A lifelong Minnesotan, Tim Pawlenty was governor of his home state from 2003 until 2011. Tim Pawlenty grew up in St. Paul and got an undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota (1983), then a law degree from the same school in 1986. Pawlenty practiced labor law, including a decade at the firm of Rider, Bennett, Eagan & Arundel, and worked briefly as an Internet executive. A Republican, he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1992, becoming House majority leader in 1999. He was elected governor in 2002 after campaigning on a conservative anti-abortion, no-new-taxes platform. He was reelected in 2006. His conservative positions earned him national attention in 2008, when he was named prominently as a potential running mate for GOP presidential candidate John McCain
-- a spot that eventually went to Sarah Palin
instead. Pawlenty chose not to run again for governor in 2010, and he was succeeded by Mark Dayton of the Democatic-Farmer-Labor Party. Pawlenty announced on 20 March 2011 that he was forming a presidential exploratory committee, becoming the first Republican to indicate that he would run for the job of U.S. president in 2012. He announced his candidacy formally on 23 May 2011, but dropped out of the race 14 August 2011.