Pawlenty Drops Out of Presidential Race After Disappointing Straw Poll Finish

By Evan Harris

Aug 14, 2011 9:08am

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is dropping out of the Republican presidential contest, after a disappointing third place finish in the Iowa Straw Poll yesterday.

“We needed to get some lift to continue on and have a pathway forward,” Pawlenty said this morning in an exclusive interview on “This Week.” "That didn’t happen, so I’m announcing this morning on your show that I’m going to be ending my campaign for president.”

“I’m very, very grateful for the people of Iowa,” Pawlenty added. “I wish it would have been different, but obviously the pathway forward for me doesn’t really exist, so we’re going to end the campaign.”

Pawlenty finished with 2,293 votes, giving him 14 percent of the total ballots cast – more than 2,500 votes behind winner Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) who finished with 28 percent of the vote, and runner-up Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who was close behind with 27 percent.

The former Minnesota governor was reportedly planning to spend a total of around $1.5 million on his Iowa campaign from his launch in late May through mid-August.

Despite better resources and organization in Iowa, Pawlenty was only able to beat fourth-place finisher Rick Santorum by just over 600 votes.

Pawlenty sent out an email to supporters last night titled, “Just the Beginning” congratulating Bachmann on the straw poll win, but vowing to continue his campaign.

“As I've said all along, we needed to show progress to do well, and we did just that. This is a long process to restore America — we are just beginning, and I'm eager for the campaign,” the email to supporters read.

But the weak showing at the Iowa Straw Poll proved to be too large a blow for the campaign to continue.


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