both. We need to be a party of addition and not subtraction. I think I can help with that effort."

Pawlenty said he "absolutely" thinks he would have won a third term if he chose to run, citing a Rasmussen poll that showed his approval rating is relatively high, especially for a governor who represents a state "that's opposite of their party." He also referred to a SurveyUSA poll that showed him leading all potential Democratic opponents.

Continue reading "Pawlenty Mum On '12, Says He'll Follow Court Decision On Senate Race" »

Report: Pawlenty Won't Seek Third Term

Last week we noted that Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) planned to announce his future political plans "this summer." His timeframe appears to have sped up, with his office planning a press conference at 2 pm local time.

WCCO-TV reports that Pawlenty will not seek a third term. The decision is sure to trigger speculation that the "hockey dad" will focus his energies on a 2012 presidential bid. It may also ratchet up pressure on Pawlenty, who will eventually have to sign a certification of election in the contested Minnesota Senate race.

Contenders had also been already lining up to seek the governorship. An open seat contest would give Democrats a strong chance of reclaiming the governorship in the blue North Star State for the first time in 20 years.

UPDATE: Here's an interview I conducted with Gov. Pawlenty last summer, when he was believed to be high on John McCain's short list for the VP nomination.

Pawlenty Says Re-Election Decision Coming Soon

Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.), considered a potential presidential candidate in 2012, has a big decision to make before he tests the waters in Iowa and New Hampshire: whether to seek a third term in the North Star State. This morning, Pawlenty told Minnesota Public Radio that an announcement will come soon.

"I'm going to be making that decision sometime this summer and announcing it sometime this summer," he told the station. "Everybody will know shortly."

Pawlenty said his decision will be based in part on whether feels he still has something to offer, adding that he likes serving as a check on the Democratic-controlled Legislature. "I have a lot of energy and ideas left," he said, adding that there are family and "career considerations" that might lead him to step down.

Part of the dilemma he faces is this: as a Republican in a Democratic-leaning state, a third term is no certainty. His first two victories came with less than 50 percent of the vote, and he's now considering deep cuts to the state budget to balance the books. "Anytime you're somewhat conservative in Minnesota and you run for election or re-election, it's always an uphill battle," he said.

A 2010 loss could torpedo a White House bid, and the specter of national candidacy would likely be an issue in that race. Stepping aside would, on the other hand, leave a lot more time for the rubber chicken circuit.