T-Paw dropping out; Update: State GOP chair to ask Pawlenty to run for Senate

posted at 9:09 am on August 14, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

News began breaking on Sunday morning before most folks had finished their coffee or had even woken up on the left coast. Some fourteen hours after finishing a relatively distant third place to Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul in the Ames straw poll, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is ending his quest for the presidency.

Pawlenty told supporters on a conference call Sunday morning that he would announce on ABC’s “This Week” that he was ending his campaign after a disappointing finish in the Iowa straw poll on Saturday.

The poll was a test of organizational strength and popularity in the state whose caucuses lead off the GOP nomination fight.

Pawlenty had struggled to gain traction in Iowa, a state he had said he must win, after laying the groundwork for a campaign for nearly two years.

I won’t attempt to hide my disappointment since, as most of you know, I was quite a fan of T-Paw and had hoped he would do well. But in the end, there have likely been too many doses of reality being delivered to his campaign. As Ed and Tina already pointed out, while some people brush off the importance of a straw poll like the one in Ames, this was more than just a test of how many free tickets and pulled pork sandwiches one can hand out. It’s also a test of how well you can build your organizational structure and what kind of image you can project.

T-Paw had poured almost all of his remaining campaign funds into this effort and worked the ground game for well over a year, yet he still came up far, far short. It was going to be difficult at best to go back to potential donors after this and convince them to flush more money into the effort. But what Governor Pawlenty really never seemed to overcome was the media branded image that he was simply, “too nice.” He was the vanilla candidate who everyone liked, but they simply didn’t see that “fire in the belly” that everyone talked about. Even his scrappy verbal brawl with Michele Bachmann on Thursday night was too little, too late.

He was also regularly shoved to the back of the pack every time a new “flavor of the month” candidate entered the race and spiked in the poll numbers. This was doubtless compounded with the addition of a new, seriously high voltage competitor entering the race this weekend in the person of Rick Perry.

So where does he go from here? It’s difficult to imagine the final nominee picking him for the veep slot, but anything is possible. There is also the potential for a future Senate run where he might fare quite well, though he has brushed that thought off in the past.

Sorry to see you go, Governor, but I understand the decision. Best of luck.

Update (Ed): Steve Eggleston joked on Twitter that I should be put on “suicide watch,” but this outcome was obvious, if sooner than I expected.  Pawlenty was a very good governor in Minnesota with a long record of accomplishment, and would have made a good President, perhaps even better than good.  However, in order to be a good President, you have to first get yourself elected, and Pawlenty never got that kind of traction.

Pawlenty is young enough to try again in the future, but he will need something to do in between.  He can’t stay retired for four or eight years and then expect to come back and run for President again.  The obvious option here is a challenge to Senator Amy Klobuchar in Minnesota next year.  Klobuchar won big in the wave of 2006, swamping out Mark Kennedy by over 20 points to win her first term.  She’s smart and genuinely likeable, and so far hasn’t built an extreme record in her voting, although it’s certainly mainstream Democratic, but also hasn’t done much to distinguish herself.

Other Republicans are already gearing up to take her on, but given Klobuchar’s likeability and standing (the Klobuchars have been in Minnesota politics for a long time), it would take a Republican with high standing to make it a tough race.  Pawlenty is the last Republican to win a state-wide race in Minnesota, and knows how to fundraise and campaign.  Don’t be surprised if he decides to refocus his attention to Minnesota and make a run for Capitol Hill rather than the White House.  Pawlenty hasn’t always been the darling of the state Republican party, but expect them to woo Pawlenty for the bid.

Update (Ed): Gary Gross heard MN GOP chair Tony Sutton’s interview on WCCO this morning:

What was a busy news morning for Minnesota politics just got hectic. Appearing on Esme Murphy’s program on WCCO-TV this morning, Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Tony Sutton said that he will approach Gov. Pawlenty to see if he’s willing to run against Amy Klobuchar. …

A Pawlenty-Klobuchar match-up would instantly jump to being the most watched Senate race in the nation for 2012. With Sen. Klobuchar’s vulnerabilities and Gov. Pawlenty’s fundraising abilities, plus his substantial policy chops, Sen. Klobuchar’s best bet is to pray Gov. Pawlenty doesn’t jump into the race.

