Fmr. GOP Minnesota Gov. Won't Run in Senate Special Election

January 16, 2018

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R.) put an end to rumors Tuesday that he might run in Minnesota's special election to fill the seat left open by Al Franken.

Pawlenty told Fox Business anchor Neil Cavuto that while he is "very interested in public service," running for U.S. Senate in 2018 won't be part of his plans.

"Well Neil, I am very interested in public service and service for the common good; there are lots of different ways to do that, but I'll tell you today that running for the United States Senate in 2018 won't be part of those plans," Pawlenty said.

Cavuto pushed the former governor on his plans, asking if he wasn't even going to hear out some of those who believe Minnesota Republicans need a "bigger name" to take on former Lt. Gov Tina Smith (D.) who was temporarily appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton (D.) in December to serve in Franken's place.

"I certainly appreciate that type of encouragement and people thinking of me in those terms, but if anybody's going to run for the United State Senate this November, that's now only ... 10 months away," Pawlenty said. "It's going to be a very competitive race and a tough state for a Republican, so you would have to start very soon."

"Like I said, I'm interested in continuing to serve, but there's a variety ways to do that; running for U.S. Senate this year won't be one of them," Pawlenty added.

Smith initially said she would not run in the special election to permanently replace Franken, but later decided she would, in fact, run in the election set to take place in November 2018.

Rumors of other possible Republican candidates include Reps. Tom Emmer and Erik Paulsen, former State Sen. Majority Leader Amy Koch, and State Sen. Julie Rosen.

State Sen. Karin Housley (R.) announced her candidacy on Monday. She has been elected to public office twice: once in 2012 and again in 2016.