Tim Pawlenty's Certifiably Difficult Decision

I'd been meaning to write something about the dilemma Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is about to face with regard to his state's marathon ...
by | April 6, 2009
 

I'd been meaning to write something about the dilemma Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is about to face with regard to his state's marathon U.S. Senate race. Politico took the words right out of my keyboard:

Franken won big Tuesday when a three-judge panel allowed the review of no more than 400 absentee ballots in a race he currently leads by 225 votes. Coleman's camp says an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court is coming; once that's done, the dispute lands in Pawlenty's lap.

If Franken's ahead at that point, Pawlenty will have a choice: sign the election certificate that will allow Democrats to seat Franken in the Senate or play to the Republicans whose support he'd need in 2012 by withholding the certificate while Coleman challenges the election in the federal court system.

...

That leaves Pawlenty in the hot seat -- and whatever he decides could have implications in 2010 and 2012. Up for a third term next year, Pawlenty risks angering Minnesota Democrats and independents if he refuses to sign an election document for Franken -- and a loss if he runs in the governor's race would imperil a presidential run in 2012. But if he signs the certificate and Coleman seeks a federal appeal, he risks infuriating conservatives who despise Franken -- and thereby imperiling his chances in the Republican presidential primary.

I wish we had some recent polling from Minnesota. Early in the recount, Minnesotans clearly were disdainful toward both Norm Colemand and Al Franken. Now, are they outraged that Coleman won't concede or do they still dislike both men and not really mind that Amy Klobuchar is their only U.S. senator?

We may not have any polling data, but perhaps Pawlenty should acquire some before he makes his next move.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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