REDSTATE EXCLUSIVE: Tim Pawlenty Endorses Doug Hoffman

With polling now showing NY-23 has come down to a two man race between Hoffman and Owens, the Democrat, momentum is clearly in Hoffman’s favor. Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota is now adding to the momentum becoming the first sitting Republican Governor to endorse Hoffman. This comes on the heels of Sarah Palin’s endorsement from last week.What makes this stand out even more than the Palin endorsement is that Pawlenty has not been seen as diverging with the Republican establishment. He’s not seen as the maverick that Palin is.But Pawlenty has a huge amount of stature inside the Republican establishment, more so than Palin. That he is now willing to come out in favor of Hoffman is going to resonate among the Republican establishment in ways Palin’s endorsement will not.And it now sets up battle lines for 2012. I still don’t think Palin is going to run, but even were she, we now have two candidates, a former Governor and Vice Presidential candidate and a sitting Governor and potential 2012 candidate breaking with the establishment in favor of the Republican base.Governor Pawlenty sent RedState the following statement:

“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. 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 key values like the right to vote in private in union elections.”

Now we’re going to have to ask where the other 2012 candidates are. Who else is willing to be brave and bold. Who else will defy the beltway and stand with the heartland? Conservative activists have legitimately made New York’s 23rd Congressional District a Hill to Die On. The GOP establishment must know that it will either win with us or lose without us.And now we are seeing who is willing to stand with us on this Hill. Tim Pawlenty, today, proves he is willing to put principle above party. Tim Pawlenty is willing to stand with the Republican Base, the tea party activists, and the Conservative Movement.When 2012 rolls around, Palin and Pawlenty’s boldness will be remembered. Which of the other potential candidates will side with conservatives over the beltway establishment?And we should also remember Fred Thompson, the Club for Growth, Dick Armey, Rick Santorum, Steve Forbes and other real conservatives — all of whom have gone all in for Doug Hoffman.