Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has made public his interest in the Republican presidential nomination by forming an exploratory committee for the 2012 election.
Pawlenty, a former two-term governor, unveiled his exploratory committee in a video posted on his Facebook page on Monday. In the video, he promised that together with Americans “we will restore America again.”
He is now the second Republican candidate, after Georgia businessman Herman Cain, to establish an exploratory committee. The committee will allow Pawlenty to raise more money for a possible run.
In his video, Pawlenty (nicknamed T-Paw by his Tea Party supporters) describes his platform as one focused on limiting government spending, growing the job market and cutting entitlements. He also gives supporters a sneak peek of his agenda on his committee website. His top issue is the economy.
A Gallup poll released this month reveals that 71 percent of Americans worry about the economy. Additionally, 64 percent of respondents also worry about federal spending. A slightly smaller majority, 58 percent, expressed great concern for Pawlenty’s number two issue, health care.
The former Minnesota governor also shared that he would focus on national security and education.
Prior to the formal launch of his exploratory committee, Pawlenty released the book Courage to Stand about his Christian principles and the role they have played in his political career.
Pawlenty is an evangelical Christian and said at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, “We as a nation need to turn towards God, not away from God.” He attends Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minn., where the pastor is Leith Anderson, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals.
Recently, Pawlenty has visited several key states including New Hampshire, Iowa, Florida and Virginia.
Several other Republican leaders, such as former Govs. Mick Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, have also made rounds to key states. All three of these GOP figures have been at the top of Gallup polls measuring Republican voter support. On the same polls, Pawlenty has hovered among the lower ranks with about 3 percent support.
On CBN’s “The Brody File,” fellow former Minnesota politician John Vincent Weber said of Pawlenty's popularity, “I think the fact that he has lesser name recognition than some of the front runners like Mitt Romney, my friend Newt Gingrich and others is both a challenge and an opportunity because he can define himself and introduce himself to people without having a lot of pre-conceived notions about who he is.”
The Star Tribune has since reported that Weber, a former U.S. congressman, will be Pawlenty’s policy advisor. Pawlenty's paperwork shows that he has also tapped Mark Kennedy, a Minnesota congressman from 2001 to 2006, to be his treasurer.