COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio Auditor David Yost has endorsed former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty for the 2012 presidential race, becoming the first statewide elected official to pick a favorite.
Yost, a Republican, made the endorsement Tuesday. Pawlenty announced his candidacy last week.
As the political swing state's top fiscal cop, Ohio's Yost praised Pawlenty for the conservative way he led Minnesota. In a statement on the race, Yost says Pawlenty balanced the state budget without raising taxes, appointed conservative Supreme Court justices, and led market-based reforms of Minnesota's health care system.
Yost won the auditor's office in November 2010. He took office in January.
No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)