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Hoeven for VP?

Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota continues to receive plenty of attention as a possible running mate for John McCain, but he isn't the only Upper Midwest Republican governor appearing on speculators' short lists.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota continues to receive plenty of attention as a possible running mate for John McCain, but he isn't the only Upper Midwest Republican governor appearing on speculators' short lists.

Vice President John Hoeven?

The Wall Street Journal recently fielded an online poll asking readers who among 12 possible candidates would make the best running mate for McCain, and the North Dakota governor was one of the 12 choices offered.

Hoeven, who is seeking re-election to the job he first won in 2000, also was mentioned as a possible veep candidate this week in The Fix, the Washington Post's politics blog. Much of the blog posting was about Pawlenty, and Hoeven was included in a reference to a half-dozen other young Republican governors who might make a good fit with McCain.

In the Wall Street Journal reader poll, Hoeven scored just 1 percent of the online votes, least among the 12 potential candidates. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal led the list with 21 percent, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 20.6 percent.

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Pawlenty, a national co-chairman of McCain's presidential campaign and frequently mentioned as a possibility for the ticket because of his youth and proven vote-getting ability in a likely battleground state, received 4.1 percent of the vote in the Wall Street Journal sample.

A spokesman for Hoeven indicated Friday that the governor

wasn't aware of the references to him as a potential McCain running mate.

"He's not thinking about that," said Don Canton, the governor's communications director. "He's running for another term and he's focused on continuing to move North Dakota forward."

Hoeven endorsed McCain in early March after meeting with the Arizona senator in Washington to discuss issues close to North Dakota. He cited McCain's experience, leadership on national defense issues and commitment to hold the line on taxes as warranting his endorsement.

Reach Haga at (701) 780-1102; (800) 477-6572, ext. 102; or send e-mail to chaga@gfherald.com .

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