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Tim Pawlenty Makes It Official: He’s Running for Governor Again

“My top priority will be putting those in the middle — who are working hard and getting squeezed — first. It’s a better way forward. I have the strength and experience to solve problems and bring us together.” (01:20)

By J. Patrick Coolican

April 6, 2018


Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced he is running for governor Thursday, attempting a restoration after eight years out of office that saw his DFL successor move the state in a more progressive direction at odds with Pawlenty’s tenure.

Pawlenty, a longtime Eagan resident, served two four-year terms beginning in 2003. The South St. Paul native built an image of a hockey-playing “Sam’s Club Republican” who could win suburban, middle-class voters in a Democratic-leaning state.

“My campaign for governor will focus on charting a better way forward for Minnesota families who see health care premiums skyrocketing, paychecks not increasing very fast, college costs and student debt rising — all while government spending and taxes climb through the roof,” Pawlenty said in a two-minute video released Thursday.

A comeback won’t be easy. Pawlenty’s long public record and most recent job as a bank lobbyist will give his opponents ammunition. And he must win over a Republican Party now led by President Donald Trump, who is fervently supported by the GOP base but was trashed by Pawlenty before the 2016 election as “unsound, uninformed, unhinged and unfit” for office.

Still, Pawlenty’s entry shakes up the open governor’s race, scrambling a GOP field thus far marked by a lack of enthusiasm among activists and financial donors. Gov. Mark Dayton is not running after his two terms, and the DFL field to replace him is unsettled. …

Pawlenty, 57, has not yet said if he will run for the GOP endorsement at the party’s convention in early June. He was scheduled to make his first public appearance as a candidate Friday morning at an Eagan diner.

Pawlenty has not been on a Minnesota ballot since 2006; his last political campaign was his bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, but he withdrew in 2011 after finishing behind Michele Bachmann in an Iowa straw poll. Since then, he served as CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable in Washington, a lucrative lobbying job that he left last month.

Until now, the GOP front-runner in the governor’s race has been Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, who lost the governor’s race to Dayton in 2014. Johnson easily won a caucus straw poll in February, but has struggled to raise money.

“Tim Pawlenty has never gotten over 46 percent of the vote in a statewide election, even after four years of being governor, and that was before a controversial second term, before he made $10 million as a Washington, D.C., lobbyist, and he publicly trashed Donald Trump a month before Election Day,” Johnson said this week. “He’s the last person Republicans should want at the top of the ticket in 2018.”

Pawlenty promises the ability to raise substantial money quickly from an enthusiastic business class, giving Republicans hope that their last candidate to win statewide can give them back the governor’s office in what is viewed as one of the most consequential elections in years. A Republican victory in November could mean full GOP control of state government for the first time in half a century.

Both political parties want to control government following the 2020 census, after which the Legislature and governor will negotiate the new legislative and congressional district lines that will drive Minnesota politics for the following decade.

The two parties will attempt to endorse a candidate for governor at conventions the first weekend of June, but officially pick their candidates in the August 14 primary election. …

Full report

I am officially running for governor of Minnesota. … While the DFL remains divided, this is our time to prove we’re united in our goals to fix our broken health care system, add better paying jobs, hold government accountable and make Minnesota the number one state in the nation. … My campaign for Governor will focus on charting a better way forward for Minnesota families who see health care premiums skyrocketing, paychecks not increasing very fast, college costs and student debt rising — all while government spending and taxes climb through the roof. Minnesota deserves better — and we need to hold government more accountable!

Tim Pawlenty
Tim Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty’s Psychological Profile

A psychological analysis of former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty — a contender for the Republican nomination in the 2012 U.S. presidential election — conducted 2010-2011 by Matt Draxler, Kelsea Schneider, Jeremiah Martin, Katherine Boehm,  Evan Johnson, Michelle Mueller, and Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, revealed that Pawlenty’s primary personality patterns are Conscientious/dutiful and Accommodating/ agreeable, with secondary Ambitious/confident and Outgoing/congenial features. In summary, Pawlenty’s personality composite can be characterized as a conscientious conciliator.

Pawlenty poster (edited 2018)
Click image for larger view

Personal Electability Index (PEI) = 9

Scale:   1A  1B   2   3   4   5A  5B   6   7   8   9   0
Score:    5    3    6   6  10    2    1   12  0   0   4   4

PEI: [Extraversion (scale 3) = 6] + [Narcissism (scale 2) = 6] + [Dominance (scale 1A) = 5] – [Introversion (scale 8) = 0] – [Conscientiousness (scale 6) = (12 – 4)] = 9

Related reports on this site

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty during the Iowa GOP/Fox News Debate on August 11, 2011 in Ames, Iowa. (Photo credit: Charlie Neibergall / Getty Images)

Bachmann, Pawlenty ‘Slugfest’ At Iowa GOP Debate (Aug. 11, 2011)

Bachmann, Pawlenty Pour It On in War of Words (July 28, 2011)

Tim Pawlenty’s Personality Profile Respectful, Submissive (June 16, 2011)

Bachmann-Pawlenty ‘Minnesota Twins’ Grudge Match (June 7, 2011)

Dems Link Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann (Sept. 20, 2009)

Pawlenty Compared to Bachmann (Sept. 10, 2009)

Faces of GOP Schism Starting to Take Shape (Nov. 19, 2008)

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence

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