Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 4:46 PM
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who officially opened his 2012 presidential bid last week, will be in Cleveland Wednesday for the Cuyahoga County Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day dinner. Ideastream's Bill Rice reports.
Pawlenty joins two others - Former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer and Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain - as the only Republicans so far to establish an exploratory committee, which is usually the first official step in a run for office.
Numerous other well known GOP names are seen as potential contenders but have yet to formally announce - among them former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.
County GOP Chairman Rob Frost believes most are still shoring up their ability to garner support and raise the kind of money it will take for a presidential run.
Frost: "For any candidate, and surely you see it borne out with Governor Pawlenty's methodical approach, they want to make sure they've got that plan in place, and clearly he does. And so I think you won't see other very credible strong candidates announce until they're at that point."
Pawlenty is the featured guest and speaker for the Lincoln Day event that Frost expects to draw some 800 GOP supporters. Other speakers include State Auditor Dave Yost, Secretary of State Jon Husted, and Treasurer Josh Mandel, who some are courting to run against democratic Senator Sherrod Brown.