Tim Pawlenty seems to be focusing a lot of his attacks on Tim Walz – and vice-versa

He still has a GOP primary to win – and Walz is no shoo-in for the Democratic nomination.
Publish date:

There has been a recurring theme in recent missives from gubernatorial candidate Tim Pawlenty: a particular focus on Democrat Tim Walz.

On multiple occasions in recent weeks, Pawlenty has targeted his emails and tweets at the DFL gubernatorial candidate.

He's hit Walz over daycare fraud, veterans votes, the ICE protests on the Blue Line, and a claim that Walz had answered in a questionnaire that he wanted to make Minnesota a "sanctuary state."

This might be expected in September, but we're currently in May and both Tims are by no means shoo-ins for their respective party nominations for the November election.

Pawlenty is facing a stiff challenge for the Republican ticket from former gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson at August's primaries.

Today's Top Stories

– Water thrown at Tomi Lahren during Minneapolis brunch.

– Target says sales were hit by the late winter.

– NEW: Follow Bring Me The News on Flipboard.

Yet Pawlenty has said little of his Republican opponent, who is the favorite to get the GOP endorsement at next month's convention, which Pawlenty has decided to skip due to his late entry to race.

Johnson on the other hand has targeted Pawlenty several times since the former governor confirmed he's running again – even getting an endorsement from Pawlenty's former Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau, as well as arguing a Pawlenty candidacy would be damaging for the GOP in the video below.

It could be argued Pawlenty is making a calculating move by choosing now to hit Walz – a politician who has long straddled the Democrat/Republican divide in the politically diverse 1st District – at a time when he's trying to attract progressive voters.

If he leaves it until after Walz gets the nomination (if he wins), then Walz will be able to strike a more moderate tone as he reaches across the aisle to potential Republican swing voters.

This point was made by John Gilmore in the right-leaning Alpha News MN, but he noted that while the move could be a shrewd one, it could be viewed as presumptuous too.

It could also be a risk, given that in focusing his attacks on Walz, he's ignoring a more immediate threat to his gubernatorial aspirations in Johnson.

But Democrats think they'll be facing Pawlenty

On the Democratic side, Walz's nomination is not guaranteed despite him being arguably the favorite, after he won a straw poll of gubernatorial candidates at the February precinct caucuses.

He's facing challenges from more progressive candidates, State Auditor Rebecca Otto and State Rep. Erin Murphy, who have been picking up numerous endorsements in a year in which blue voters are expected to shift left.

The three front-running DFL candidates haven't been targeting each other in their public pronouncements, with their recent statements tending to be more ideologically- and- policy-themed.

But that's not to say the Democrats aren't following a similar trend to Pawlenty, as they have identified him, and not Johnson, as the Republican threat this November – much in the way Pawlenty has seemingly identified Walz as his likely DFL opponent.

In an announcement in which she said she would abide by the DFL endorsement, Murphy stated that a unified party is "critical to defeating Tim Pawlenty and winning in November."

Walz meanwhile targeted Pawlenty in a series of tweets last Wednesday.

Shrewd move too? Or are Minnesota's Democratic candidates at risk of making the same presumption as Pawlenty?

Next Up

Bob Kroll

What Minneapolis Police Lt. Bob Kroll said in Sunday radio interview

Kroll said that once he's retired he'll go "radio silent."

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID update for Sunday, January 17

The health department provides updates daily at 11 a.m.

Sen. Julia Coleman

'No one's business': State senator calls out attack on her pregnancy

Sen. Julia Coleman represents Minnesota's District 47.

Willmar Police Department

'Errant bullet' goes through garage wall, kills Willmar man

The man was working in his garage when he was shot, witnesses said.

Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 10.59.00 PM

Wild tie Kings with 2 seconds left, win in overtime

Another incredible finish for the Wild.

Screen Shot 2021-01-16 at 6.53.17 PM

Mike Lindell's MyPillow offering discounts using the code 'Qanon'

The Shakopee-based company is under the microscope because of the recent actions of its owner.

Surly Brewing

Facing aluminum can shortage, Surly unveils solution: 'Cantyhose'

The brewery came up with a creative way to repurpose unused cans.

Liam Robbins

Gophers stay perfect at home by crushing 7th-ranked Michigan

Liam Robbins and Marcus Carr were too much for the previously undefeated Wolverines.

police lights

Four teens arrested over robberies in Minneapolis

They teens were found in a vehicle that was taken during an earlier carjacking.

Boundary Waters/BWCA

All BWCA visitors will now have to watch three 'Leave No Trace' videos

Visitors left an "unacceptably high amount" of damage last year.


Tim Pawlenty won't seek endorsement at GOP convention

He'll focus his efforts on the Republican primary, he confirmed.

Tim Pawlenty has already raised $1M for his governor run

His fundraising far outstrips his GOP rivals.

In first TV ad, Tim Pawlenty goes after Jeff Johnson

His focus is not on Democrats, but his GOP primary opponent.

Tim Pawlenty well ahead of rivals in election fundraising stakes

The GOP candidate had almost $1.3 million on hand at the end of May.

Tim Walz sworn in as Minnesota's new governor

Outgoing Gov. Mark Dayton said a short, grateful farewell to office.

Polling for Minnesota governor has Pawlenty, Swanson ahead

But Swanson only has a slender advantage over Tim Walz.