Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) bucked his own party and endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in New York's special congressional election.
A number of GOP 2012 presidential hopefuls have lined up behind Hoffman, who is running against Republican Dede Scozzafava and Democrat Bill Owens. The election will take place in November to replace former Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.) who was tapped by President Barack Obama to serve as Army Secretary.
Pawlenty tweeted the endorsement after it was first reported on the conservative blog RedState:
More from The Hill's Reid Wilson:
Pawlenty, who has raised his profile in recent weeks as he lays the foundations for a possible presidential bid, becomes the latest candidate to support Hoffman over Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R), the candidate selected by local party leaders to carry the Republican standard.
"We cannot send more politicians to Washington who wear the Republican jersey on the campaign trail but then vote like Democrats in Congress on issues like card-check and taxes," Pawlenty said. "After reviewing the candidates’ positions, I’m endorsing Doug Hoffman in New York’s special election. Doug understands the federal government needs to quit spending so much, will vote against tax increases and protect[s] key values like the right to vote in private in union elections."
As they seek favor with conservative organizations and activists key to winning their party's nomination, several potential candidates have announced they support Hoffman.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) called Hoffman a candidate who would stand against politics as usual. Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) said on Friday that a vote for Hoffman is a vote for a conservative Republican. And former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) campaigned with Hoffman last week.
And in an effort to distinguish himself as a more conservative candidate, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) — running against Rep. Jerry Moran (R) in a Senate primary — announced last week that he would support Hoffman.
Meanwhile, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) is backing Scozzafava, arguing that supporting the Republican nominee is the more practical path.
Other candidates, like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), have said they will not get involved on either candidate's behalf.