Minnesota’s Republican governor is due in Des Moines on Saturday to headline an Iowa G.O.P. fundraiser, but Governor Tim Pawlenty is downplaying the idea it’s the kick-off for a 2012 presidential campaign.
“I haven’t made any decisions about what I’m going to do after being governor,” Pawlenty said this morning during a telephone conference with Iowa reporters. “…I finish up my term at the end of 2010. I’ll make some decisions shortly after that about my future, but I haven’t ruled anything in and I haven’t ruled anything out. I really don’t know the answer to what I’m going to be doing after I’m done being governor.”
Tonight, Pawlenty is holding a gala in Minneapolis to raise money for his “Freedom First” political action committee. Pawlenty told Iowa reporters he wants to take time over the next year to “speak to ways” the Republican Party can “do better” in the 2010 and 2012 elections.
“Obviously, we did great yesterday, but 2006 and 2008 weren’t so hot for us and we need to improve and I’ve learned some lessons here in governing in Minnesota, in a pretty blue state or a pretty liberal state, and, you know, have been elected and reelected as a mainstream conservative,” Pawlenty said. “And through that, I think I’ve learned some insights and some lessons that I think would help the Republican Party do better in other places and nationally.”
Republicans won Tuesday’s races for governor in New Jersey and Virginia. According to Pawlenty, voters in those two states were “affirming” the economic messages those Republicans were delivering.
“There are many, many other issues, but that is at the heart of the matter,” Pawlenty said, “particularly in these challenging economic times.”
Listen to Pawlenty speak with Iowa reporters here: Pawlenty call 10:34 MP3