Tim Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty Biography.com

Governor, Lawyer(1960–)
Attorney and politician Tim Pawlenty is a former Republican Minnesota state senator, and served as governor of Minnesota from 2003 to 2009.

Synopsis

Tim Pawlenty was born on November 27, 1960, in South St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1992, he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives, and became Republican House majority leader in 1999. He was re-elected as a state representative four times. In 2003, he became the governor of Minnesota. In the summer of 2009, Pawlenty announced his decision not to seek a third term as Minnesota's governor.

Early Life

Timothy James Pawlenty was born on November 27, 1960, in South St. Paul, Minnesota. After earning both his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Minnesota. While obtaining his legal degree, he began working for the law firm of Rider, Bennett, Egan and Arundel.

In 1988, Pawlenty began working as political director for U.S. Sen. David Durenberger, a Republican, for whom Pawlenty had previously interned. He had also worked on Durenberger's campaign in the early 1980s, as an undergraduate student.

Political Career

Pawlenty made his true entrance into politics in 1989, when he was elected to the Eagan City Council in Minnesota. A few years later, in 1992, he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives, representing Dakota County, and became Republican House majority leader in 1999. Pawlenty was re-elected as a state representative four times.

Though Pawlenty had originally planned to seek a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2001, several Republican leaders, including Vice President Dick Cheney, asked him to step aside to allow Norm Coleman to challenge Paul Wellstone. Pawlenty then decided to run for governor to succeed Jesse Ventura. His campaign focused on socially conservative values; he emphasized his pro-life stance and opposition to gay rights, as well as keeping taxes minimal, while campaigning.

The race saw four major-party candidates, including Pawlenty (Republican) Roger Moe (Democratic), Tim Penny (Independent), and Ken Pentel (Green). Pawlenty campaigned in 2002 on a pledge not to raise taxes to balance the state's budget deficit. He also supported requiring visa expiration dates on driver's licenses, a 24-hour waiting period on abortions, implementing the state's conceal-carry gun law and changing the state's education requirements.

Pawlenty became the 39th governor of Minnesota, beginning his term on January 6, 2003. He was re-elected in 2006. After balancing the state's budget during his first term, the economic downturn that was endured globally in 2008 caused Minnesota to face a $6 billion-plus deficit by the end of Pawlenty's second term, in 2009.

Pawlenty co-chaired Republican presidential candidate John McCain's campaign during the 2008 presidential election, and was deemed by the media as a possible running mate for McCain. However, the vice-presidential nomination went to Republican Sarah Palin, Alaska's governor at the time.

In the summer of 2009, Pawlenty publicly announced his decision not to seek a third term as Minnesota's governor. He left office a year and a half later, in January of 2011. In May of 2011, Pawlenty announced his candidacy in the 2012 presidential election. However, after several months, and little success at gaining public traction, he withdrew from the race. Soon after, he announced that he would endorse Republican candidate Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, for the presidental nomination.

In 2012, news outlets began to identify Pawlenty as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney, in his 2012 presidential bid. In May of 2012, Pawlenty reportedly stated that he wasn't ruling out the possibility of being selected by Romney, though months earlier, he had told interviewers that he was not likely a top pick.

Personal Life

Pawlenty married Mary Elizabeth Anderson, a district judge in Dakota County, Minnesota, in 1987. They have two daughters, Anna and Mara. Pawlenty wrote an autobiography, Courage to Stand: An American Story, which was published in 2010.

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