Pawlenty in, Daniels out and other presidential campaign news

After a slow start, the Republican presidential campaign is ratcheting up in Iowa. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty formally announced his candidacy in Des Moines today. Over the weekend former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain made his campaign official too.

Arguably the biggest news of the past few days was Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels ruling out a campaign. Many Republican insiders had hoped he would beef up the weak declared field against President Barack Obama.

Links, quotes, and analysis are after the jump.

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Year in review: Iowa politics in 2009 (part 1)

I expected 2009 to be a relatively quiet year in Iowa politics, but was I ever wrong.

The governor’s race heated up, state revenues melted down, key bills lived and died during the legislative session, and the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in Varnum v Brien became one of this state’s major events of the decade.

After the jump I’ve posted links to Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of Iowa politics from January through June 2009. Any comments about the year that passed are welcome in this thread.

Although I wrote a lot of posts last year, there were many important stories I didn’t manage to cover. I recommend reading Iowa Independent’s compilation of “Iowa’s most overlooked and under reported stories of 2009,” as well as that blog’s review of “stories that will continue to impact Iowa in 2010.”

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Another Iowa Republican passes on the governor's race

I just saw this on Charlotte Eby’s Twitter feed:

Chuck Larson tells me he’s not jumping into governor’s race. Cites his two young children as the reason.

Larson is an attorney from Cedar Rapids who was elected to the Iowa Senate in 2002. During his term he did a 12-month tour in Iraq as a military lawyer. Although Larson retired from the Iowa Senate in 2006, many people believed he harbored higher political ambitions, because he founded a pro-Iraq War group called Families United. In late 2007 President Bush named Larson U.S. ambassador to Latvia.

I respect people who put family considerations before career. That said, Larson’s statement is another sign that Republicans are not jumping at the chance to take on Governor Chet Culver. Having young children doesn’t often deter politicians from seeking office when a promising opportunity comes up, as it did for Terry Branstad in 1982 and Culver in 2006.  

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