News & Features

Tim Pawlenty
Born: 1960
Personal: Married to Mary, two children (Anna, Mara). Protestant.
Occupation: Attorney. House Majority Leader, Minnesota.
Education: South St. Paul High School. BA Political science from University of Minnesota. Law degree from University of Minnesota.
Political background: Served on Eagan City Council, Elected to Minn. House, 1992. Elected Majority Leader, 1999.

Audio on the Issues (RealAudio) •Pawlenty's speech at a GOP rally Listen.(10/30/02)

•After winning the GOP endorsement, Pawlenty appeared on MPR's Midday. Listen.

•Pawlenty appeared on MPR's Midday series, Meet the Candidate on May 29, 2002. Listen.

Midday interview. (3/4/02)

Listen to campaign announcement (9/5/01)

Final gubernatorial debate
All four major party candidates appeared on TPT's Almanac Read . (11/2/02)

Governor - General debate
Moe, Pawlenty, Penny and Pentel appeared on MPR's Midday for a general debate of issues in the race. Listen (10/14/02)

Governor - Higher Education Three of four major party candidates discuss their plans for higher education, including the premise that budget woes will cause cuts. Listen (10/09/02)

See an extensive archive of political debate audio from the campaign of 2002.


Tim Pawlenty (GOP)



Tim Pawlenty's job as Minnesota House majority leader already makes him a big player at the Capitol _ but not big enough. The witty Eagan attorney with blue-collar roots wants to be governor and thinks he'd have an edge on Gov. Jesse Ventura and Roger Moe, a staunch Democrat who has served in the Legislature for about three decades.

I've got enough experience to know what's going on, but not so much as to make me entrenched," says Pawlenty, who was first elected to the House in 1992 and has served as majority leader since Republicans won control in 1999.

He says he offers a sense of boldness and freshness "without all that goofiness." Pawlenty's plans were rerouted twice last year _ once by state party leaders who asked him to run for U.S. Senate rather than governor and again by Vice President Dick Cheney, who persuaded him to cede the Senate race to then-St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman.

"In hindsight, it may have been the best thing for me," Pawlenty said. "I believe things happen for a reason."

From South St. Paul, Pawlenty was the youngest of five children and the lone Republican in a liberal family. His father was a truck driver and Teamsters member and his mother a homemaker who died of cancer when he was 16. His father lost his job a few years later. His experiences help him relate to many types of folks, he says.

The trim, 41-year-old father of two knows when to dress up and when to wear jeans and cowboy boots _ and he seems equally comfortable in both. Practicality led the youngest Pawlenty family member to the GOP; he needed a job and saw in the newspaper that Republican U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger was hiring interns. He was hired and Durenberger, also from South St. Paul, took a personal interest in the teen-ager. He later was elected to the Eagan Planning Commission and the Eagan City Council before running for a state House seat. Forming public policy and the debate that goes with it is what keeps him coming back. He takes himself seriously, but not too seriously, laughing when colleagues throw a jab his way and always responding with a good-natured comeback.


This isn't Timothy Pawlenty's first involvement with a gubernatorial campaign. He was an adviser to businessman John Grunseth who ran for governor in 1990 but dropped out just weeks before the election. At the time he was a member of the Eagan city council to which he was elected in 1989.

His state political career got off the ground in 1992 when he won a suburban legislative seat with 49 percent of the vote. He was re-elected five times and ascended to the post of House majority leader when Republicans took control in 1998. That year he briefly toyed with a run for governor, but didn't follow through. To get the Republican nomination, he beat a better-financed challenger in the endorsement stage and trounced a token opponent in the primary.

Campaign News

Tim Pawlenty and Gov. VenturaPawlenty sets stage for Capitol revolution
Nov. 6 -- Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Pawlenty met with reporters and talked with outgoing Gov. Jesse Ventura about making the transition into office on Wednesday. Pawlenty says the election means Republican ideals will have a much smoother time at the Capitol than in the past. (More)

GOP boss Ron EibensteinerHow did it happen? What does it mean?
Nov. 6 -- Minnesota Republicans are ecstatic, and Democrats are reeling from the near-Republican sweep of the general election. Republicans won races for U.S. Senate, governor, two closely-watched suburban congressional seats, and all but one constitutional office. Political observers say the reasons range from the messages of the campaigns to reaction to the memorial service for the late Sen. Paul Wellstone. (More)

Tim PawlentyPawlenty wins governor's race
Nov. 6 -- For the first time in 12 years, a Minnesota governor will have support from at least one legislative house. Riding the wave of support in the population-rich suburbs of the Twin Cities, Republican Tim Pawlenty appeared headed for the governor's office in Tuesday's elections. (More)

