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Pawlenty reactions vary

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ST. PAUL -- Reactions to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's announcement that he will not seek a third term included:

"We've had plenty of Pawlenty."

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Eliot Seide, director of AFSCME Council 5

"The governor has been a shining light for fiscal responsibility and common-sense government .":

House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, potential governor candidate

"While his announcement today indicates he is making new choices for his future, the unallotment decisions he will be making in the coming weeks will have much larger implications for the future of our state."

House Majority leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm

"This has been a difficult time filled with difficult decisions. Even though we do not see eye to eye on the direction he wants to take Minnesota, I remain committed to finding common sense solutions that will stabilize our economy, make Minnesota a leader once again in education, job creation and health care and get us back on the path to prosperity."

House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, potential governor candidate

"He has also forced the political establishment in Minnesota to face our state's very serious challenges -- a bloated state budget, high taxes that are destroying jobs and education and health care systems that, if they are to remain the envy of the nation, are badly in need of reform."

State Rep. Laura Brod, R-New Prague, potential governor candidate

"Minnesota is fortunate to have had Gov. Pawlenty's strong leadership and innovative approach to tackling many issues facing our state."

U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn.

"From a truck driver's son to city council member to legislative leader, Tim has been a human face and strong advocate for Minnesota's many opportunities and resources. As governor, he has boldly led Minnesota in challenging times, both politically and economically."

State Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester

"This race has never been about whether Gov. Pawlenty is running or not -- it's about what's best for the future of Minnesota and I look forward to bringing that message to every corner of the state."

State Rep. Paul Thissen, DFL governor candidate

"Gov. Pawlenty will be remembered as one of the most successful governors in the history of our state. He tackled government bureaucracy, reigned in state spending and held the line on taxes."

State Republican Chairman Ron Carey

"I thank the governor and his family for their public service, but I'm not surprised that he has decided to not seek a third time. He seemed strangely disengaged during most of the legislative session and his recent decision to walk away from negotiations and pursue a 'go it alone' strategy on budget cuts fits the profile of someone with national ambitions."

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark, potential DFL governor candidate

"Today's news that Gov. Pawlenty will not seek re-election presents an incredible opportunity to create a new future for Minnesota -- an opportunity unencumbered by the Pawlenty-led politics of avoidance. Minnesotans can now make a fresh start with new players and a clean slate."

DFL governor candidate and Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner

"The guy has painted himself into a corner with his arrogant refusal to resolve the state's budget crisis fairly. Since he took office he has given us an unemployment rate over 8 percent with a real unemployment rate closer to 15 percent, a 32 to 40 percent increase in property taxes and he's taken health care away from 60,000 to 70,000 additional working Minnesotans."

Ray Waldron, Minnesota AFL-CIO president

"I served with Tim Pawlenty in the Minnesota state legislature for eight years and worked with him as governor for four years. While we had principled disagreements on policy, this is a day to recognize that he and his family have made substantial sacrifices for public service."

Former state Rep. Matt Entezna, a DFL governor candidate

"He has been the taxpayers' champion, and effectively used his veto pen to slow down wasteful government spending. I am hopeful that he will continue to be a voice for fiscal responsibility and effective government."

Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman

"Gov. Pawlenty's 'no new taxes' ideology plays well to Republican special interests and the dinner circuits from Iowa to New Hampshire, but it has hurt Minnesota and Minnesotans."

State DFL Chairman Brian Melendez

"The decision to avoid a potentially difficult re-election bid next year will almost certainly be seen as the first step in a possible presidential run in 2012."

CNN

"Pawlenty has also been an outspoken advocate for a new approach for the GOP. He has repeatedly spoken of appealing to what he calls Sam's Club voters, independents more focused on pocketbook issues than on divisive social issues."

The Hill

"That decision signals that Mr. Pawlenty is strongly considering seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2012."

New York Times

"Given the difficult state of the economy -- both nationally and in Minnesota -- as well as Pawlenty's near-death political experience in 2006, running for a third term was a precarious endeavor."

The Washington Post

Don Davis works for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Bemidji Pioneer.

ddavis@forumcomm.com

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