Pawlenty Forming Campaign Committee to Explore Run for Governor

Pawlenty Forming Campaign Committee to Explore Run for Governor Photo: KSTP

March 19, 2018 03:21 PM

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has announced he is forming a campaign committee to explore a possible run for governor this year.

The announcement does not mean Pawlenty is declaring his candidacy to return to the job he held from 2003 to 2011, just that he is exploring the possibility.


The Republican confirmed the news in a release Monday afternoon, saying he would make a final decision on running soon.

"As I continue to explore a campaign for Governor, I filed a campaign committee today to meet the requirements of Minnesota law," his statement read.

RELATED: Pawlenty: 'Warming Up Engine' For Possible Run for Governor

"In recent weeks, Minnesotans have shared ideas and concerns with me about the new and difficult challenges they face in a rapidly changing economy. I'm optimistic about Minnesota's future and understand how to deliver more accountable government and better jobs. 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. I will make a final announcement soon."

Pawlenty had worked as a Washington banking lobbyist, but announced earlier this year he was leaving that job.

RELATED: Pawlenty Set to Meet with Advisers on Minnesota Governor Run

He had declared earlier this year that he would not be a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2018. There had been speculation he would run for the Senate seat that came open when Democrat Al Franken stepped down.

RELATED: Pawlenty Says He Won't Run for Senate in 2018

The South St. Paul High School graduate was first elected governor in 2002 and was reelected in 2006. He was looked at as a contender for the 2008 Republican vice presidential nomination that went to Sarah Palin.

In 2011, he mounted a brief bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

He would become the first Minnesota governor since Rudy Perpich to return to the office after having left it, though Perpich was defeated in 1978 before returning to regain the office in 1982.

KSTP's Vote 2018 Page

Here's a look at the candidates who have entered the gubernatorial race so far:


A Woodbury native, Nikolay Bey is listed as being self-employed, according to He previously entered the 2014 congressional race as a candidate.
Website unavailable.

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson lost to Gov. Mark Dayton by roughly 5 percentage points in 2014. Johnson won a seat on the Hennepin County Commission in 2008 after serving three terms in the state House.

A Blue Earth native, Phillip Parrish taught in the state's public school system. He was also an Intelligence Specialist with the U.S. Navy Reserve and also served as a lieutenant commander.

Mary Giuliani Stephens has been mayor of Woodbury since 2011 after serving four years on the suburb's city council. She's the first woman to announce a bid for the GOP nomination in a field of a dozen Republican candidates.

A current Redwood Falls resident, Jeff Wharton has entered the race in an effort to "fight the good fight and protect the state of MN," according to his campaign Facebook page.
Website unavailable.


State Representative Erin Murphy is a six-term Democrat from St. Paul who served as House Majority Leader in 2013 and 2014. She says health care and education are at the heart of her campaign for governor.

Rebecca Otto, a 53-year-old three-term auditor, also served in the House of Representatives and on the Forest Lake Area School Board.

U.S. Representative Tim Walz is the top Democrat on the Veterans Affairs Committee. He first won the election to his rural district along Minnesota's southern border in 2006. He has held several re-election campaigns, including in 2016.



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