Pawlenty isn't convinced Romney will win Minnesota
February 1, 2012 — 6:00pm
By Baird Helgeson
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Wednesday could not guarantee that GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney would win the Minnesota caucuses next week.
In a conference call hours before Romney's scheduled visit to Eagan, Pawlenty said the low turnout of the state's caucuses make predictions difficult.
"I think he will do well, but I certainly can't predict who will win," said Pawlenty, who became Romney's campaign co-chairman after dropping out of the presidential race after the Iowa caucuses.
The former Massachusetts governor is coming off a strong win in a bitterly contested Florida primary, clearly establishing himself as the front-runner. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas Rep. Ron Paul are also vying for the GOP nomination.
Pawlenty said Gingrich has a long history visiting the state and Paul's grassroots supporters could give him a much stronger finish than his last-place poll numbers indicate.
In 2008, Romney crushed Sen. John McCain in the Minnesota caucuses 41 percent to 22 percent. McCain went on to win the nomination.
A Duluth native who just barely lost Virginia's GOP gubernatorial primary said that politicians have not gone far enough in condemning the left for violence during a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville. "I think that the left is going to try to use this as an excuse to crack down on conservative free speech," said Corey Stewart. "I think they're going to try to use this as an excuse to remove more historical monuments."