December 16th, 2009
01:39 PM ET
8 months ago

Pawlenty heads to important presidential primary state

Pawlenty heads to important presidential primary state.
Pawlenty heads to important presidential primary state.

(CNN) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty heads to the presidential proving ground of New Hampshire Wednesday. The potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate is scheduled to be the featured speaker at a fundraiser in Concord for New Hampshire State Senate Republicans.

Pawlenty is expected to speak about the need to rein in Washington spending, a source close to the two-term governor tells CNN. The governor will plug his record of balancing state budgets without raising taxes, and his health care track record in Minnesota. Pawlenty will also continue his recent attacks on the Senate Democratic health care bill.

Pawlenty, who's not well know in New Hampshire, will also use his appearance to introduce them to his personal story of growing up in a blue-collar town, and talk about the importance of reaching out beyond the core GOP base to expand the party.

Pawlenty announced this past summer he would not seek a third term as governor next year, fueling speculation he is setting his sights on a presidential bid instead. Since then, he's become a frequent speaker at major Republican and conservative conferences across the country. He also took on a high profile role as vice chairman of the Republican Governor's Association.


The governor also rolled out a new political action committee in October and announced a group of new advisers, several of whom advised Pawlenty's likely 2012 rival - former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney - during his 2008 presidential bid. Last month Pawlenty traveled to Iowa to headline the state GOP's annual leadership dinner, one of the two major annual events for the state party. Iowa's caucuses kick off the presidential primary season.

New Hampshire's primary is traditionally the second contest on the presidential primary calendar. While the appearance in the Granite State can be seen as an effort to build early support in the key primary state, Pawlenty adviser Alex Conant says that's not the case: "Governor Pawlenty is focused on finishing his term strong and helping elect candidates who share his innovative, conservative agenda. Just as he's done in competitive states across the country this year, he's going to New Hampshire to help local Republicans prepare for next year's important elections."

While in New Hampshire, Pawlenty's also expected to make a stop at the New Hampshire Union Leader, whose editorial page remains very influential among conservatives.

Pawlenty becomes just the second possible 2012 Republican White House hopeful to pay a visit to New Hampshire: Mississippi governor and RGA chairman Haley Barbour attended a state party event during the summer. By comparison, Iowa's already seen visits by Pawlenty, former Arkansas governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, and some longshots like former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former New York Gov. George Pataki, and Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana.

The two early-voting states represent two strikingly different political cultures: Iowa's Republican caucuses are usually dominated by social conservatives, while economic matters are usually the top priority with Republicans in New Hampshire. Only registered Republicans can vote in their party's caucus in Iowa, while New Hampshire's GOP primary is open to Republicans and registered independents. Since there will most likely not be a competitive primary on the Democratic side in 2012, independents could play an major role in the GOP contest next cycle.

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: 2012 • GOP • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Jay

    Hey the election was in 2008 Tim. You're either too late in running or way too early. Aren't you a sitting governor of a state? Shouldn't you be doing your state's business right now? I know you said you weren't running for another term but did that mean that you also quit in the current one?

    December 16, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    I wish Mr. Pawlenty would at some point feel free to return to Minnesota to discuss the billion dollar budget short fall our state faces due to his *two term – I didn't raise taxes* governorship.

    The sooner the better.

    BTW, what is up with Argentina and the GOP governors? T-Paw is fresh off a *job growth* trip to Argentina...

    December 16, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  3. texasgreenacres

    I think he would be a great canidate he could have Joe Lieberman or Sarah Palin as a vice presidential running mate.either would guarantee him victory! YOU GO! TIM!

    December 16, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. Peter E

    Yeah, yeah, yet another one of the now two dozen GOP 'rising stars' whom CNN prematurely calls as the best hope for republicans to retake the White House. Remember Jindal? Remember Romney? Remember Sanford? All of them 'rising stars' at one time. All of them now laughing stock! It's just a metter of months before Pawlenty will fall into obscurity, or worse, become a laughing stock. CNN is really good at destroying political careers.

    December 16, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. Preco

    He is wasting his time. The extreme right wing nuts would determine who the GOP flagbearer would be come 2012, sorry it won't be you Pawlenty!

    December 16, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  6. Reagan was wrong

    Too bad for T-Paw that the only person excited about him running for President is T-Paw himself.

    December 16, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. aware

    Boring! :(

    December 16, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. www.usdebtclock.org

    Repukes don't care about experience or qualifications which is why Palin the Quitter is leading the polls.

    December 16, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. Pragmatic

    ,,, and who is running Minnesota while the elected governor is out fattening his resume??? Palin quits and Pawlenty doesn't stay home long enough to do the job he was elected to do .... what is it with republican governors .... no respect for the people who elected them???

    December 16, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  10. mjp

    you can have him, we are sick and tired of him.....just don't elect him president, instead of raising taxes you will have to pay more FEES for everything. that is his fix

    December 16, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. Dave

    HEY DAVE:

    NO one in the base of the republican party has ever said that. the Rrepublicans win elections based on values, standing by the constitution, lowering taxes, less government, and strong defense.

    They have lost elections when they try to appease the left and go away from these principles. That is fact, history shows it. The Deomcrats, on the other hand, have to try to lean towards "the middle" and go after minorities through payoffs.

    December 16, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. Vets4Obama

    Whether you are willing to admit it or not, the fact remains: There is not a SINGLE republican that would beat Obama even TODAY. So when you quote how his approval ratings have declined, just remember, you little rejects can't even beat THAT. You imbeciles can't even muster a candidate that can beat the very numbers you try to indicate are so horrid.

    You republicans are nothing but puss filled rejects with no ambition other then to destroy america and ridicule it's president. You are pathetic little people.

    December 16, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
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