I finished the night off a Ray J's restaurant in Woodbury, where, as I entered, Tim Pawlenty was busily signing autographs amid a room of well-dressed and loudly chattering people. By the time I'd arrived, the AP and MPR had already called the race in Pawlenty's favor so I'd missed his speech; he didn't emerge from the autograph scrum until about ten minutes before he left. A press release was thrust into my hands by a campaign worker, which contained the same kind of words he was telling a pair of student journalists: he's going to pit his "agenda of government reform and accountability agaisnt Mike Hatch's desire to bring back the failed tax and spend policies of years past," the release said.
I asked his reaction to Sue Jeffers' opinion that he wasn't staying true to conservative values; his answer: "There are many people in Minnesota who think I'm too conservative." He thanked Sue for "bringing these issues"--presumably the Twins stadium, fees and taxes I'd mentioned--to his attention. Before he turned to leave, I put up my camera to take a snapshot. He suggested I get in the shot and, handing the camera to an aide, we ended up, naturally, framed in front of a red Pawlenty banner.