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Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty arrives in the Spin Room after a Republican presidential candidate debate in Charleston, South Carolina. Photo by Eric Thayer/Reuters

Tim Pawlenty says he won’t run for Al Franken’s Senate seat

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he won’t run this year for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Democrat Al Franken.

The two-term Republican governor and one-time presidential candidate had considered a bid in the weeks since Franken resigned due to sexual misconduct allegations.

Pawlenty’s fundraising prowess and deep connections made him a prized recruit for Republicans who saw a surprise chance to flip the seat.

But he told Fox Business on Tuesday that he wouldn’t run this year. He cited the 10-month sprint to Election Day in “a tough state for Republicans.” State Sen. Karin Housley is the only Republican in the race.

Democratic Sen. Tina Smith was appointed to immediately replace Franken. She’s also running for the seat in the November election.

Pawlenty says he’s still weighing options for public service.

WATCH: Sen. Franken says he ‘let a lot of people down’ amid sexual misconduct allegations

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