ROCHESTER, Minn. – Tim Pawlenty visited five Minnesota communities on Monday, including Rochester, starting off his campaign trail to be the next Minnesota governor.
He was joined by his running mate, current Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach.
This comes after Pawlenty and Fischbach chose to forego the convention over the weekend and not even try for the GOP endorsement. Instead, they’ll go right to the Primary on Aug. 14.
The former Minnesota governor said it was unrealistic to go to the convention after announcing Fischbach as his running mate at the end of May. He also noted the convention as being a closed system.
“I think it's really important to democratize that decision-making,” Pawlenty said, “and I think the primary represents an opening up of the system in a way that's going to invite in and allow more grass roots activists, and voters, and other people to weigh in on the choice.”
Pawlenty said he’s looking to the August primary, where he will face Jeff Johnson who won the GOP endorsement in the governor’s race.
The DFL Party endorsed Erin Murphy as their gubernatorial candidate. Despite not getting the Democratic party’s endorsement, U.S. Congressman Tim Walz is still in the race. Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson also jumped into the race for governor.
“Wacky” is just one word Pawlenty used to describe his DFL opponents in the race for governor.
“It's pretty clear that the Democrats believe that money grows on trees, that good-paying jobs aren't worth keeping in the state of Minnesota, that you can spend through the roof,” Pawlenty said.
Pawlenty went through his campaign visions including tax relief for Minnesotans. He said this would start with ending taxation on Social Security benefits. The former governor also mentioned cracking down on illegal immigration and revitalizing vocational and technical training as a part of higher education.