© Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

Dayton takes aim at Pawlenty

"I'll stand by my record," says DFLer

April 13, 2018 - 6:50 am

Governor Dayton isn't running for another term, but he continues to criticize the man he replaced, who also wants to get the job back.

Former governor Tim Pawlenty announced last week that he'll run for a third term, and Dayton says the Republican is distorting his record during his time in office where he said he cleaned up a big mess that was left for him.

"You know, 3.2 percent unemployment, that's a fact," said Dayton on Thursday. "It was 6.9 percent when I took office. A $6.2 billion deficit, when I came in, that's a fact. Now it's a $329 million surplus."

When making his campaign announcement, Pawlenty pointed out what he called waste in the health care system during Dayton's two terms. Dayton said he stands behind the decisions he's made to put the state in good shape.

"I"ll stand by my record," Dayton said. "A balanced budget, almost 300,000 more people working than when I took office."

A spokesman for Pawlenty, who was governor for two terms from 2003 to 2011, tells the Star Tribune that Dayton's finger-pointing is just more divisive politics.

"Toxic politics are dividing us," Pawlenty said in a video he released last week to announce his candidacy. "I have the strength and the experience to solve problems and bring us together."

No one has ever been elected to a third four-year term as Minnesota governor. There is no state limit to the number of terms, or years, to serve in the governor's chair. Minnesota governors served two-year terms until 1958.