December 16th, 2009
01:39 PM ET
7 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. californian Independent

    so all this year and the next two years, cnn is going to force feed it's audience about how Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is politically posturing to become president... but what about minnesota, while this man thinks of what he can do for himself, i wanna know what he is and isn't doing for the state of minnesota...I mean come on with all the time this guy seems to have on running for a political office that's another two years away is really sicken me. these career governors and senators need to get off their high horse and get something tangible done for the american people

    December 16, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. californian Independent

    with all the time on tim's hands he must be a lame duck in the state of minnesota now.

    December 16, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  3. Lives in MN

    Pawlenty's health care track record?!? His great budget-balancing?!? I would suggest that the people of New Hampshire dig a little deeper than Pawlenty's statements promoting himself. As governor (he never even reached 50% of votes here and only won because we have a strong Indpendent party that takes votes away from Democratic candidates) Pawlenty kicked 35,000 of Minnesota's poorest people off of their healthcare which is bad enough, but it also caused repurcussions in that it placed much heavier burdens on the hospital emergency rooms that have to treat these people when they show up. Minnesota's main trauma center had to lay off over 1,000 people (in this economy!) due to budget problems caused by Pawlenty's actions and property taxes are going to rise as well in the county in where this hospital is located. Pawlenty "balanced" the budget by measures such as his taking away health insurance, taking away state government aid to small towns and cities that funds their police, fire, libraries, road maintenance, etc., and property taxes have skyrocketed because these cities still need to provide those necessary services.

    December 16, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. Mtrought

    I must admire pawlenty to think that he can convince persons who are going to benefit from this health care bill that they should vate against it. Republicans otherwise called rich people because I do not know any sensible lower middle class who would not be for this bill and who make up the majority of the population.

    The Republicans are like kids in the schoolyard who do not want t share the lunch which everybody contributed in taxes anyway

    December 16, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  5. Ted

    Pawlenty will find that the stoic citizens of New Hampshire don't care about his blue collar upbringing. they want to know what he will do about real issues, the issues that Bush created and that Obama is dealing with.

    He needs to understand the state motto – LIVE FREE OR DIE

    December 16, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. simp

    CNN it appears that you are the only ones obsessed with this loser running for president, I haven't seen or heard to much at all from the other networks about this clown. Pawlenty is such a wierner. He is such a weak bag of bones and I for one am so unimpressed with this guy. He has as much chance to be taken seriously and that idiot palin.

    December 16, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Linda from Minnesota

    I can only shake my head. My once great state has been devastated by Tim Pawlenty. Bridges falling, safety nets for the poorest taken away. Lord help us if he is ever elected President.

    December 16, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  8. Jim

    Gosh, I never heard Gov. Pawlenty talk abou deficts while George Bush was president. And I wonder how he would have dealt with the financial meltdown and the threat of a deflationary spiral. There is no fiscal policy besides stimulus for dealing with deflation.

    December 16, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  9. Wiz Kid

    It's hard to read this or any other board anymore. So full of vitriol from both sides. I believe these boards are but a snapshot of greater society today. It would be nice if we could try and focus on positive things instead of being so negative. A good example is how the media are beating poor Tiger Woods to death. Did he screw up? Yep, sure did. But, do people have to continually bring it up on the late night shows?

    Every time they doit to try and get a laugh, they are dragging his wife and kids through the whole mess again (by proxy). Same on this board, anytime there's a Sarah Palin bit, you can guarantee 300 comments. If you don't like her, spare your comment.

    December 16, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  10. Kevin

    I'm from Minnesota and work in education. We have a serious budget and deficit problem and this guy is spending more time out of state than in. He's going to leave this state in a financial disaster and he doesn't even care. If the GOP is looking to nominate either Palin or Pawlenty they are in big trouble.

    December 16, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. Linda from Minnesota

    His health care record? His health care record is the elimination of general assistance to the poorest who will have NO healthcare. Cuts to Hennepin County Medical Center who will lose $50 million this year. His health care record is abysmal.

