ST. PAUL (AP) -- Roger Moe asked that his name be withdrawn from consideration for a spot on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.
The step avoided a potentially ugly fight for the former longtime Senate majority leader in a joint session of the Legislature scheduled for Monday afternoon.
Last week Moe, the DFL candidate for governor in 2002, failed to win recommendation for the spot by a House-Senate committee that makes regent recommendations to the full Legislature.
In a letter sent to Senate and House leaders Saturday, Moe said he did not want to be nominated from the floor. He said he was honored and humbled that he'd been considered.
House Speaker Steve Sviggum, a Republican, said last week he believed Moe could not prevail on the floor, though Sviggum said he personally supported Moe's bid.
He said many House members felt Moe manipulated regent choices during his two decades as leader of the Senate. Other Republicans, he said, felt Moe would not be interested in trimming the University's mission, something many support.
"I think the nerves are just too raw and the memories too fresh to really elect Roger Moe to this sort of position right now," said D.J. Leary, an editor of the newsletter Politics in Minnesota. He said Moe's success would have depended on a deal between the House and Senate on other matters, and that didn't happen.
Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty praised Moe for his dedication to public policy Monday morning, but said he had stayed out of the regent selection process.
"We didn't always see eye to eye, but I think he's a class act," Pawlenty said.
Nine seats on the 12-member board were to be decided Monday, but only four were really in play.
In a party-line vote, the House-Senate panel recommended Republican Clyde Allen, who was revenue commissioner under Gov. Al Quie, over Moe to represent the 7th Congressional District on the board.
For the other three seats, the panel recommended Patricia Simmons, a Mayo Clinic official, to the 1st District seat and the reappointment of David Metzen in the 4th District. The committee also voted to recommend that Maureen Reed, the board's current chairwoman, supplant Jean Keffeler as an at-large regent, despite the fact Keffeler is in the middle of what she had hoped was a four-year term.
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