MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he won't be running for the U.S. Senate.
In an interview Tuesday with FOX Business, the Republican shut the door on the possibility that he'd lend his considerable name recognition to the race against Democratic Sen. Tina Smith in November.
"It's going to be a very competitive race in a state that's very tough for a Republican," Pawlenty told FOX host Neil Cavuto. "So you have to start very soon."
Pawlenty is one of few high-profile Republicans that pundits thought might enter the race. Another is former Rep. Michele Bachmann, who told a televangelist last month that she's considering a run.
On Monday, Republican state Sen. Karin Housley officially announced her candidacy. She is the wife Phil Housley, a Hall of Fame hockey player and the current head coach of the Buffalo Sabres.
The special election in November comes after Al Franken resigned his seat in the wake of several sexual misconduct allegations. Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Smith, his former lieutenant governor, to the seat.
Already, the special election is attracting national attention. Both parties combined are expected to spend more than $20 million to win the seat.
Pawlenty served as Minnesota's governor from 2003 to 2011. He told FOX that he's still interested in serving.
"I'm interested in continuing to serve, but there's a variety of ways to do that," Pawlenty said. "Running for the U.S. Senate won't be one of them."
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