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Pawlenty Won’t Seek Re-Election

The Minnesota Independent’s Paul Demko reports:

[Republican Minnesota Gov.] Tim Pawlenty will announce whether he plans to seek a third term as governor this afternoon. The early word: he’s not running for re-election. Both WCCO (Channel 4) political reporter Pat Kessler and Minnesota Public Radio’s Tom Scheck cite sources that indicate Pawlenty has decided against seeking a third term and is dialing up national Republican leaders to deliver the news.

Running for re-election in 2010 would be a risky proposition for Pawlenty. He’s twice won office with less than 50 percent of the vote, and in 2008 he benefited from the implosion of Democrat Mike Hatch’s campaign in the final week before election day.

Pawlenty is widely believed to be considering a run for the presidency in 2012. If that’s the case, we can probably expect Pawlenty to play to Republican primary voters by continuing to refuse to certify Democrat Al Franken’s victory over former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.). Coleman pleaded his case to the Minnesota Supreme Court yesterday, and if he loses there, is expected to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Minnesota law requires court challenges of election results be resolved before an election can be certified, but doesn’t specify if that includes federal challenges. Pawlenty has said vaguely that he intends to “follow the law.”

It’s looking like it could be a long summer.

*UPDATE: *It’s official, Pawlenty is not seeking another term as governor.

2nd UPDATE: Pawlenty vowed to follow the Minnesota Supreme Court’s direction if it orders him to certify the election following its pending decision on the Coleman-Franken issue.

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