Ex-governor Tim Pawlenty filed the needed paperwork Monday with state campaign finance regulators to make a 2018 run for governor. But he said that while he is raising money toward a campaign, he's not yet officially in the race.
Pawlenty needed to open an account after raising or spending at least $750. He's been raising money, including a Florida fundraiser, and sending signals for months that he intends to run.
In a statement Monday, Pawlenty said he was optimistic about Minnesota's future and that he "will make a final announcement soon."
If he runs, he'll be trying to succeed DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, the man who replaced him in 2011 after Pawlenty stepped away voluntarily following two terms as governor. Democrats have been pounding Pawlenty already for his time as a banking industry lobbyist and for actions he took as governor.
Pawlenty would have competition for the Republican nomination. Former Minnesota Republican Party Chair Keith Downey, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, Woodbury Mayor Mary Guiliani Stephens and Naval reservist Phillip Parrish are all currently seeking to be the GOP's nominee.