Governor Tim Pawlenty though he barely won re-election, less than 1% or 20,000 votes, was clearly in the driver's seat at the end of this session. Remarkable considering Republicans barely had enough legislators to uphold his vetoes. Because they stuck together (House Republican members upheld everyone of his vetoes), Pawlenty had incredible leverage over the DFL legislature. In fact, because DFLers were so desperate to not have a special session and be viewed as obstructionist, they bent over backwards to accommodate Pawlenty's objections to provisions in the omnibus bills. I have the image of cargo on a ship being frantically thrown overboard to accommodate Pawlenty's demands.
By hanging tough on his no tax increases he impacted policy decisions. There wasn't enough money to start new government programs. I was a bit surprised by how much he was able to clean up in terms of bad policy provisions in these bills.
The governor of Minnesota has a lot of power to get or stop what he or she wants. Much more so than the President of the United States with the U.S. Congress. Smaller pond but bigger fish is the dynamic of the governor to our state legislature.
Some of our major concerns were blocked because Pawlenty hung tough.