Hopefuls ready to replace Pawlenty
Next year's Minnesota Legislature should be interesting, given that many key lawmakers want to make the jump to governor -- or at least are considering it.
Rep. Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, opted to leave his job as minority leader even if he just "kicks the tires" for a gubernatorial run. He said it would not be fair to the 47 House Republicans if he were forced to split his time between leading them and running for governor.
Another House leader soon may face the same situation, but pretty much no one expects her to step out of her high-profile role. Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, is expected to enter an already crowded Democratic contest.
Seifert would not say Kelliher needs to resign as speaker if she runs for governor, but did say: "My announcement today may put some interesting pressure on her."
There are another dozen leaders and committee chairmen looking at running, a situation that often leads to more rhetoric than work in sessions. On the other hand, candidates may be eager to hit the campaign trail and not want to be in session very long, leaving Minnesota with a short session.
Most pundits probably would bet on the former.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty admits he is not well known across the country, which means he would need to do a lot of work if he were to run for president in 2012.
As if to drive that point home, a CNN poll did not even mention the Minnesota Republican.
However, since the survey showed there is no clear front runner, it leaves Pawlenty with a chance.
CNN reported that 22 percent of Republicans likely would support former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney came in at 21 percent each.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich trailed at 13 percent, with just 6 percent backing ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Independence Party Chairman Jack Uldrich says that not only will Republican and Democratic-Farmer-Labor party politicians run for governor, but someone will emerge from his party as well.
Apparently considering running are former U.S. Rep. Tim Penny, former short-time U.S. Sen. Dean Barkley and Stephen Williams, who ran for the Senate last year.
Time to celebrate
Al Franken says it is time to party.
But a June 25 Minneapolis gathering is more than a celebration; it is a fund-raiser. Tickets run anywhere from $50 to $5,000.
Franken was locked in an expensive court battle with opponent Norm Coleman.