Education Minnesota will interview candidates for governor May 19 to consider endorsement, according to two DFL sources.
This would allow for the possibility that the teachers union will issue an endorsement before the June 1 DFL convention. Education Minnesota is the state’s biggest union, and its support in the days leading up to the convention — during which labor will play a big role — would be an enormous lift to its recipient.
The campaign manager for Rep. Erin Murphy was previously the political action coordinator for the teachers. But U.S. Rep. Tim Walz is a longtime teacher (and member) and has money and a caucus straw poll victory on his résumé. State Auditor Rebecca Otto has set herself up as the progressive alternative to Walz.
If the union picks the winner, the endorsement recipient will remember — and constantly be reminded by the union — the momentum he or she received going into the convention. But not endorsing until after the convention or primary prevents picking the wrong horse and suffering the consequences.
You meet the darndest people
A fun Minnesota thing happened when U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis wound up sitting next to the wife of one of his DFL challengers, the 2016 nominee Angie Craig, on an airplane last week. Lewis tweeted: “Of all the people I sit next to on today’s flight, why it’s none other than @AngieCraigMN’s wife! Now what are the chances? Then again, what are the chances she’d say she’s voting for me.”
Pawlenty ramps up the rhetoric
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty officially registered a campaign committee with a state campaign board last week as required by law because he’s been raising money for a potential third term. He also sent out a tough e-mail to supporters in a bid for the conservative wing of the GOP, castigating the “paralyzing reins of liberalism.”
“State taxes are out of control despite our budget surplus. Massive regulations suffocate businesses and energy. Respect for the constitutional rule of law is under siege. Police and iron miners are treated with utter disrespect,” Pawlenty wrote in the e-mail.
It’s a dour view of Minnesota’s current fortunes, but after two terms of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, Pawlenty is relying on the fact that voters often look for change after two terms. Pawlenty, who relinquished the governor’s office to Dayton, ought to know.