Pawlenty planning Washington visit

Likely GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty will visit the nation's capital in the coming weeks as he continues to build support for his 2012 campaign.

Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), Pawlenty's chief backer in Congress, told The Hill last Thursday that the former Minnesota governor will travel to Washington to meet with small groups of House Republican lawmakers. 

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Alex Conant, a spokesman for Pawlenty's exploratory committee, on Wednesday confirmed the visit will happen in the "next few weeks," but that a firm date has not been set.

Pawlenty's visit could soothe any remaining frayed nerves from last month, when he frustrated House Republicans by opposing a bipartisan deal designed to avert a government shutdown.

The ex-governor has also said he plans to release his own budget plan, distinct from that of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which is backed by nearly every House Republican.

For the past few weeks, Pawlenty has criss-crossed the country meeting potential voters and donors to try to fill his campaign coffers, boost his name recognition and jolt his flagging numbers in the polls. 

Pawlenty is holding a major fundraiser in Minneapolis on Wednesday, at which Kline and Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) are serving as honorary co-chairmen.

Conant said that the rest of Pawlenty's D.C. agenda is "to be announced."


—Russell Berman contributed.