Aug 9, 2023 - Politics

Tim Pawlenty: Trump sets GOP up for "likely defeat" in 2024

Tim Pawlenty

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty stepped in as a guest host yesterday on the WCCO Radio show I appear on most Tuesdays. Instead of me answering the question, this time I asked him some.

Here's what Pawlenty, a former GOP presidential candidate himself, had to say about 2024:

On a Biden-Trump rematch in 2024: "I think the Republicans unfortunately are sadly setting themselves up again for a likely defeat if they don't find somebody different than Trump. And it doesn't look like they're going to."

  • Yes, but: Pawlenty thinks "it wouldn't take much to beat Biden if we had a more compelling candidate that was compelling to swing and independent voters."

On which current GOP 2024 hopefuls fit that mold: "Nikki Haley. Another one is Tim Scott. He's a very gifted person, [though not well known. If he can stay in the race and show well at the debates and otherwise, he could be a longshot candidate that might succeed [against Trump]."

On the Trump effect on Minnesota down-ballot races: "If the object of the exercise is to claw back, say 3 to 10% of the vote in suburban swing districts [to flip the Minnesota House], Trump isn't the person who's going to get that done for the Republican Party. So I think that bodes very poorly. It doesn't make it impossible for the Republicans to win the House but I think it puts a lot of weight in the trailer to try to drag up the hill."

On the potential perils of DFL Rep. Dean Phillips' flirtation with a Biden primary challenge: Pawlenty sees "no path" for a Democrat to defeat the incumbent president. Given that, he questioned the logic of Phillips' decision. "If you run against a sitting president and you tick off a whole bunch of people in your party for doing that, ultimately basically saying directly or implicitly, the incumbent is not the right person for the job ... I think that probably is a step back for him for what might be his future political ambitions here in Minnesota."

Go deeper with the full segment.


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