MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Tim Pawlenty is running for an unprecedented third term as governor– Eight years after leaving office the first time.
The Republican can do it because of Minnesota’s laws on term limits: There aren’t any.
Tim Pawlenty already has an official governor’s portrait hanging at the State Capitol, with two terms in office from 2003 to 2011.
Now, the former governor wants to add another line to his resume: governor… again.
“I want to finally put those in the middle, first,” Pawlenty said in his campaign announcement video.
Many of you asked us: Can he do that? Answer: yes.
Minnesota doesn’t have term limits. Governors can run for re-election as many times as they want, and there’s no law against a governor leaving office and coming back later to run again.”
Thirty-six states do limit how long governors can serve — 28 have limits on consecutive terms and eight have lifetime limits on the number of years.
Minnesota is one of only 14 states with no limits at all.
There’s only one Minnesota governor — Democrat Rudy Perpich — who did what Pawlenty is attempting. Perpich lost the election in 1978, then came back four years later.
California Democrat Jerry Brown is serving nonconsecutive terms, 28 years apart. Iowa Republican Governor Terry Branstad served 24 nonconsecutive years — the longest in U.S. history!
Pawlenty’s path won’t be easy. There’s a crowded GOP field,including the 2016 party nominee Jeff Johnson, and no Minnesota governor has ever been elected to three full terms.
If Pawlenty wins, he’s on pace to be the longest-serving governor in Minnesosta history.
He hasn’t said if he will seek the GOP endorsement or run against fellow party members in this summer’s primary. At least five other Republicans are vying for the job.