Tim Pawlenty Pawlenty's path
Sep. 13 - Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Pawlenty's road to the governor's race has taken a few twists and turns. Pawlenty, the House majority leader, considered running for the U.S. Senate this year, before a call from the White House changed his mind - and he set his sights on the governor's office. ( More)

Gubernatorial Campaign Stories

How did it happen? What does it mean? (11/6/02)
Pawlenty sets stage for Capitol revolution (11/6/02)
Pawlenty wins governor's race (11/6/02)
Conflicting polls add to campaign confusion (11/3/02)
Last debate targets Pawlenty (11/2/02)
Candidates for governor sharpen rhetoric (10/31/02)
With time running out, gubernatorial candidates pick up pace (10/30/02)
Pentel's water tax (10/23/02)
Gubernatorial candidates stick to their scripts in KSTP debate (10/22/02)
Candidates in broad disagreement on transportation (10/14/02)
Pawlenty accepts campaign finance fine (10/11/02)
Higher ed debate frames candidate differences in race for governor (10/9/02)
Gubernatorial issue: Stadium (10/8/02)
TV spots on the increase (10/2/02)
With state short of cash, candidates short of solutions (9/30/02)
Candidates for governor talk transit in St. Cloud debate (9/24/02)
The high-tech debate (9/19/02)
Poll: Governor's race is three-way tie (9/17/02)
Penny wants new revenue forecast (9/23/02)
Gubernatorial candidates debate health care (9/20/02)
Poll: Governor's race is three-way tie (9/17/02)
Serious about issues: Pentel profile (9/17/02)
Profile: Roger Moe (9/12/02)
Pawlenty's path: Profile
Tone changing in race for governor (9/13/02)
Frontrunner? Tim Penny profile (9/12/02)
Clear sailing for gubernatorial candidates (9/11/02)
Candidates gang up on Penny (8/30/02)
Pawlenty leads money race (8/27/02)
Candidates debate wildlife issues, gun control (8/17/02)
Business issues focus of debate (8/13/02)
Cheney stumps for Pawlenty (8/12/02)
Candidates for governor debate agriculture policy (8/7/02)
Gubernatorial candidates hold first televised debate (8/1/02)
Senate ad spending worries gubernatorial candidates (7/25/02)
Penny, Moore endorsed by Independence Party (7/14/02)
Jax out of race for governor (7/11/02)
Penny names running mate; Republicans defect to IP(7/9/02)
Penny's position on abortion is already an issue (6/28/02)
Penny joins race for governor (6/27/02)
Duluth debate focuses on rural issues in gubernatorial race (6/25/02)
Who'll get the youth vote? (6/21/02)
'Jesse's people' may return to election sidelines (6/20/02)
Issues dominate in first three-way debate of gubernatorial candidates (6/20/02)
Independence Party scrambles for a candidate for governor (6/19/02)
The Ventura chronicles (6/18/02)
Ventura declines run at second term (6/18/02)
Gubernatorial candidates aren't waiting for Ventura (6/17/02)
Pawlenty wins endorsement in marathon (6/15/02)
GOP gubernatorial candidates in final debate (6/11/02)
GOP gubernatorial race: The money chase (6/6/02)
Pentel, McGaa get major Green Party endorsements (5/20/02)
A role switch: DFL united, GOP fighting (5/6/02)
Moe wins DFL Party endorsement; GOP says he's easy to beat. (5/4/02)
Wellstone, Hatch, Humphrey endorsed at DFL convention. (5/3/02)
DFLers in final debate before convention (5/2/02)
Profile: Judi Dutcher (4/30/02)
Profile: Becky Lourey (4/30/02)
Profile: Roger Moe (4/30/02)
Sullivan, Pawlenty debate environmental issues (4/30/02)
Sullivan names running mate (4/26/02)
Pentel announces candidacy for governor (4/19/02)
Major gubernatorial candidates debate; Greens shut out (4/18/2002)
Ventura: Waiting for a better offer? (4/10/2002)
Sullivan wins GOP straw poll (3/6/02)
Gubernatorial candidates hold first debate (3/1/02)
Moe launches campaign for governor (2/24/02)
Candidates step up attacks on Ventura (2/13/02)
The money chase (1/31/02)
Unicameral issue may be key to Ventura's political future (1/15/02)
Bridging the gender gap in governor's office (12/27/01)
Lourey announces bid for governor (11/15/01)
Pawlenty announces gubernatorial drive (9/5/01)