Pawlenty to 'probably' endorse in N.Y. special, expressed doubts about Scozzafava

2012 presidential hopeful Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) said Friday that he will likely endorse a candidate in the contentious New York special House election.

Pawlenty, who is seeking to assert his conservative credentials, expressed doubts about Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava, who many conservatives say holds too many liberal positions. Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman is running to the right of Scozzafava and has attracted the endorsements of several national conservative figures, such as former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska). 

When asked on ABC's "Top Line" webcast if he will endorse a candidate, Pawlenty replied "probably, yeah," but said that he would need to take time to review the candidates' policy positions. 

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But in the interview, Pawlenty only raised issues with Scozzafava and did not address Hoffman.

"As a conservative, I am worried about some of the things I've heard about how the person was selected," he said of Scozzafava.

"The selection of this individual...seems a little cloistered," he continued, raising issue about how the Republican Party selected Scozzafava as a nominee. Critics say that the nomination was not open and thorough enough. The party passed over Hoffman and a number of other candidates for Scozzafava.

"The process may not have been as open as it should have been," Pawlenty added. 

The governor also said that he is "concerned about some of the alleged issue positions that she holds."

Scozzafava, who is a state Assemblywoman, holds several socially liberal policy positions. In the past, she has indicated support for gay marriage and abortion rights. She has also indicated support for union card check leglisation, which conservatives oppose. 

While many national Republicans have shied away from the race or endorsed Hoffman, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) backed Scozzafava, saying Republicans should back her in order to  win back the House.

But Pawlenty seemed to take issue with Gingrich's approach.

"The Republican Party is and will remain a conservative party," he said. "[The] better pathway is to convince Democrats and independents that conservative ideas are worth supporting."

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