Tim Pawlenty (born November 27, 1960) is an American politician. He is the 39th governor of Minnesota starting his term on January 6, 2003.
Tim Pawlenty had served as the majority leader in the Minnesota House of Representatives prior to being elected governor, beginning his term in the House in 1992. He earned his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Minnesota. His wife, Mary Pawlenty, is a district judge in Dakota County. He is a Republican.
Tim Pawlenty had originally planned to seek the US Senate seat in 2002. Several national Republican leaders including Vice President Dick Cheney, asked him to step aside to allow Norm Coleman to challenge Paul Wellstone. Pawlenty then decided to run for governor. The race saw four major-party candidates (the Republican, Democratic, Independence, and Green parties were all considered to be "major" by the state at the time). Pawlenty ran against Roger Moe (Democratic), Tim Penny (Independence), and Ken Pentel (Green).
He campaigned in 2002 on a pledge not to raise taxes to balance the state's budget deficit. He also supported requiring visa expiration dates on driver's licenses, a 24 hour waiting period on abortions, implementing the state's conceal-carry gun law and changing the state's education requirements. During the 2003 session, all these issues were passed except the "expiration dates on driver licenses".