Political Notebook

Despite lobbying by GOP, Pawlenty rejects Senate run

Associated Press / August 18, 2011

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ST. PAUL - Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty yesterday definitively ruled out a 2012 campaign for the US Senate after ending his bid for the White House a few days ago.

Some Republicans, including state GOP chairman Tony Sutton, were hoping Pawlenty would get right back into the ring and take on the freshman Democratic senator, Amy Klobuchar, next year.

“I don’t know what I will be doing next,’’ Pawlenty said. “However, I will not be running against Amy in 2012.’’

While still a presidential candidate last week, Pawlenty told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis he didn’t have interest in the Klobuchar race. But Republicans saw a renewed chance to recruit him after he left the presidential race Sunday.

Pawlenty, 50, ended his campaign after finishing third in an Iowa Republican straw poll. He had spent many months and millions building his campaign following two terms as Minnesota governor.

Republican leaders are trying to build a field of possible rivals to Klobuchar, who has strong public approval ratings and more than $3 million stocked up so far.

Former state representative Dan Severson is the only Republican to step forward. He was the party’s unsuccessful nominee for secretary of state in 2010.

Sutton said Monday he planned to give Pawlenty time to decompress before making his Senate pitch.

“I think he’d be a heck of a candidate for US Senate,’’ Sutton said.

Even though Pawlenty notched two statewide wins, he never captured a majority of the Minnesota vote because of strong third-party candidates. Had he jumped into the Senate race, he was facing the prospect of a head-to-head contest with Klobuchar in a state where Democrats haven’t lost a statewide race since 2006.

— Associated Press

White House visitors’ log not exempt from review WASHINGTON - A federal judge ruled against the Secret Service yesterday, saying records of visitors to the White House are subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.

The Secret Service had argued that the visitors’ logs were presidential records exempt from public disclosure. US District Judge Beryl Howell disagreed.

Howell sided with government watchdog group Judicial Watch, which had sued for records from the first eight months of the Obama administration. Howell said the Secret Service must disclose the records, except individual entries that fall under such exemptions as national security.

In September 2009, President Obama began voluntarily releasing the names of people who visit the executive complex, reversing a longstanding policy that transcended both Democratic and Republican presidents. The lawsuit covered the records before the policy change.

— Associated Press