Gov. Tim Pawlenty heads to Illinois tomorrow to try to lock up that state's 70 delegates for Sen. John McCain on Super Tuesday.

Pawlenty, a national co-chairman of McCain's presidential campaign, has become a favorite and increasingly high-profile surrogate for McCain.

On Saturday Pawlenty will appear at a Lincoln Day dinner in Peoria, where 1,000 people are expected, and at a fundraiser in Bloomington, Ill. on Saturday afternoon. Another Lincoln Day event in Springfield that had been expected to draw about 1,000 people was unexpectedly cancelled because of regional flooding.

Ben Golnick, former executive director of the Minnesota Republican Party who is coordinating Pawlenty's activities for McCain, said Rudy Giuiliani had been the scheduled headliner at the Illinois events. Giuiliani cancelled his appearances after a crushing defeat in the Florida primary forced him from the presidential race.

Golnick said Pawlenty may campaign for McCain in another state on Sunday but no specific plans have been made.

Patricia Lopez • 651-222-1288