Bar owner butts into governor's race

class=img_thumbleft>Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty may have a challenger for the Republican Party endorsement in his re-election bid. Sue Jeffers, owner of the Minneapolis bar Stub & Herbs, will officially announce Monday that she is running for governor.

Although Jeffers is seeking the state's top office as a Libertarian Party candidate, she may bid for the GOP endorsement as well. "Let's not give Pawlenty a free pass just because he is our sitting governor," she says. "I think he's let us down."

While the chances of Jeffers actually succeeding in wresting the GOP endorsement away from Pawlenty are pretty much nil, she could prove meddlesome to the Governor's re-election plans. She describes herself as a "lifelong Republican" who has grown disaffected with the party's inability to control spending. "I met with so many Republicans who were trying to get me to run as a Republican," she says. "And I was too embarrassed. The Republicans have let us down."

Jeffers is best known as one of the most vocal opponents of a smoking ban in Minneapolis. But she also cites the government's seizure of private property through eminent domain and high taxes as primary reasons for running.

She argues that the two major parties are largely indistinguishable. "You can't even tell who's a Republican and who's a Democratic," she says. "It boils down to is it a faster road to hell or a slower road to hell."

Jeffers acknowledges that her lack of experience in electoral politics could be an obstacle. "I'm 49 years old," she notes. "I don't have the time to start at the bottom. I thought I'd start at the top."