Pawlenty has the best statewide name recognition in the GOP, and a good record of accomplishment as governor.  It makes sense for both the state party and for Pawlenty, but he’s got plenty of time to decide.

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“statesman”.

http://galleries.statesman.com/gallery/redstate-gathering-081311/#

scalleywag on August 14, 2011 at 2:31 PM

More critical thinking and less wishcasting, please.

AH_C on August 14, 2011 at 2:29 PM

I don’t think I’ve ever seen windandsea win a debate without twisting facts, making false comparisons or setting up strawmen.

miConsevative on August 14, 2011 at 2:34 PM

I like Pawlenty a lot, he had a good record. But people typically look for someone who’s more forceful as their president. He’d make a good Senator, though.

therightwinger on August 14, 2011 at 2:35 PM

you’re actually comparing comment counts at Hotair to a google search???

yikes

windansea on August 14, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Check out TPaw on all the HA polls vs the money spent and where he is today and report back.

Within 5 mins of the straw poll announcement, I said TPaw was out. Either TPaw reads HA, or his own polling info more or less tracks with the general HA consensus and that scares you. It also doesn’t bode well for Mittness.

AH_C on August 14, 2011 at 2:37 PM

She thought she could build on the Tea Party Movement and be crowned “queen” of it.

bluefox on August 14, 2011 at 11:22 AM

xactly. I always had the feeling that Bachmann watched Palin’s success then woke up one morning and said that looks like fun. I just can’t take her seriously. To me she’s another Christine ODonnell with a bit more experience and not a witch. JMO

Deanna on August 14, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Just by showing up she defelcted the debate, and Perry’s announcment to some degree and placed her name on many peoples lips

obviously hype not based on facts

windansea on August 14, 2011 at 1:07 PM

you can’t read can you ? what part of “to some degree” did you miss. Is your PDS so strong that you will never admit to the slightest degree that Palin is a leading voice in the GOP and copmmands large a following and media attention? Is that abridge too far for your PDS? Must you constantly attack and degrade this woman and try to regulate her to some unknown hell?

Palin owned the newscycle on Friday. She pushed the talk of the thurs night debate off of center stage and instead of letting Perry get the Friday newscycle all to himself her vist to the fair and interview with Hannity meant he got very few mentions. By Sat Perry’s announcement had to a large degree pushed Palin’s vist off the stage but then the results of the Straw poll pushed Perry off the stage. It was an illtimed announcemnt by Perry because he thought he could upstage the straw poll he didn’t.

Palin on the other hand was much smarter than that and left the state before the straw poll was done and did not try to even compete with a major event like that.

So I hope you can recover form your PDS I don’t hold hope but it is what it is.

Palin played this week to max impact, did not get very much negative coverage was able to keep her name in the news and media was saying her name in the same breath as Perry. And she did it all for a tank of gas and an airplane ticket.

She has followed it up with good local coverage of her low key visists to Reagan home town, college and Lincoln’s birhtplace.

Perry tried to step on the straw poll and got stepped on. To a large degree. He was bale to get his message out and got both good and bad press. He most likely came out of it on the positive side but if he would have waited until say Monday he could have most likely owned the entire week newscycle. Rookie mistake by OPerry but in the long run most likely not too bad of a mistake.

unseen on August 14, 2011 at 2:48 PM

Yep. It does put Palin in the same position and I think that is what is giving her pause.

Obama hasn’t made a mess of things because he wasn’t a governor or didn’t have executive experience. We are where we are now because he is a far left liberal and the people pulling his strings are even further left.

