Political notebook --Pawlenty’s name back in the running for VP

By Matthew Stolle

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

Speculation about Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s vice presidential prospects is boiling anew: Blogs recently reported that Pawlenty was the guest of honor Wednesday at a Washington, D.C., fundraiser attended by GOP bigwigs.

Held at former RNC chairman Ken Mehlman’s Georgetown townhouse, the event was officially billed as a fundraiser for Pawlenty’s gubernatorial re-election. But as the Atlantic Monthly’s Mark Ambinder reported, one attendee said it "felt like the kick-off for Vice President."

At one point, Mehlman joked that he heard the governor’s wife call him "45," as in the next president after 43’s successor — supposedly Sen. John McCain.


On Jon Stewart’s calendar

In case you haven’t heard: Jon Stewart’s "The Daily Show," a program known for its wry, off-beat take on politics, will broadcast from St. Paul’s Great American History Theatre during the Republican National Convention. The convention runs from Sept. 1 to 4 at the Xcel Energy Center.

Convention endorsements

The DFL 1st Congressional District Convention, at which delegates endorsed U.S. Rep Tim Walz for Congress, wasn’t the only convention Saturday. On the same day, Democratic delegates from the 6th Congressional District endorsed Elwyn Tinklenberg. He will be running against incumbent Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Gubernatorial appointments

Recently, Pawlenty appointed five members to the Minnesota Board of Social Work, including Jacqueline Johnson of Rochester. Johnson is the program director for the College of Medicine, Mayo School of Health Services, where she is responsible for recruitment, selection and management of the Medical Social Services Student Programs. The Minnesota Board of Social Work is responsible for licensing and disciplining social workers. It is made up of 15 members appointed by the governor.

Pawlenty last week announced his appointments to the Governor’s 21st Century Tax Reform Commission. Pawlenty, who has expressed concern that the state’s tax climate is uncongenial to business, had declared his intention to create the commission in his State of the State address in February.

Media outlets have tended to focus on the fact that the 15-member panel was made up mostly of business executives. Here’s another interesting observation. Rochester, the third-largest city in the state and often referred to as a "boom town" by the governor, doesn’t have a single representative on the commission.


Will he or won’t he?

Will he or won’t he? Well, the wait is nearly over. Mitch Stevenson, a former movie theater manager, plans to announce early this week whether he will run for the state House of Representatives. State Republican leaders have aggressively recruited Stevenson to run in House District 30A, currently represented by DFLer Tina Liebling.

There is one small wrinkle: Republicans already have an endorsed candidate, Jack Dettinger. Stay tuned.

Matthew Stolle covers politics for the Post-Bulletin. His Political Notebook column runs every Monday with items concerning political issues affecting southeastern Minnesota.

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