MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Speculation continues on when former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will enter the Minnesota governor’s race.
The nominating convention in Duluth is exactly two months from Sunday, and if Pawlenty enters the race at this late a date, he could bypass the convention and focus on an Aug. 14 primary.
Pawlenty’s last public statement on getting into the governor’s race came on March 19, when he announced on social media that he was forming a campaign committee and would make an announcement soon.
Meanwhile, the current front-runner, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, is expressing confidence that he will win the GOP nomination at the party’s convention in June.
So, if Pawlenty does get in, and he doesn’t win the nomination at the convention, he could force an August primary showdown.
That means Republicans would be fighting against themselves all summer.
“It’s quite possible that Jeff Johnson, who has been in the race and winning a lot of these delegates, could win that endorsement headed into the primary as the party’s endorsed candidate against Tim Pawlenty,” said professor Larry Jacob, of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. “Everything is up in the air.”
The Democratic race for governor may also not be decided the party’s Rochester convention in June but at the August primary.
There is precedent for that in 2010, when then candidate Mark Dayton bypassed the nominating convention and ran against the DFL nominee, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, in the primary.
Of course, Dayton won the primary and went on to win the governor’s race that November.