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Coleman won't run for governor

Former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman (R) has decided against a run for governor this year, robbing Republicans of their best known -- and most controversial -- potential nominee.

"The timing on this race is both a bit too soon and a bit too late," Coleman said in a statement posted on his Facebook page on Sunday night. "It is too soon after my last race and too late to do a proper job of seeking the support of delegates who will decide in which direction our party should go."

The decision surprised some Coleman insiders who saw his increased level visibility in recent weeks as evidence that he was moving toward -- rather than away from -- a bid.

Without Coleman in the race, the open seat contest to replace retiring Gov. Tim Pawlenty , who is pursuing a run for the Republican presidential nomination, will be a far more low-key affair without any of the national attention that a candidacy by the controversial Coleman would have caused.

Coleman, a former Democrat, is an incredibly divisive figure both in Minnesota and nationally thanks in large part to his extended appeal of his 2008 loss at the hands of Sen. Al Franken (D) -- a process that dragged on for more than six months after election day.

While Coleman is out of the political game for 2010, it's hard to imagine that he has run his last race. At 60 years old, Coleman has the luxury of waiting a few election cycles to repair his image from the bruising 2008 race before wading back into the political game.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) will be up for re-election in 2012 but she is a formidable candidate who would give any Republican -- including Coleman -- pause. The more likely race for Coleman is a 2014 rematch against Franken, which would be, without question, a classic of the genre.`

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 18, 2010; 10:59 AM ET
Categories:  Governors  
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As somewhat of a political junkie, I think I'd rather see a former entertainer or athlete (a la Ventura or Page) running for MN state-wide office.

Betcha St. Paul native and Harvard boy Matt Birk (ex-Viking) would make a good Rep. when his contract with the Ravens is up.

Posted by: mnteng | January 18, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Let's put our own political views aside...Norm Coleman has never been a very popular political figure in Minnesota. One of the posters noted that Coleman is one-for-three in his state wide races...and who thinks that he would have won in 2002 if Paul Wellstone hadn't died right before the election? Not to worry about the former Senator...I'm sure he'll find some cozy corporate sinecure by which he can collect a lot of dough over the next few years...ala Giuliani in NY.

Posted by: taylorb1 | January 18, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"Wouldn't have been "too soon" if he'd just manned up and accepted his defeat last fall."

Give us a break! Franken did not even have a lead till after the recounts and only a razor slim margin. And who really trusts that the recount process was not flawed?

Posted by: AnotherContrarian | January 18, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Make that "fall 2008." Oops.

Posted by: mattintx | January 18, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't have been "too soon" if he'd just manned up and accepted his defeat last fall.

Posted by: mattintx | January 18, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I'm not surprised. Coleman is 1 for 3 in statewide races, with the one victory coming after his opponent's death by plane crash two weeks prior to the vote. If former Senator Coleman's legacy is anything it should be: you'll remember every election in which I participated for a long time. To review:

1998 - loss of governorship to Jesse Ventura (I)
2002 - Victory against Walter Mondale (D), a last-minute stand-in for Paul Wellstone
2008 - Loss to Al Franken after interminable recount

I guess from that perspective, the political junkies should encourage Coleman to rethink his decision.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 18, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

So, CC thinks Coleman may run again in 2014 against Franken to become a freshman Senator again at age 64 or 65. Maybe .... but that assumes that: a) Franken won't become as formidable as Klobuchar; and b) no other MN R emerges as a serious contender.

I think Coleman has run his last race, unless he wants to try to get elected for a term as a MN Supreme Court Justice.

Posted by: mnteng | January 18, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Chris,

You shouldn't tantalise us with these political junkie--fantasies! You'll have us all sitting on the edge of our seats until 2012, waiting for a rematch.

I'm salivating already. God, US politics is SO fascinating! Who could be uninterested in politics, if nothing other than as a superior form of 'soap opera', it's got 'East Enders' beat by a mile.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | January 18, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

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