Mike Hatch

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Mike Hatch
Attorney General of Minnesota
In office
January 4, 1999 – January 6, 2007
Governor Jesse Ventura
Tim Pawlenty
Preceded by Skip Humphrey
Succeeded by Lori Swanson
Personal details
Born Michael Allen Hatch
(1948-11-12) November 12, 1948 (age 67)
Duluth, Minnesota, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Patti Hatch
Alma mater University of Minnesota, Duluth
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Michael Allen Hatch (born November 12, 1948) is an American politician who was Attorney General of Minnesota from 1999 to 2007. In 2006, he was the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party nominee for governor of Minnesota, unsuccessfully challenging Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty's reelection bid.

Early life and career[edit]

Hatch, a 1966 graduate of East High School (Duluth, Minnesota), went on to earn his bachelor's degree in political science (with honors) from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1970, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1973. Hatch was a lawyer in private practice and became the chairman of the State DFL Party in 1980, before Governor Rudy Perpich appointed Hatch to his Cabinet as Commissioner of the state Department of Commerce, a position he served in from 1981 to 1989. Hatch ran in and lost gubernatorial primaries against Perpich, in 1990, and against John Marty, in 1994. In 1998 he was elected State Attorney General, a position to which he was reelected in 2002.

For a short time in 1966, Hatch served with the Merchant Marine, eventually returning to the University of Minnesota Duluth to finish his degree.

In 2005 Hatch helped negotiate discounted hospital fees for uninsured patients in the state. As of June 2005, 58 out of 140 Minnesota hospitals (which take in about 75% of the patients in the state) have agreed to the plan. Uninsured families that earn less than $125,000 per year will now pay reduced rates—in many cases the best rates available if they had been insured. Signatories so far include Fairview Health Services and the Mayo Clinic. Hennepin County Medical Center and HealthPartners are two of the largest hospital systems that have not yet agreed, but they are expected to do so in the near future.

Hatch and his wife, Patti, an elementary school teacher, are the parents of three daughters.

2006 gubernatorial campaign[edit]

A member of the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL), Hatch received the party endorsement in June at the DFL state convention in Rochester, Minnesota. The endorsement was not binding. In the battle for the endorsement, Hatch defeated state senators Steve Kelley and Becky Lourey. Kelley conceded, but Lourey indicated she would still run in the September primary. Hatch selected former state auditor Judi Dutcher (who had left the Republican party in 2000) as his lieutenant governor candidate, and went on to win the September primary.

On November 7, 2006, Hatch narrowly lost the general election in a four-way race between himself, Pawlenty, the Independence Party candidate, Peter Hutchinson, and the Green Party candidate, Ken Pentel.

Pawlenty made illegal immigration an issue, running ads accusing Hatch of trying to give college tuition to illegal immigrants. Hatch responded with an ad saying that illegal immigration laws had not been enforced under Pawlenty's tenure. Pawlenty also ran ads accusing Hatch of being responsible for raising health care costs, a claim Hatch refuted. Pawlenty campaigned on a record of leading the state through hard times, balancing record budget deficits without raising major state tax rates and without diminishing the state's "nation-leading" status by most socioeconomic indicators.

One of the biggest flaps in the campaign came when Hatch allegedly called a reporter a "Republican whore" for questioning him about Dutcher's inability to identify E85, which is an important component of Minnesota's economy. Hatch disputed the allegation, claiming he had said "Republican hack."[1]

Hatch ran ahead in Minneapolis, St. Paul and their inner-ring suburbs. He had big margins in the DFL strongholds around Duluth and the Iron Range. Pawlenty won by piling up big margins in suburban counties as well as in central and southern Minnesota regions anchored by St. Cloud and Rochester.

Dan Hofrenning, a political scientist from St. Olaf College in Northfield, said it was noteworthy that Hatch turned in the best election performance by a DFL gubernatorial candidate in decades. According to Hofrenning, in the three previous gubernatorial elections, the DFL candidate never broke 40% in the polls.[2]

In his concession speech, Hatch advocated that legislators get back to "sitting down and getting to know each other in private" in order to establish common ground for bipartisan legislation, and called for an end to partisan rancor, saying that would have been one of the first goals of his administration.

Hatch returned to private law practice after his term ended in January 2007. He ruled out a future race for governor, but kept open the possibility of public service in the future.[3]

Electoral history[edit]

  • 2006 Race for Governor - General Election
    • Tim Pawlenty (R) 46.7%
    • Mike Hatch (DFL), 45.7%
  • 2006 Race for Governor - Democratic Primary
  • 2002 Race for state Attorney General
    • Mike Hatch (DFL) (inc.), 55%
    • Tom Kelly (R), 41%
  • 1998 Race for state Attorney General
    • Mike Hatch (DFL), 48%
    • Charlie Weaver (R), 44%
    • Jim Mangan (Reform), 6%


  1. ^ ""Hack" or "Whore" — what did Hatch call a reporter?; KARE 11". kare11.com. November 4, 2006. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ "What happened to Mike Hatch? | Minnesota Public Radio News". Minnesota.publicradio.org. November 8, 2006. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Hatch concedes to Pawlenty". StarTribune.com. November 8, 2006. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Skip Humphrey
Attorney General of Minnesota
Succeeded by
Lori Swanson
Party political offices
Preceded by
Roger Moe
Democratic nominee for Governor of Minnesota
Succeeded by
Mark Dayton