Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) played it safe in his latest round of endorsements. 

His Freedom First PAC on Friday endorsed Ohio gubernatorial candidate John Kasich (R), Rep. John Boozman (R) for Senate in Arkansas, Rick Crawford to defeat Democrat Chad Causey in Arkansas's 1st district and Republican Jim Renacci in the race against freshman Rep. John Boccieri (D) Ohio's 16th district.

All these candidates have won their contested primaries to face Democratic opposition in November. Moreover, backing a candidate like Renacci — who's in one of the most targeted House races in the country — doesn't involve going too far out on a limb.

"These are four excellent, conservative candidates," Pawlenty said in a statement, noting that Kasich "is a good friend of mine."

He recently set up state-level PACs in Iowa and New Hampshire to contribute to local candidates, and is expected to run for the GOP White House nod in 2012.