Governor Pawlenty ran for re-election in 2006. He espoused conservative stands on issues. But conservatives criticized him on funding issues, in particular two pieces of legislation for stadiums for the Gophers and Minnesota Twins, and bond issues for public transit, including the Northstar commuter rail line.
The 2006 gubernatorial race included Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch, of the DFL; Peter Hutchinson of the Independence Party; and Ken Pentel of the Green Party. Pawlenty won, defeating Hatch by a margin of less than one percent, though both the state House and Senate gained DFL majority.