Pawlenty's Next Move: Senate Run? GOP divided over lessons of former governor's exit By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Aug 15, 2011 9:30 AM CDT 10 comments Comments Tim Pawlenty speaks on ABC's "This Week" in Ames, Iowa, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2011. (AP Photo/ABC News) (Newser) – Now that Tim Pawlenty is no longer eyeing the White House, could his new target be a Senate seat? The head of the Minnesota GOP hopes so. “I think he'd make a heck of a candidate,” Tony Sutton tells Minnesota Public Radio. Pawlenty earlier rejected the idea of running against incumbent Sen. Amy Kobuchar next year, but that’s probably because he was still seeking the presidency at the time, says Sutton. “If you asked him today he'd probably say he wasn't thinking about it,” he notes. But “I think his future's bright.” Minnesotans offer a range of explanations for Pawlenty’s poor showing in the Iowa straw poll. His former lieutenant governor says Michele Bachmann’s victory proves that Republicans have to go far right to come out on top. Other Republicans, however, suggest that Pawlenty simply needed to take stronger stances. “He's been said to be a very nice person. And maybe that has worked to his detriment,” noted one. “I think we need to have people who are willing to say, 'I can't compromise on this.'"