By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Monday he is “politically retired,” brushing off speculation that he is considering another run for office.

So far, sixteen candidates are running for governor, including eight Republicans. But attention is focusing on Pawlenty, who’s not even in the race.

After his time in the governor’s office, Pawlenty became a Washington business lobbyist, telling audiences to get ready for remarkable changes ahead.

He spoke of a “fourth industrial revolution” in technology and artificial intelligence that will transform every part of our lives, from health care to home building.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of selling it,” Pawlenty said. “It’s going to be delivered. It’s going to show up.”

Pawlenty’s recent speeches are raising speculation about his own future in politics.

On Twitter, Pawlenty says he’s not in on the gubernatorial race…but he doesn’t exactly rule it out.

“I am politically retired, and there’s no change in that status,” he said. “So you should plan with that in mind.”

Currently in the race, there are eight declared Republican candidates some 13 months before the election.

Political analyst Larry Jacobs says some big name Republicans turned down offers to run for governor, adding that, if he wanted to, Pawlenty could “clear the field.”

“Because he would be the big name, he would draw a lot of cash to him,” Jacobs said. “And he would find some real reception in the Republican Party.”

Pawlenty is currently president of the Washington-based Financial Services Roundtable, which is working on tax reform.

Pawlenty’s comments were made following an address he gave at the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.


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