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.
BREAKING: Former MN Gov. Tim Pawlenty just announced a campaign committee for governor in 2018, but stops short of making firm announcement he's running. He's been actively speaking to groups and raising money in recent weeks. Pawlenty served as MN governor from 2003-2011. pic.twitter.com/jMZwW37T93— Tom Hauser (@thauserkstp) March 19, 2018
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.
"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.
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.
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.
Here's a look at the candidates who have entered the gubernatorial race so far:
Updated: March 19, 2018 03:21 PM
Created: March 19, 2018 01:26 PM
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