Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty is not going to run for a third term. I have to admit to being surprised at this. Even though there has been and continues to be speculation that T-Paw has national aspirations, I kinda thought he would try for a third term. As someone who thinks T-Paw has done a pretty good job as governor (most commenters on the Strib would disagree), I think whoever replaces him is going to have tough shoes to fill. He largely held the line on taxes (the "health impact fee" notwithstanding), and has managed to serve as an effective counter to the DFL-dominated legislature. Of course, critics say taxes did increase under his watch, and technically they are right. But, they seem to conveniently forget that he does not control local spending. If local governments can't hold the line, that's on them, not Pawlenty.
As for his chances on the national stage, I would say that he might do decently, but he does not have the national profile required to win the GOP nomination yet. I suppose having two years will give him that chance, though.
As for the 2010 gubernatorial election, this could become really interesting. I can't think of people on the GOP side who might win...yet. I have long believed that this state is returning to form, and now that T-Paw is not running, I have a feeling we may have the first DFL governor since Rudy Perpich. Then everything will be better, right Strib commenters?