Phil Krinkie on the GOP election fiasco: "The voters have spoken and now they must be punished"

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In the span of his 16-year career in the Minnesota House of Representatives, Republican Phil Krinkie earned a reputation as a feisty budget hawk, occasional gadfly and consistent straight shooter. Last Tuesday, Krinkie, who runs a heating and cooling business and lives in Lino Lakes, lost his bid for a ninth term by a 55-vote margin to a DFLer Paul Gardner--a defeat he chalks up to that much referenced Democratic tsunami. In a telephone interview, Krinkie shared his impressions of the election and thoughts on the future.

CP: Why was Governor Pawlenty able to withstand the anti-Bush vote when so many other Republicans failed to?

Krinkie: Because Democrats didn't like [Mike] Hatch.

CP: Do you think Pawlenty and the DFL controlled legislature will be able to work together?

Krinkie: That's hard to say. Everyone talks about bi-partisanship, but it's difficult to predict how it will play out. It depends on how far the Democrats are going to reach and how much the governor will bend. That's the real question about the 2007 session

CP: So do you think the session will end in stalemate?

Krinkie: We can only hope so. The governor has one tool, and that's the veto. In the senate, the Democrats need only one defector from the Republicans to override the veto. In the house, it's about five votes.

CP: Do you plan to return to politics?

Krinkie: I'm not ruling anything out. I may run again in another two years or I may wait or I may look at a different office. It's too early to make those decisions. But I want to leave you with a quote from Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York. When he got beaten by David Dinkins, he said, 'The voters have spoken and now they must be punished.' I have a feeling that's what may be in store for the people of Minnesota.


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