Posted at 6:28 AM on June 14, 2009
by Tom Scheck
There were seven Republicans who were actively courting delegates at Saturday's MNGOP State Central meeting. Former House Speaker Steve Sviggum says he's officially running. So is state Representative Paul Kohls.
House Minority Leader Marty Seifert was surrounded by a crew of supporters in "Vote Marty Seifert" t-shirts who were handing out buttons. Seifert says he's been contacting activists since Governor Pawlenty said he wouldn't run for reelection. Former State Auditor Pat Anderson says she's "probably going to run." Former state Rep. Bill Haas, who announced earlier this week, was also active at the meeting.
Two other potential candidates say they're still weighing their options. State Rep. Laura Brod said she's considering it but was talking to delegates. Supporters of state Senator David Hann handed out literature urging delegates to persuade him to run. Hann said he hasn't made a decision yet.
Posted at 6:32 AM on June 14, 2009
by Tom Scheck
I spoke with GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann at the GOP State Central Committee meeting yesterday. I asked her whether she would be interested in running for governor in 2010. She said she's happy with her job in Washington, but wouldn't completely rule out a run for governor.
"It would have to be if I felt like I was supposed to do it and right now I feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be. If my heart moved in the other direction and I had the tug, I'd do it. I wouldn't be afraid to run for office. I just don't feel the tug."
To be clear, Bachmann said she's happy in Washington but wouldn't completely rule out a run for governor when pressed.
Several Republican activists and consultants say they think Bachmann would be the odds-on favorite to win the GOP endorsement if she entered the race. And Norm Coleman, who is still fighting in the courts to win the 2008 U.S. Senate race, also wouldn't take a potential run off the table. He emphasized, however, that his primary focus is the U.S. Senate race.
Posted at 6:48 AM on June 14, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Gov. Pawlenty, GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann and Republican Norm Coleman all addressed the activists at Saturday's GOP State Central Committee meeting. I'm posting the audio so others can listen to it.
Pawlenty's speech had a hint of national focus in it.
Bachmann focused her speech mostly on President Obama's policies but also touched on key issues facing Congress.
Norm Coleman, who is waiting for the courts to resolve the 2008 U.S. Senate race, talked about his legal battle but also about ways to attract more people to the party.
GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen also spoke at the State Central Committee meeting. Here's his speech:
Posted at 9:09 PM on June 14, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Gov. Pawlenty told me yesterday that he'll announce this week which programs he intends to cut to erase a $2.7 billion budget deficit.
"We'll probably have some proposals this coming week but they won't be finalized until after that," Pawlenty said. When asked, Pawlenty would not say which day he would announce the cuts.
The Republican governor is taking an unprecedented step of balancing the budget on his own, using his emergency authority to cut spending. He decided not to call lawmakers back for a special session after failing to reach a budget agreement with Democrats in control of the Legislature. Pawlenty said he'll announce the budget cuts and then consult with others before he takes action in July.
"The way we've got it structured is that we'll say 'Here's what we're planning to do and proposing to do' and then we'll take some more input, get some reaction from the Legislative Advisory Commission and perhaps some other stakeholders and perhaps we'll finalize it down the road."
Pawlenty has said in the past that Health and Human Services programs, aid to local government and higher education are possible targets for cuts. He also said he intends to delay payments to schools.
Officials with hospitals, nursing homes and other organizations have said they're looking at their legal options to see whether they can stop the cuts in the courts. Pawlenty said he thinks he's on solid legal ground.