Vince on August 14, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Well, yes he is a far left liberal. He is also incompetent, because competent people know how to surround themselves with people who know how to get things done. He basically allowed Pelosi and Reid to take the reins of power while he made speeches and played the “salesman.” It was a catastrophic error in judgment.

Like it or not, the incompetent label is being used by both the right and the left, which means that the experience factor is going to be big in 2012. MB has no comparable executive experience and that will be a problem for her moving forward.

I think the opportunist label will also be problematic for her, especially with women. The Tea Party needs to be respected as an entity that comes entirely from the people. Sarah Palin has done a masterful job of expressing on the national stage the principles and values of the Tea Party voter without trying to usurp a leadership position in the movement. She respects the movement without appearing to co-opt it, and it is a movement that is big with middle class women, so this is smart and reflective of how she appears to share the values of this set of voters. Michelle Bachmann made a big mistake in portraying herself as a leader within the movement and it doesn’t resonate well with people who’ve made the effort to attend rallies and are trying to move the effort beyond protest into taking over. To give her credit, I’m sure she relates to Tea Party values, she is personally a very strong and good person with a great life story, but her political career is very short and it appears that she is trying to take a short-cut for a job that she is not ready for. If she is the candidate, I will bust my butt to see her elected, but I want someone with the executive chops to fix this country. Being a firebrand does not make you a good executive.

piglet on August 14, 2011 at 2:48 PM

The primaries are already playing out and Palin will not be a part of it. Romney and Bachmanns debate performances just removed any chance she had of announcing.

csdeven on August 14, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Says the obsessor, obsessed with preventing her from running.

Your wishcasting is just not based on reality. Explain why poll after poll of the current crop add up to less than 55%. Who are the other 45% waiting on? Christy?

AH_C on August 14, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Well, I’m certainly suffering from ABO so I’ll vote for whoever carries the GOP banner. I know who I would prefer…but if I have to hold my nose again I’ll do it.

piglet on August 14, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Glad he’s gone. He clearly could see the end and wasn’t going gracefully.

MadisonConservative on August 14, 2011 at 2:56 PM

State GOP chair to ask Pawlenty to run for Senate

No! We already had MN Senator Norm Coleman that wouldn’t vote to let us drill for our own oil, we don’t need another Senator that is weak on energy!

RJL on August 14, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Oh well. He’s making the right decision. Up to 6 months ago I thought he would be a strong/leading candidate, but the competition with fellow Republicans proved his undoing.
Let’s keep narrowing the field.

Randy

williars on August 14, 2011 at 3:22 PM

The banana started to peel…sweet!

I didn’t expect him to bow out while in third place, but something must’ve happened other than the poll. My guess just sayin’.

I wrote down a list (hehehe forgot Mittens!) so next guesses would be Cain, Santorum, Huntsman and Gingrich will hold on as much as possible. There’s a dude on the cover of “Outside” magazine that is a Santorum dead ringer. I get that mag here and whoa! That’s something he’d die for as a cover for Newsweek.

Not.Gonna.Happen!

ProudPalinFan on August 14, 2011 at 3:25 PM

We need another RINO senator.

faraway on August 14, 2011 at 3:39 PM

didn’t expect him to bow out while in third place, but something must’ve happened other than the poll. My guess just sayin’.

Not.Gonna.Happen!

ProudPalinFan on August 14, 2011 at 3:25 PM

my guess would be a big donor pulled out and Tim couldn’t make up the slack with his poor performance.

unseen on August 14, 2011 at 3:47 PM

me likey….go for it tpaw

cmsinaz on August 14, 2011 at 3:57 PM

As Ed and Tina already pointed out, while some people brush off the importance of a straw poll like the one in Ames, this was more than just a test of how many free tickets and pulled pork sandwiches one can hand out.

Not in the way you suggest. It’s still of very little importance. The problem was that Pawlenty didn’t get that message and he threw away all his money trying to win it, as you noted.

