Included in names that have supposedly been on John McCain’s VP short list is, Minnesota Governor, Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty’s name is on the list because he is a young, arguably successful and popular Governor who share’s most of McCain’s key views. While Pawlenty’s name comes up nearly anytime a “short list” is comprised, I think his is one name no longer on the list that McCain keeps
McCain held a barbecue this weekend that many folks were seeing as a “get-to-know-you” for potential VP candidates. Notably missing from this gathering was Pawlenty. Reports were that Pawlenty had a family event and that was at least one reason he wasn’t invited. I think that’s just a convenient cover.
SurveyUSA has been doing a series of polls that will eventually cover 17 states. Each poll queries voters on their likelihood to vote for various combinations of McCain or Obama with 4 possible VP combinations for each. They’ve only completed 5 states but the results thus far aren’t good for Pawlenty. The results for Ohio, Virgina, California, Pennsylvania and New Mexico are in, and with only 1 exception, Pawlenty finishes last compared to the other three names polled. Perhaps the saddest part of this (for conservatives) is that Joe Lieberman is one of the VP names polled and he beat Pawlenty in 19 out of 20 combinations.
Another hit on Pawlenty is a recent Rasmussen Poll. This poll shows McCain trailing Obama by 15 points in Minnesota and confirms a poll done in April that showed a similar deficit. Some of the argument for Pawlenty being VP would be his ability to make Minnesota a competitive state and perhaps put it in the Republican category for the first time since 1972. If the Rasumessen poll is accurate, it’s unlikely that even Pawlenty as VP could close that large a gap.
It’s hard to say whether Pawlenty would really want a VP slot, opinions vary. If you get consistently beaten by Lieberman and deliver a winning margin only in New Mexico, it probably won’t matter if you want the job or not, you aren’t going to have it offered.