Regular Power Line readers know of our high regard for Minnesota’s Governor, Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty is a rare talent. In my opinion, he is one of a handful of Republicans who could be credible Presidential candidates in five years. I was at a lunch meeting with Pawlenty earlier this week and was reminded again how talented he is. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone better. Maybe Ronald Reagan; maybe Bill Clinton. Maybe not.
All summer, Pawlenty was the target of vicious attacks by the Democrats, who are understandably eager–desperate, really–to bring down by mudslinging a politician they can’t compete with in any other way. Led by Attorney General Mike Hatch, the only statewide Democratic officeholder and Pawlenty’s probable opponent in 2006, they have leveled bogus ethic charges and smeared Pawlenty in every way possible.
We’ve been nervous about the toll the attacks may have taken, but our friend Ron Eibensteiner, Minnesota’s Republican Party Chairman, has assured us that few voters are paying attention to the mud-slinging and fewer still care. The party will be doing some polling later this month; in the meantime, tomorrow’s Minneapolis Star Tribune headlines: “Pawlenty’s job approval numbers unchanged since mid-session.” The article says that Minnesotans approve of the Governor’s performance by a 49% to 35% margin:
“After a summer marked by deep state budget cuts, a wallowing economy, and running skirmishes over ethical controversies between Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and DFL Attorney General Mike Hatch, Minnesotans’ regard for Pawlenty is holding.”
Good news for Republicans in Minnesota and, maybe, nationwide.
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