Pawlenty Drops Out After 3rd Place Straw Poll Finish

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is ending his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, after finishing third in Saturday’s Iowa Straw Poll:

“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.

Politics is largely a game of expectations, so perhaps the the former Minnesota governor had set his own bar too high in Iowa. Pawlenty had said before the straw poll that he needed to finish first or second for his campaign to remain viable. But he had invested well over a million dollars of campaign cash and a year of hard work organizing and campaigning in the Hawkeye State.

Although Pawlenty had sent out an email to supporters last night bravely vowing to continue his campaign, after a late night conference call with his advisors and donors, the apparent consensus was that the financial support was not there for his campaign to continue.

- JP

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