"...today, I'm announcing the formation of an exploratory committee to run for President of the United States."
The exploratory committee would clear the way for Pawlenty to raise money and hire campaign staff while requiring him to file formal paperwork with the Federal Election Commission...
A top Pawlenty adviser, Phil Musser, urged supporters during the call to wait until April to make campaign donations so the money shows up in the fundraising report for the April-to-June period and not the one for the first three months of this year, when Pawlenty was on a book tour and not aggressively raising cash. The campaign would be based in Minnesota...
Early fundraising numbers are one of the earliest tests of a candidate's viability.
Romney advisers say not to expect his announcement this month. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour says he will wait until his state legislature completes its work in April.
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's term as the United States' ambassador to China ends at the end of April and his supporters are planning a May announcement. Others, such as former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, are calling activists in the early nominating states but have not yet made a public declaration.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography