Pawlenty files campaign committee for Minnesota governor run

FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2012 file photo, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. Pawlenty is eyeing a climb back onto the national stage. An unexpected Minnesota Senate election next year, created by Democrat Al Franken’s resignation after sexual harassment allegations, has created the opening. Some GOP power players are looking expectantly at Pawlenty as their best chance to take a Senate seat in a Democratic-leaning state with an unorthodox streak. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

"As a two-term governor, I know what it takes to lead our state in the right direction at this pivotal moment in American history."

Posted: Mar 19, 2018 3:07 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced Monday he created a campaign committee to run for his old job, the most concrete step yet after months of speculation whether the Republican would return to politics following his short-lived 2012 presidential campaign.

Pawlenty has been inching toward a run for months, recently quitting his Washington lobbying job and starting to raise money for a potential bid to replace outgoing Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. In an emailed statement from a new campaign website, Pawlenty touted his credentials as a potential candidate while promising a final announcement soon.

"As a two-term governor, I know what it takes to lead our state in the right direction at this pivotal moment in American history," he said.

Minnesota law requires candidates to register a campaign committee within 14 days of collecting $750 in donations or spending an equal amount. Pawlenty has started to raise money for a campaign, including an upcoming fundraising trip to Florida.

Pawlenty told The Associated Press and other reporters just last week he was "warming up the engine" for a possible bid.

To make it official, he'll have to file for the office with the secretary of state. He would bring unparalleled name recognition and fundraising ability to a Republican field that has struggled to raise money. But a Pawlenty reboot also comes with the political risk of his recent work.

After a quick flameout in the 2012 presidential election, Pawlenty joined the Financial Services Roundtable in 2012, making more than $1 million a year while lobbying on behalf of the nation's largest banks.

On his new campaign website, Pawlenty referenced that five-year stint only as serving "as the leader of a large trade association."

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