I will always be frank and straightforward as your governor and as your candidate and will not duck tough conversations when they arise, so I want you to know where I stand on the current media obsession with Tim Pawlenty’s potential candidacy for governor.
There has been speculation about this for a year, but recently Tim announced he was retiring from his D.C. lobbying job and moving back to Minnesota and met Monday with large donors to make a decision about running.
I don’t know whether Tim will run for Governor or not, but I’ll welcome him into the race if he seeks and abides by the GOP endorsement. Competition sharpens us all. If he seeks to ignore the endorsement and tries to essentially buy a primary victory, however, it probably won’t end well and it will significantly hurt Republicans’ chances in November.
I’ve been a conservative leader in this state for two decades and a candidate for governor for over nine months. This is what I know...
*A primary battle will be contentious and costly. It will squander both our unity and the advantage of having a strong GOP candidate this summer while the DFLers beat on each other in their own primary.
*There is no clamor among Republicans on the ground for Pawlenty (or anyone else) to enter this race. Anything to the contrary comes from people who don’t have much contact with actual rank-and-file Republicans.
*Money alone will not win this election in a primary or in November. Recent history from Minnesota and nationally is filled with Republicans who had piles of money and lost. This race will be won on grassroots passion and an agenda of true fundamental reform.
*The 2016 presidential election showed us the blueprint for winning. There are millions of hardworking Minnesotans who will vote for an aggressive reform agenda that fundamentally changes the way our system works and gives them a voice. Having a candidate who can prove they will do that is critical to winning. I can and I will.
We have the first realistic opportunity in modern times for Republicans to simultaneously control the Minnesota House, Senate and Governor’s Office. I’m hopeful no one damages that opportunity by forcing a contentious and expensive primary. If someone does, however, and I’m your endorsed candidate, I want you to know that I will fight very aggressively to defend that endorsement and win.
I'm unbelievably grateful for the support Minnesota Republicans have shown so far in this race - I’m confident that together we can give the government of Minnesota back to the people of Minnesota!