Two-term Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced last week he won’t seek a third term.
“I am incredibly grateful for the support and trust the people of Minnesota have given me during my two terms as governor,” Pawlenty, 48, said at a news conference.
Pawlenty said he was proud that the state is the first in the region in annual per capita income; first in the county in Fortune 500 companies per capita; first in the nation in average ACT test scores; and ranked the “Healthiest state in the Nation” according to the CQ Press study Health Care State Rankings 2008.
The governor counted as accomplishments his creation of expanded services for veterans, providing funding for a memorial to the state’s World War II veterans, dealing with a series of budget deficits without major tax increases, moving Minnesota out of the top 10 taxed states, reducing state government growth and implementing new education standards.
He was considered as a vice presidential candidate in the 2008 election but nominee John McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Some believe Pawlenty could be considering a presidential run in 2012. He said he was not “ruling anything in or out” during his news conference.
Pawlenty, a lawyer, began serving as a state representative in 1992 and became House majority leader after the GOP took control of the chamber in 1998. He successfully ran for governor in 2002 and narrowly won re-election in 2006.
Pawlenty also has seen Republicans lose control of the House during his tenure, and the Senate is also controlled by Democrats. Differences between the parties resulted in a partial government shutdown two years ago when the state began the new fiscal biennium without a budget.