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Don Davis and Janell Cole, Published April 27 2009

Pawlenty’s site hints at another run for governor

Tim Pawlenty’s campaign Web site is undergoing an update, fueling speculation that he may seek a third term as Minnesota’s governor.

The two-term Republican governor has not said whether he plans to run again, but it might appear that way after rolling out his new Web site, www.timpawlenty.com.

A Pawlenty video welcomes people and a form next to the video asks visitors to “join the team.” It also features a campaign contribution button.

The site is to continue its overhaul over the next few weeks. The campaign also makes use of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Pawlenty has used his campaign to push some of his priorities between elections.

At least a dozen Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party members say they are thinking about running, or observers think are considering getting into the 2010 race.

Former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton is running. One of the best-known people rumored to be running is House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher.

ND Dems on lists

North Dakota’s Democratic-NPL senators landed on several Republicans’ lists last week when Washington, D.C., publication The Hill asked GOP senators which colleagues they consider the “most bipartisan” Democrats.

“Kent Conrad comes to mind right away,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. “He’s a good guy, he sticks to his guns but he also listens to the other side.”

Georgia’s other senator, Saxby Chambliss, agreed: “The ones I work with the most – Kent Conrad, Blanche Lincoln, Mark Pryor, Ben Nelson. They’re reasonable and fair-minded.”

Sen. Judd Greg, R-N.H., who serves with Conrad as ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, said, “Kent Conrad, with whom I’ve done a lot of things with.”

Sen. Bob Bennet, R-Utah, said, “In my committee assignments, I get along very well with Byron Dorgan and Chris Dodd.”

‘Everybody’s drinking’

Much of the Minnesota legislative talk the last few days has been about “sin tax” increases the House DFL plan seeks.

Those are the higher taxes proposed for alcohol and tobacco products.

Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, doesn’t see a problem with alcohol, or why drinking it should be called a sin: “Everybody’s drinking wine all over the Bible,” he said.

Dorgan ‘safe’

A CQ Politics analysis last week said Republicans face “long odds” in trying to gain back seats in the U.S. Senate next year, noting that the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s fundraising appeals are seeking money with the pitch that the party needs to prevent further losses to Democrats in 2010.

In CQ’s rating of next year’s Senate races, Dorgan is among nine Democrats labeled as “safe.” CQ does mention the assumption that Republicans “are sure to make a recruiting pitch to popular Republican Gov. John Hoeven” to challenge Dorgan.

The possible Dorgan-Hoeven matchup also came up in a wide-ranging online discussion hosted by Washington Post political blogger Ben Pershing last week. Someone writing from Fairfax, Va., wrote, “Any word if John Hoeven will run for the North Dakota Senate seat in 2010?”

Pershing’s response was that Hoeven is the only candidate who could make it competitive. Pershing then cites a February poll that showed “Dorgan beating Hoeven by more than 20 points in a hypothetical matchup.”

Davis and Cole work for Forum Communications Co., which owns The Forum. Davis can be reached at (651) 290-0707 and Cole can be reached at (701) 224-0830