    December 16, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. AJ

    He and Santorum need to be running mates. That would make the hate filled bigots in the republican party wild with joy!!

    December 16, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. John

    Pawlenty is a lightweight politician who stands no chance of winning. It is doubtful if he can even command an audience of 100 during the campaign.

    December 16, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. hongli

    This guy has more shame than good hanging over his human image. Could someone in Minnesota give him a BROWN PAPER BAG to cover his head before he goes to any other city. He is a DISGRACE like so many Republicans screwing America up.

    December 16, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. Fenarkleman

    Pawlenty who? Never heard of him.

    December 16, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. Emma

    I am sorry to hear he is still interested in becoming the President. There is an up-side, though, and that is that he may actually help the Democrats garner votes by running against them.

    December 16, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. Deb n Texas

    He could head where ever he wishes. Democrats have a lot to say about them in the elections to come. Those Republicans are so disgraceful and shameful.

    December 16, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Little Timmy wants to get the U.S. back on the edge of a depression, so he can show us once and for all, tax cuts for the wealthy lead to economic disaster.

    December 16, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. KMAN

    Apparently, Pawlenty simply doesn't realize what an unimpressive fellow he actually is ... his chances of becoming president are about as good as my own and I'm not running!

    December 16, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. welches, oregon

    Oh this is gonna be fun watching Pawlenty and Palin duke it out! LOL!

    December 16, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  21. Chris D.

    I do understand what the GOP is doing......capitalizing on the misfortunes of the country........However when unemployment turns around, in the next five months, the GOP, will be caught w/ their collective pants down.
    What will they complain of then? It's hilarious....you can complain about debt when it's not being addressed, but when it's addressed this coming year, then what? You can attack the DEMS as job killers, but when unemployment goes down, then what? You can complain of trials against terrorist, and gitmo closing down, but when justice is served, then what? The GOP has kept one Bush tradition........and that's the art of pre-emptive war..........
    This too will backfire.

    December 16, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  22. mcsummit1

    May not be as grandiloquent as Obama but America, watch this guy!!

    December 16, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  23. Matt

    The GOP needs to focus less on 'expanding the party' and focus more on limiting the size of government, reducing the debt and pushing for individual freedoms.

    The democrats are focused on making America too expensive to run a business (or hire workers), curbing individual freedoms based on the supposed good of the collective, bringing down the rich (while sparing themselves–according to tax records, Obama doesn't really donate to the poor - 1.6%), paying off labor unions and community groups to help keep them in office, and funneling money to their friends, families and areas (bribes and corruption).

    Just run an honest campaign and let the people know what's going on AND then do what you say you will (and not under the cover of darkness like the Obama administration).

    December 16, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. Steve

    Pawlenty 2012 isn't going to happen........go home and govern your state.

    December 16, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  25. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    I confess, I do but if Gov Pawlenty does make a run, I'm gonna consider him. Don't make me go back to my old days, I really don't want to. I believe in Democratic agendas. Yes I do believe that some(NOT ALL) government should help out but if they are stupid enough, then what's the point of imploring and seeking?

    I registered as a Dem(will change it though) but I will closely monitor other influential GOP contestants, like the Gov here. He's a badass! I've always respect him and appreciated him, does a good job and what more can you ask for? I even thought Senator McCain was gonna pick him as his V.P but never thought he would choose a girl(coodies!!!, :)

    I like Gov Pawlenty, he's a conservative by hand and a fighter by mouth. Good combination, by the way. Kind of reminds me of me, :)

    But we'll see which other contestants make the stage and will open up for this challenge and NOT be afraid. Don't be afraid GOP, don't be shy in this day and age. Speak your mind but most importantly, wanana be like Reagan, gonna have to be BOLD and trust me, you can. Is just a matter of how well you do it and how you define "bold."

    But will consider him...

    December 16, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
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