Ronnie on August 14, 2011 at 4:08 PM

I hate T-Paw dropped out..I hope he runs for the Senate seat ..:)

Dire Straits on August 14, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Rarely post, but after Pawlenty tried to downplay Bachmann’s fight against Obamacare, et al, by saying “please quit trying, your killing us” I knew he was gone. That was a completely ignorant statement, even if it was ad lib; I yelled at the screen “Buh Bye”.

nothus on August 14, 2011 at 4:40 PM

Ed, sorry about TPae quitting. But I have to say you were rooting for him ever since the day he became x-governor. Living in a blue state really colored your perceptions such that you couldn’t see that TPaw was a candidates for the 1850s Whig party.

Don’t you remember back in your CQ days and the NOTD-Not One Thin Dime campaign? I’d say you were a TPer then before it took off in 09, then you go and support TPaw. .. Now that he’s out, who are you pulling for now? I hope you come back full bore to the Tea Party.

AH_C on August 14, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Pawlenty isn’t gonna run for some puny little non-executive job. The optics, the optics! Question one in the Klobuchar-Pawlenty debate: “Do you think senators are qualified for the presidency?”

Buddahpundit on August 14, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Here is Milquetoast. Now just toast!

BDavis on August 14, 2011 at 5:36 PM

I’m sorry to see him go this early.

I’ve always thought of him as the reliably conservative alternate to Mitt. (Just because of hearsay.) Until Sarah declares, and until Perry convinces me, I’m back to being truly undecided.

rwenger43 on August 14, 2011 at 6:29 PM

It was a cruel joke to advise this poor dork to run . Paid advisors? Hmmm.

borntoraisehogs on August 14, 2011 at 6:29 PM

No! We already had MN Senator Norm Coleman that wouldn’t vote to let us drill for our own oil, we don’t need another Senator that is weak on energy!

RJL on August 14, 2011 at 3:17 PM

But with Klobuchar, you have a strong voice for the development of U.S. energy development, don’t you? Good luck with that.

Jaibones on August 14, 2011 at 7:20 PM

I think he should wait and run against Al Franken. He could easily beat Al the Douchebag considering how close the election was between him and Norm Coleman. I don’t see it as a sure win with Klobuchar.

NathanG on August 14, 2011 at 7:50 PM

Explain why poll after poll of the current crop add up to less than 55%. Who are the other 45% waiting on? Christy?

AH_C on August 14, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Bwahahahahaha!!!!

45% of them are just praying that a failed 1/2 term governor of a gas station state will get in and save the country?!

Bwahahahahahahahaha!!!!

csdeven on August 14, 2011 at 8:58 PM

The Obsessor just can’t help himself, bless his heart…

Gohawgs on August 15, 2011 at 12:18 AM

Screw 2012– we need Pawlenty to run against Franken in 2014 and end the biggest electoral embarrassment in the nation.

That would make Pawlenty a GOP hero.

alecj on August 15, 2011 at 3:01 AM

As others have pointed out…of course before leaving he had to take his “potshots” at other candidates.
Why not just leave quietly with dignity and let the voters determine who we want as a candidate.

right2bright on August 15, 2011 at 8:33 AM

45% of them are just praying that a failed 1/2 term governor of a gas station state will get in and save the country?!

Bwahahahahahahahaha!!!!

csdeven on August 14, 2011 at 8:58 PM

I don’t thing they are waiting for Mitt…1/2 term as a Republican, 1/2 term as a democrat…what’s the difference when a politician is in for 1/2 or is 1/2 @ssed.

right2bright on August 15, 2011 at 8:35 AM

45% of them are just praying that a failed 1/2 term governor of a gas station state will get in and save the country?!

csdeven on August 14, 2011 at 8:58 PM

And just think, our choices may come down to either her or Obama if we’re lucky. Because if we’re not lucky it’ll be another old white RINO or Obama!

2008 is gonna make the next election cycle look like Candy Land in comparison.

Uncle Sams Nephew on August 15, 2011 at 10:09 AM

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