Outgoing Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he regrets not seeking a third term now that the Republicans are taking over the Legislature in the Gopher State, the Duluth News Tribune reports
. Pawlenty, a potential 2012 presidential aspirant, said he wouldn’t have given up his office if he had known then what he knows now, “given what I've been through and hoped to accomplish," but Minnesota Democrats thwarted.
Republican Tom Emmer lost the race to succeed Pawlenty to Democrat Mark Dayton in a close contest in November.
“But you can't predict the future,” Pawlenty told the Tribune. “And of course, I made my decision after the 2008 election when President [Barack] Obama and the Democrats swept everything . . . Hindsight is 20/20.”
Pawlenty's regret comes at a time when many political insiders believe he is laying the groundwork for a GOP presidential nomination bid in 2012. He kicks off a book tour for his memoir, “Courage to Stand,” in January on a trip that includes Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida, Minnesota, Ohio, and Texas, all important primary states.
Pawlenty also has launched a political action committee to explore his presidential options and has hired a full-time staffer in Iowa. Political operatives who ran President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign in 2004 reportedly also have joined Pawlenty’s team. He says an announcement to run for president could come as early as March.
A recent SurveyUSA poll of Minnesotans shows Pawlenty’s job approval rating at 42 percent, with 52 percent disapproving. In addition, 63 percent think he should not run for president, while 28 percent said he should run.
"If I don't run for president, I'm going to open a margarita bar in South Florida and play Kenny Chesney music," Pawlenty recently told KAAL-TV in Rochester.
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