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Pawlenty to skip GOP endorsing convention, going straight to primary

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty Forum News Service file photo

ST. PAUL --Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has announced he plans to skip early June’s Republican state convention and go straight to the Aug.14 primary, drawing sharp criticism from another GOP candidate in the race and the Democratic party.

Pawlenty’s decision means he won’t be seeking the party’s endorsement.

In a statement Tuesday, his campaign said the two-term governor entered the race too late for to have a “fair fight” for the endorsement.

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, viewed as the front-runner for endorsement, said in a statement Tuesday, Pawlenty “claims to be the ‘A Team’ and the only strong Republican in the race, but a strong candidate would be able to win the support of the most active Republicans in MN. If he can’t even compete for the support of his base, he’ll be a disaster in the General Election.”

The Democratic Governors Association said in a statement, “recent Wall Street lobbyist Tim Pawlenty, who represents the perfect ideal of everything voters are rejecting in the Trump-era, will forgo courting base Republican activists because he is afraid he will lose the convention process.”

Also in the Republican race is Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens.

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