Saturday, April 12, 2008 By Aaron Brown
The bonding projects in question were all in Sertich's district. Confidential to John McCain: Pick Pawlenty as your VP candidate ... we need to get him out this state.
ST. PAUL — House Majority Leader Tony Sertich says Gov. Tim Pawlenty erased $1.5 million in state construction projects from his district as revenge for comments he made about the Republican governor.
The Chisholm Democrat told reporters Friday that on March 14 a Pawlenty staff member called with what he said was a message from the governor: “I have a hockey analogy for you. Cheap shots are cheap, but they are not free.”
Sertich said the staffer went on to say that Pawlenty threatened to veto projects in Sertich’s northeastern Minnesota district. Earlier that day, Sertich had criticized Pawlenty for not working with legislators.
Pawlenty’s spokesman complained that Sertich went public with the conversation, but he did not deny the call took place.
“When speaking with Rep. Sertich, no one on our staff linked projects in the bonding bill to any comments made regarding the relative value of cheap shots,” spokesman Brian McClung said.
McClung appeared upset that Sertich talked about the call.
“This was not a threat against me,” he said. “It was a threat to veto projects. … He takes it out on the people of northern Minnesota.”
Sertich said he thought Pawlenty singled him out because Minnesota Public Radio quoted him as criticizing the governor about being not engaged in the legislative process. Those comments followed a report spelling out Pawlenty’s frequent out-of-state trips.