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By Don Davis, State Capitol Bureau, Published June 14 2010

Political analyst writes book about Pawlenty

ST. PAUL – Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty must be a serious presidential candidate: The first book about him is out.

“Governor Tim Pawlenty: The Sam’s Club Republican” is for sale online at Amazon.com. The $9.95 book written by a man who bills himself as a New Hampshire political analyst is 100 pages long, and a news release about it says it tells “the story of Pawlenty’s humble beginnings in South St. Paul, his action-packed political campaigns and his accomplished tenures in the Minnesota House and governor’s office.”

Author J.A. McClure analyzes Pawlenty’s prospect for a “national career,” the news release says.

The governor is traveling the country in support of other Republicans and building his own reputation. While he refuses to say whether he is running for president, political observers say all signs point to that.

Pawlenty said he knew nothing about the book until he heard about it from the press.

Several others have contacted him about writing books, he added, but he only accepted one offer. That book is due out next year, a year before the next presidential election.

Reporters and Pawlenty know little about McClure. A telephone number on his news release rings into a restaurant.

Dome to get fixed

The state is spending $4 million to repair the Capitol dome.

Marble domes are not good at keeping out water, so architect Cass Gilbert designed the Minnesota Capitol more than 100 years ago with three domes. Besides the most famous outer, marble one, there is an unseen middle dome that catches water that gets past the marble and drains it away. An interior dome provides the fancy decorations Capitol visitors see from the rotunda.

All domes and other areas nearby are getting fixed. Key to the repair is working on the marble dome so less water seeps through, as well as replacing the membrane on the middle dome to better drain water.

Money for the work comes from the 2008 public works finance bill, which is funded by the state selling bonds.

Board rejects probe

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board will not investigate a complaint against Independence Party governor candidate Tom Horner.

In a letter to Republican Party officials, who asked for the investigation, board Executive Director Gary Goldsmith says the complaint falls outside of his agency’s jurisdiction. He referred the GOP to the state Office of Administrative Hearings.

GOP officials said they will take Goldsmith’s advice and pursue their complaint in the new venue.

Republicans complained that Horner received what amounted to an illegal corporate donation when his campaign received results of a poll conducted by a friend and supporter. Horner’s campaign did not pay for the poll.

Bill Morris, whose company conducted the poll, said that Horner did not receive results until he turned them over to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

‘Remember rural areas’

Congress has passed health care reform legislation, but rural senators now are asking that rural areas be included in ongoing decisions.

“Rural Minnesota faces many obstacles when it comes to providing quality health care,” said Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. “Shortages of doctors and nurses as well as long distances between providers create distinct obstacles for rural communities. Giving a voice to individuals with firsthand knowledge of how to overcome these problems needs to be a priority when executing health reform.”

He, fellow Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and 30 other senators sent a letter to Obama administration officials pointing out the need to include rural residents on boards that will make health care decisions and recommendations.

Mark Schoenbaum, director of the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care at Minnesota Department of Health, said that the type of people who live in rural areas and distances they must travel make their needs different than their urban cousins.

Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.