Editorial: Get ready for a long election cycle

Published 1:45 pm Thursday, June 4, 2009

Get ready for the governor’s race. It started Tuesday with Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s announcement that he would not seek a third term.

Many Democrats already have thrown their hats in the ring or are thinking about it: state Sens. Tom Bakk, Tarryl Clark and John Marty, former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton, former House Minority Leader Matt Entenza, Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, former state Sen. Steve Kelley, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and state Rep. Paul Thissen.

Several Republicans are looking at the seat in the wake of Pawlenty’s announcement: House Minority Leader Marty Seifert and former House Speaker Steve Sviggum are the most notable. There is also former state auditor Pat Anderson, former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams, state Sens. David Hann and Geoff Michel, state Reps. Paul Kohls and Morrie Lanning, and Charlie Weaver, Pawlenty’s former chief of staff and head of the Minnesota Business Partnership.

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And state Rep. Laura Brod, businessman and GOP activist Brian Sullivan and former U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad are possibilities.

The Independence Party doesn’t have candidates yet but it wouldn’t be Minnesota without a third-party contender.

So get ready for a race. It’s on. It’s going to be long. It will drag through parades community festivals, fairs, the holidays, TV commercials, debate forums, newspaper articles and newspaper endorsements. By next summer it will seem to have no end — till finally there is a primary in September 2010 to winnow the candidates to one for each party.

Then there is a two-month home stretch to reach the November election with a lead in the polls. Then, at last, we vote.

Even though the race will be a knock-down, drag-out marathon, let’s as voters do our best to elect a wise, honest and deserved leader. We know, that can be hard to find, but let’s do our best.