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Pawlenty willing to help Hoeven

ST. PAUL--The Minnesota and North Dakota governors waged a bit of a war in 2003 and 2004 over hunting laws, but now Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he is willing to help North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven hunt for votes as he runs for the U.S. Senate.

"I'd do anything for him," Pawlenty said Monday when asked about Hoeven's run for Washington. "I really like him, respect him admire him. He is the kind of leader our country needs in Washington, D.C. Certainly, I would help him."

Pawlenty gave Hoeven an "A-plus-plus" grade.

The two Republican governors have not always agreed on everything. For instance, not long after Pawlenty took office in 2003, North Dakota changed laws and rules to increase hunting fees on nonresidents and place more restrictions on them. Pawlenty criticized the moves and even after a Grand Forks, N.D., summit did not agree on a solution, although the issue quietly disappeared in the ensuing months.

Pawlenty already is traveling the country campaigning and raising money for GOP candidates as part of his Freedom First Political Action Committee. Most political observers think Pawlenty really is laying the groundwork for a 2012 presidential race.

Since early summer, Pawlenty has been to 17 states, and made several trips to Washington D.C., as recently as last weekend.

Pawlenty said he has "an incredible amount of respect" for Hoeven.

"I think Gov. Hoeven would be an outstanding United States senator," Pawlenty said. "He is an outstanding governor."

Davis is employed by Forum Communications Co. which owns the Daily Globe.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.