Minn. Gov. Pawlenty won’t seek 3rd term in 2010

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty erased one doubt about his political future while blowing open another, passing Tuesday on a third-term bid while declining to say if he’ll set his sights on the White House. Pawlenty dismissed talk of a 2012 Republican presidential campaign as premature, saying he would focus on the next 19 months to finish his term strong.

But he said he wouldn’t hesitate to travel the country on behalf of a party he thinks needs refreshing. He’ll be in Washington on Friday to address the College Republicans.

“I’m going to try to lend voice to the need to raise issues and ideas for my party here and elsewhere if I’m asked,” Pawlenty said, “because I think we need new ideas and faces in the party. That’s a collateral activity – something I will do as a volunteer.”