December 16th, 2009
01:39 PM ET
6 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. Dave

    Republicans always talk about "the importance of reaching out beyond the core GOP base to expand the party." Funny, but as soon as they get into office, they go right back to pandering to the drooling, knuckle-dragging right wing. I highly doubt Pawlenty would be any different.

    December 16, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. a health economist

    Yah, Pawlenty sure has done a lot of good for us in MN. He cut funding to important public programs such as education and transportation (you all still remember our bridge collapse, don't you?). He cut taxes but raised "Fees". And now he's pretty much vacated his post to get his name out for a 2012 presidential bid. Many of us in MN are disappointed he is not running for a 3rd term as Governor because we were looking forward to voting him out.

    December 16, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. Annie, Atlanta

    I used to think it was important to elect good Democrats in order to protect people instead of corporations. After closely watching this farce that has become health care reform, it really doesn't matter who's in office. They're all corporate owned, and Republicans can obstruct when in the minority. We the people have lost. I guess it was fun while it lasted. Wonder what the founding fathers would think of us ruining their brilliant plan. I guess it was bound to happen. We just can't help ourselves. Selfishness and greed are our top priorities.

    December 16, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. Steph

    Hey Tim, How about you stay in your state and do your job???

    December 16, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  5. Steph

    I have a question for the tea-baggers. Does Tim pass the purity test?

    December 16, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  6. Mike in TX

    Presidential bid ??? What a joke this guy is. McCain chose stupid Sarah over this guy.
    Republiklans have little to offer. They have disrepected every group of people except rich fatcats.
    I cannot believe we will have four years of these clowns blocking every effort to improve life for American People. They dont hesitate to make life better for Big Business. They claim we cannot afford Health Care Reform, yet we can afford to send more troops to Af/Pak. They opposed the draw-down in Iraq. We have deep pockets for war but no money for health-care of American People. What kind of thinking is that.?
    If I want more fear, lies, and BS to scare me to buying Gold I will go to Fixed News.

    December 16, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. Jdizzle

    I know first hand that the Pawlenty family is not a typical blue collar family, there's some money there.
    He's done nothing spectacular for MN either. As a minnesotan all I can hope for is he beats Palin and then loses.
    He's a "No New Tax" guy who realizes budget shortfalls had to be made up with "Fees" instead. This guy is a joke.
    I won't even touch on the lack of support to higher education...historically a top talking point for MN. We're getting stupider and stupider as a state...see reference Michelle Bachmann.

    December 16, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. Terry - Indiana

    He better check with Sarah Palin before he makes any announcements. Sarah can be a pain, sometimes.

    December 16, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. katiec

    I understand the residents of Minnesota are so disgusted with him
    he would not win re-election anyway.
    Just what our country needs. Another radical religious right, party over survial of our country candidate.

    December 16, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  10. the real Mike in MN

    And how does he balance the budget and not increase taxes? He pushes everything off to local and county governments so they get stuck raising property taxes year after year while at the same time laying off Police, Fire, and Medical workers. He cuts state aid to hospitals to help pay for those with no insurance. Guess what, those people didn't disappear so now hospitals are laying off staff while still going broke. Yeah, he's a real model of someone that cares about the little guy.

    December 16, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. Jim

    Pawlenty balanced the budget at the state level by putting it all on the local level governments thus causing extremely large increases in property taxes. State aid to local government was cut to make him look good at the expense of the middle class. Glad to see he is notting running again for governor and hope he just rides into the sunset.....he's not fit to be in politics at any level.

    December 16, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. W l Jones

    These Repubs wont to be president come on the vine early in the morning, bloom by noon and wither and fall off by seven in the after noon. The fact of matter they cannot stick to one position on any subject.

    December 16, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. sifto77

    re: Joe Lieberman–what on earth are democrats mad about? Why in heck do you think he went independent and won? So he would not have to be a lemming!–definition of independent is not "right" or "left" but owning the capability of making up your own mind about bad policy! DUH! You liberals who blog on here have are coming across as very, very dumb. However, I am positive it is just frustration because things are not going your way. Grow up...Good for Joe.

    December 16, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. Tom in Delaware

    What? No reports of the hundreds of arrest's from those peaceful Left-Wing Loons in Copenhagen?

    If one 'Tea-Bagger' had been arrested it would have been on the Ticker 3 times already...with a linked story to SARAH PALIN.

    Instead, we have CNN trying to elevate yet another possible Rep, Presidential contender three years in advance of three election.

    There's a reason you guys are last place in the ratings....this is it.

    December 16, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    I hope little Timmy packed his tea bags.

    December 16, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    And all the GOPers who complain about Obama "traipsing off to Europe and Asia for parties" don't care that this guy doesn't seem to be running the state of which he was elected Governor. More hypocrisy from the neoclowns...go figure...

    December 16, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  17. Cary G Osborne

    Palin and all climate change deniers are being more than a little naive. Human affects on climate may not be the sole or even the biggest cause of global warming. The phenomenon probably occurs naturally and periodically. But there can be no denying that emissions from human technologies add to the effect. Why make matters worse? Why not at least try to lessen the effects? Does it matter that the effects may not become catastrophic for 30 years rather than 10? An ounce of prevention . . .

    December 16, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  18. Faye Minneapolis

    It continues to amaze me that an individual who cannnot build concensus with his own state legislature thinks he is presidential material.

    December 16, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. Justin - NC

    Drop it CNN,

    All this 2012 garbage, still trying to recapture that election year high when its not going to happen. Refocus your shows and put some interesting anchors in those seats and your ratings will climb. Pawlenty, Palin, Romney in 2012? Give me a break. Anyone remember John Edwards in 2004, barely lost the Democratic Primary to John Kerry and then in 2008 he's bowed out before Super Tuesday. Same thing with all these clowns. When 2012 comes we'll see who'll have the luxury of getting clobbered by Obama.

    December 16, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  20. T'SAH from Virginia

    It's all about who THINKS they are going to beat President Obama in 2012!!! It's NOT about getting the economy straight; health care reform; the war in Afghanistan; global warming, etc.

    EVERYONE is fighting a GHOST if they believe they could BEAT President Obama in 2012 and ENJOY the Great Economy he shaped in his first four years!!! DOGGONE IT – STOP DREAMING!!!

    If I were President Obama, I would not even RUN against you morons!!

    December 16, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  21. Palin/Bachmann 2012

    Another Refusenik hypocrite with no new ideas except tax cuts and a faux conservative stance trying to make points. He doesn't have a chance.

    December 16, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  22. Christian Values

    If you want to ruin something: Put a republican in charge.

    December 16, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. Jake

    Go back to Minnesota!

    December 16, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  24. buckwheat

    I am a died in the wool Democrat and money was made to be spent.It does no good left unspent.Beside that I get nervous around unspent funds when elections and earmarks are out there to be paid for.How the devil do you expect me to get elected if we don't spend money on the study of bedbug numbers and fruitfly reproduction.

    December 16, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  25. Michele

    Republicans can't see to wait for Obama's programs to succeed. Instead, they are praying for him to fail, to make themselves look like a viable alternative. As if Americans will vote for more war, fewer fed dollars to their states for mandated programs, higher health care premiums for those of us lucky enough to HAVE health care, no focus on infrastructure, and lots of whining about Democrats. Of course, they will guise it in the terms of "keeping us safe," "smaller government," tax cuts (for their wealthy donors,") and "keep your guns." Yup, sounds like a great platform to me. Go to it, conservatives.

    December 16, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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