Tim Pawlenty To Form Presidential Exploratory Committee

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is about to dip his toe into the Presidential waters:

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty will file paperwork today to organize his bid for the White House into an exploratory committee, he told supporters on a conference call today.

“We’re filing the paperwork today to form an exploratory committee to run for president of the United States,” he said on the call, to which POLITICO dialed in, he said, saying the committee would allow him to take the “initial steps” to run for president.

The bid, to be announced on Facebook later today, will be headquartered in the Twin Cities.

An aide, Phil Musser, asked donors to wait until April 1 to contribute to Pawlenty’s campaign, in order to avoid the impression that he’d tried and failed to raise much money in his first quarter.

I can’t say that I’ve been all that impressed by Pawlenty from what I’ve seen. His CPAC speech struck me as, well, underwhelming for example. Nonetheless he’s consistently polled just below the first-tier group (Romney, Huckabee, Gingrich, Palin) in GOP preference polls and has the potential to do well in the caucuses in neighboring Iowa if he plays his cards right.


FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Moosebreath says:

    Moreover, it is possible to see him as the least unacceptable of the Republican field, and be the last man standing at the end of the primaries.

  2. reid says:

    He strikes me as a duller, probably smarter version of Sarah Palin. Just as much of a nutty socon. No thanks. Moosebreath is probably right that he has a decent shot with the right in the primaries.

  3. Moosebreath says:


    My comment was a bit stronger than that. Not merely would he be acceptable to the social conservatives if Palin does not run, but that he is generally acceptable to the economic conservatives as well, and seems to be saying the right things to be acceptable to the foreign policy conservatives, too. If so, in the absence of a compelling other candidate, he could end up being the person the Republicans coalesce around, as no group would veto him.

  4. reid says:

    Moosebreath: Sounds like a plausible scenario to me. I get a Romney-like vibe from him, like he’s trying to appeal to everyone on the right and also add needed zing to his personality. I’ve only seen a handful of clips of interviews and speeches over the last few years, though, so not a lot of data to draw conclusions.

  5. TBogg says:

    “He strikes me as a duller, probably smarter version of Sarah Palin.”

    So who tipped you off to his campaign slogan? Much better than:

    Pawlenty 2012: You could do worse!

  6. Moosebreath says:


    “I get a Romney-like vibe from him, like he’s trying to appeal to everyone on the right and also add needed zing to his personality.”

    Me, too, but Pawlenty is without Romney’s baggage (both his support for universal health care in a form which is largely indistinguishable from Obama’s program, which hurts among economic conservatives, as well as his history of flips on social conservative issues since the time he ran from Governor of Massachusetts). I remain convinced Romney is a dead man walking in the Republican field.

  7. Kylopod says:

    >Pawlenty 2012: You could do worse!

    It reminds me a little of Adlai Stevenson’s slogan in 1952: “You’ve never had it so good.”