Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty is continuing to lay the groundwork for a bid for his old job, as evidenced by several developments last week. Pawlenty loyalist Bob Schroeder has been e-mailing lobbyists and former party officials and activists, asking them to add their names to a list of public supporters in the event of a Pawlenty candidacy.
And, an invitation to a fundraiser in Naples, Fla., leaked out, first reported by MPR. I asked Pawlenty at a speech he gave in Edina last week what message Minnesotans can take from the fundraiser in tony Naples.
“We are warming up the engine obviously, and we’re doing that mostly in Minnesota. But we have a lot of Minnesotans who spend some time elsewhere, so we’re hoping to get support from those Minnesotans,” he said. “That’s just the first thing that leaked into the press, but it could have easily been all the other stuff we’re doing in Minnesota.”
Meanwhile, a Republican operative offered a potential scenario for a GOP convention that includes Pawlenty: Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens, now mounting her own gubernatorial bid, as his running mate.
If she shows up at the state convention with 10 or 15 percent of the delegates — a strong possibility given her consultant Gregg Peppin’s traditional strengths as a party convention manager — and Pawlenty has 30 percent of the delegates, that would give them enough to block an endorsement of Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, which would be tantamount to a Pawlenty victory.
New DFL player
A big and evolving story out of the DFL Senate district conventions thus far is that Faith in Minnesota, a 501(c)(4) sister organization of Isaiah, is showing broad strength and getting delegates elected to the state convention.
Faith in Minnesota delegates are uncommitted in the governor’s race — giving them leverage at the state convention — and looking to push the party in a more progressive direction on a range of issues, primarily social and economic justice.
They also are organizing in areas you might not expect, including St. Cloud, Willmar and Northfield. In Kandiyohi County, they swept all eight delegates. Many will be immigrants and people of color. Isaiah’s Lars Negstad tells me they had 3,000 at precinct caucuses and are shooting for 130 to 150 at the state convention, which would be well more than 10 percent of the total delegates.