ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Republican Governors Association is planning a $2.3 million advertising buy for the Minnesota governor’s race just days after former Gov. Tim Pawlenty entered.

The ad reservation — which the RGA can cancel if it wishes — is a show of faith that a powerful national group believes Pawlenty can win the left-leaning state in November.

Group spokesman Jon Thompson called Minnesota a top pick-up opportunity for Republicans due to Pawlenty’s entrance.

The ads will run on broadcast news channels in the final six weeks leading up to the November election. Reserving the commercial space early allows political groups to lock in lower advertising rates.

That’s critical this year in Minnesota, which also has two U.S. Senate elections, at least four competitive congressional campaigns and other statewide races.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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