“Were they bosom buddies? No. Did they dislike each other? No, I don’t think so,” former Republican Party Chairman Ron Eibensteiner said. “Sometimes, as governor, when you have a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate, you have to compromise a bit. And Michele is uncompromising, and she can be, because she’s a state Senator.”
For example, Pawlenty supported Bachmann’s amendment to ban same-sex marriage. He reportedly even spoke at one of her rallies in March 2004. But when he pushed for a special session to resolve spending issues later that year, he wanted Democrats to take that issue off the table.
Bachmann supported a Taxpayer Bill of Rights, but the Pawlenty administration appeared to have concerns about such spending restrictions. The JOBZ issue stung the most, Seifert said.
“It gave Pawlenty a little bit of angst that she questioned one of his top initiatives that year,” the former House Minority Leader said. “She thought it was horrible policy, I remember the discussion well. She was the only Republican in the entire [Senate] caucus to vote no.”
But longtime Republican legislator Warren Limmer, a Bachmann ally in the state Senate, said he never sensed tension between Bachmann and Pawlenty.
“Tim would be focused more on the leadership of caucuses rather than the rank and file,” Limmer said.
After all, Bachmann and Pawlenty had very different roles in the Republican Party and in state government. Bachmann could afford to be an adversarial legislator, especially while her party was in the minority.
“The first time she’s really been in the majority is the last seven months,” Seifert said. “I think legislators like Michele Bachmann thrive in the minority.”