(CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will announce Tuesday that he will not seek a third term as governor, sources tell CNN.
The decision to avoid a potentially difficult re-election bid next year will almost certainly be seen as the first step in a possible presidential run in 2012.
Pawlenty has scheduled a press conference at 3 pm ET today to reveal his future plans at the state capitol building in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The two-term Republican governor who has pressed the party to a better job of reaching out to what he calls "Sam's Club voters" was reported to be on John McCain's shortlist as a running mate in last year's election.
Pawlenty was first elected governor in 2002 and squeaked out a re-election victory in 2006, when Republicans across the country were hammered in the midterm elections.
Pawlenty has come under pressure lately to sign a certificate of election allowing Al Franken to take his seat in the U.S. Senate, if Minnesota's state supreme court rules in favor of Franken and against Republican Norm Coleman in the state's marathon Senate battle.
His approval ratings in the state have slipped in recent months, numbers that might have left him potentially vulnerable to a Democratic challenger if he ran again.
UPDATE: CNN's John King reports that two conservative activists in the Washington area who are close with Pawlenty and his team say the governor is actively thinking about 2012.
The sources said that by leaving after two terms, Pawlenty will be able to go out on top by closing a $4.6 billion budget gap without tax increases favored by the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party. Pawlenty did so using the line item veto and unalottment - something no other GOP Governor has done.
The sources also said that campaign finance laws in Minnesota are restrictive and would would make it difficult to operate on a national stage.
He would probably lose anyway.
He's not presidential material. Never has been, never will be.
Maybe he can get a job picking up the trash Michele Bachman drops on the US every day.
So, since he won't have to face Minnesota voters enraged over the long-drawn-out Senate seat fight, does that mean he'll refuse to certify Franken when the state supreme court rules in his favor? After all, that intransigence would curry favor with the hard-right part of the GOP that controls the primary process.
Wow, TWO articles on CNN trying to anoint a GOP candidate. Just can't let it go, CNN? Can't let nature take its honest course? Already have to start building up the ammunition against us..... sad.
Is this just one more way that this guy is trying to get out of having to certify Al Franken as the winner in the US Senate contest?
If the guy doesn't think he could win re-election in his home state, how does he possibly think he could win the presidency.
The GOP should be very weary about promoting this guy.
This old, washer woman of a candidate can't even be diplomatic in the senate race, constantly serves as a aff-hassed apologist for the right wing of his party and now he wants to consider running the country?! Good luck with that ...
He doesn't stand a chance if he's going to run for president. If he does, all you have to challenge him on is holding up the President's agenda by not seating Minnesota's second senator, Mr. Al Franken. Besides, he doesn't even look presidential.
It's 2009, chill out CNN. Pawlenty doesn't have a chance anyways. There is no way he can beat President Obama coming from being the Governor of a state like MN. Talking is easier than doing.
Whether people think he is good or not, he's 100 times better than the joke we have now in the WH.
He and those morons from GOP can run for PTA president in 2012.
They are bunch of incompetent idiots on drugs like Rush.
Good riddance, T-Paw. You have taken our historically nation-leading in all "health categories," progressive state and moved it back-to-the pack in almost every category over the past 8 years. A one-trick-pony (no new taxes) philosophy has put MN on par with deep south states in some statistical categories. No thank you. I will gladly pay my fair share for parks, infrastructure, education and health care for all.
Nation – if you want the US to have a simplistic, sledgehammer approach to problems, T-Paw is your man in 2012.
I heard on some news channel that Michelle Bachmann is contemplating a run for governor. I hope she does run because her abject stupidity is incredibly amusing.
Dear Gov. No,
Good bye and good riddance from a Minnesota so damaged by your ignorant policies that it will take decades to get itself out of financial trouble.
You will not be missed.
Who cares? He is just another RepubliCON obstructionist. Certify Franken now or disappear with the rest of the GOP. It's a slippery slope pal, so you better figure out quickly...it's time to bail on the GOP. If you are not interested in joining the Democrats choose Independent. Whatever, you will unlikely be elected regardless of what you choose.
Might as well run. You couldn't get picked for VP over that well versed super star Sarah Palin! I'm impressed. Beat an ex wrestler for the governorship!
gald to hear timmy is going to go....... but what really sucks, is that it leaves the door open for ....yes you guessed it.....norm colmen. it makes me cringe. after all you minnesotians voted for and got ; tim pawlenty,norm colmen and of course the mean spirited & clueless m. bachmann. glad i don't live there anymore. i miss the people and the state but the politics!!!!!!!. ew!!!!!. good luck to you my minnesota brothers and sisters
That's too bad, actually. He's one of the only republican governors who seems half-sane.
Teleprompter of the U.S.A. – Whether people think he is good or not, he's 100 times better than the joke we have now in the WH.
Where's the beef to your statement? Oh yeah, a lot of talk with nothing to back it up. It's an opinion of dysfunctional proportions.
Everyone boycott Hummer. Stop giving all of these foreign entities our futures. These rich people have sold us out and they have sold the soul of America. If we don't take our country back now we will never get it back. Don't support Hummer's. Don't buy them.
I can just forsee the massive Democratic commercials about how this man steps in the way of the voting process when it serves his parties needs.
May not be entirely accuracute of course, but since when are presidential commercials ever?
When it comes to Tim, I have heard Pawlenty!
Hey T-Paw don't let the door hit you on the way out.
The man who is holding up the Franken/Coleman drama wants to run for President!?!?!?!?
He is a useless stooge for the GOP
Mickey Mouse could beat Obama in 2012 after he destroys this country in the next four years. A big Republicn win in 2012 no matter who it is.