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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

RUMOR: Tim Pawlenty and Dan McElroy

I've talked with a well placed source with knowledge of goings on at the capitol. Pawlenty was looking at two possible candidates to replace McElroy - Cal Ludeman and Sen. David Gaither. Cal Ludeman is "universally respected" and was the strong choice of most of Pawlenty's advisors, but Pawlenty went against their advice and chose Gaither. It's Pawlenty's perogative to chose his own staff, and this doesn't upset my source or others at the capitol. What has people upset is that McElroy had no inkling that he was about to be canned - and according to rumors - Pawlenty called McElroy into his office at 9:30 a.m. on September 15, 30 minutes prior to the press conference announcing the staffing changes, to tell Dan McElroy that he was out and David Gaither was in. Apparently David Gaither meanwhile was telling people he had the job before McElroy knew anything.

My source is infuriated about this because he or she feels this is not the way to treat a friend. Pawlenty and McElroy go way back in the legislature and McElroy is thought of as "one of the best minds at the Capitol in generations."

According to my source, Pawlenty's Office released the media advisory at 10:07 AM. Reporters who are on the Governor's Press list can verify this. This was a few minutes AFTER the conference was supposed to start. Press conferences and other meetings at the capitol rarely start on time, but typically media advisories are sent in advance of a press conference.

I'd be interested in hearing from more people at the capitol who can confirm some of this.