(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.
I will never vote for this guy after he vetoed medical marijuana legislation.
Good luck with that ( running against Obama that it : ) ) !!!
If you read the comments on the Minneapolis Star Tribune web site (anecdotal evidence, at best, I know) you will see that many in MInnesota are dancing in the streets today. We used to have a state known for its resiliency to economic downturns, but Pawlenty's unbending and uncompromising fiscal policies have cheapskated our state into mediocrity. If you want him to continue to do so for our country, I encourage you to vote for him in 2012.
Keep the spending out of control and you will see a change..
You Democrats are such haters. We are at a very sorry state in what was an incredible country. You Democrats have the White House, you have the Senate and you have the House. Get over the mudslinging already. CNN has been so pro-Obama throughout, you should all be giddy like a school girls who just bought new dresses. So get over the hating of people who have different views than you. By gosh, we are all Americans. You don't have to agree with my philosophy or ideology or anyone else on the right, but stop the hating already.
You are all a really sad lot if you can't see the "good" that comes from differences of opinion. Use those differences to educate yourself and become more informed.
But why you hate, I just simply can't understand it.
God Bless this great country please.
He knows he will lose, No one is voting for anyone with a R By their name unless of course you belong to the Limbaugh/Cheney Party seems to be only 20 percent of them not enough to win an election!
The biggest reason his popularity has dropped is because he vetoed medical marijuana legislation.
This is guy is way too conservative to win the white house. Republicans need a moderate candidate that favors science over ideology.
Isn't Pawlenty that yellow cornmeal stuff that tastes like shoe leather unless you put a ton of butter on it? Yeah, I knew I hated this guy.
@ Teleprompter of the U.S.A.
100 x's better huh? I like how you've come to that conclusion after only 5 months. Now be honest with me. You're on Limbaugh's payroll, right?
Surprise, surprise. I always knew he would be running for President in 2012.
How exactly could this guy even think of running for President and getting elected in 2012 if he can't even get re-elected as Governor of Minnesota?
Americans why are you so surprised that Pawlenty could be a GOP runner against Obama? After all Obama was an unknown and obscure senator an emerger as the President which shows and prove that a President can be made during an almost 2 years period that our election lasts normally. If Obama fails with some of his major policies and his so called CHANGE does not happen I can easily see an unknows GOP candidate winning next election because Americans will vote Obama out as will not believe on his talk of change
hey..................maybe it will be T-Paw and S-alin in 2012..
just think Gov no and shoot up sarah......what a team.........................
Run.......run................run .............far away.........just do not go to Alaska...........you might see Russia from your door................................
yeh.....right...........the gop is sooooooooooooooooooobad off.............
maybe it will be .......................steele/palin
or mouth bauchman/steele nah.....bauchman/t-pw..................
or ................rush/steele .............wait.....would they be on a ticket together????????????? Nah..........................
oh who knows......................they do not..
If these people put more time and energy into doing the job they were elected to do – the whole country would be better off!
The next election is a long, long way off ... rational people are working on solutions for the current challenges ... and not ready for vague promises of what Mr. P would do if he were president.
and Mark – no one does "hate" better than the GOP: just look at the last elections and some of the posters in this session.
I think a lot of you are missing the point. If Pawlenty is doing this to make a run at the Presidency then the internal Republican wars will really heat up. Tim is definitely a moderate and this may be a signal that more sensible Republicans are starting to find a way to take back the party from the conservative extremists. My bet is still on the projection that this "grand old party" will split apart because of the "purebred cynical conservatives".
While I disagree with many of Gov Pawlenty's positions, I do believe he is basically a decent politician. He has been a great supporter of the Minnesota National Guard and their families. I do wish he wouldn't have played the shift taxes to the local governments so much, but as far as a viable candidate he is much better that McCain, Palin, Jindal, Huckabee, etc..or any the others I have seen mentioned.
Looks like Tim is going to be unemployed like Mitt after the 2012 elections ... their chances of being President are about equal to that of McCain.
Pawenty fits right into the ultra conservative party of No! I am so sick of hearing his "No new Taxes". All he did with this was shift the tax load down to the property taxpayers – I live in Minnesota and have seen it. This is a man who rejected a gas tax increase targeted to go to road & bridge maintenace a few months before the I35W bridge fell into the river. H's also a man that seems to have forgotten that he barely won re-election the last time because there was a third party candidate in the race that drew my vote along with thousands of other Minnesotans.
He's no fiscal genious! Just very stubborn.
All Democrats quake in fear at the thought! And only a little over 3 years to campaign. He must have one heck of a platform since he needs all of that time to campaign. Can't wait to his his substantive insights and razor sharp intellect. Especially about issues other then tax cuts and less spending.
RE-ELECTION, RE-ELECTION. All these Republicans talk about is RE-ELECTION!!
How about focusing on the American People for a change? Thats we voted you out, and I can't wait to campaign to do it again in 2010 :)
The negative comments that are posted about our President Obama seem to be so incredibly petty – he uses, or over-uses, a teleprompter? So what? At least the man can pronounce the words correctly. At least he holds the listener's interest instead of boring us to tears. At least what he says has some meaning and we understand him because he is coherent and cogent. All the criticism the Rethugs can throw at him is so ridiculously silly. That's all they have, though. The guy has done a great job so far, and not even six months into his administration. Obama hits home runs nearly every time at bat – but, of course, the Rethugs will spin it and say, "he keeps losing baseballs"!! They've got nothing else, guess that's why they just keep on going with nothing.
So, Democrats are all haters ... hmmm, does that mean all Republicans are lovers of all of mankind including everyone who disagrees with them? For some reason your simpicity just doesn't square with reality.
He's not going again for Gov. because he'll be in a tough race and might lose, but he wants to run for president. Now just how stupid is that? If you can't win your own state with people who know you, why on earth would anyone else vote for you? Or maybe you can't win your own Because the people know you!
What a joke!! This guy is dumber that most of the other right wing nut cases that we have running around the country. You can even throw in the the christian conservatives and you couldn't have a IQ in double digits in all of them combined.
First, I am somewhat disappointed I won't get the chance to vote him out of office as Governor. Second, while he would be a better candidate than many other Republican possibles, I don't think he'd even be able to win MN in a Presidential election bid.
And if by some insane chance he and Norm Coleman end up being the Republican candidates next election I will laugh so hard I will soil myself.