Former Minnesota Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty on Thursday stepped down as co-chair of Mitt Romney’s campaign to become the CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, one of K Street’s most prestigious jobs in Washington, D.C.
Romney said Pawlenty “brought energy, intelligence and tireless dedication to every enterprise in which he’s ever been engaged, and that certainly includes my presidential campaign.”
“While I regret he cannot continue as co-chair of my campaign, his new position advancing the integrity of our financial system is vital to the future of our country,” Romney said.
Pawlenty said his acceptance of the job meant he would not be considered for a future cabinet position in a Romney administration. Pawlenty had also been rumored as a potential challenger to Minnesota Senator Al Franken (D) in 2014, but that is highly unlikely to happen now.
Pawlenty, the blue-collar candidate who always spoke about representing the Sam’s Club voter, will move to Washington, D.C. to start his job, which some think pays as much as $1.8 million a year, on November 1.
Tom Wilson, the group’s chairman and CEO of Allstate, said, according to The Hill, that the Roundtable considered more than 100 candidates, including Sens. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AK).
“He is exactly the kind of leader we need to continue to improve our industry’s reputation, advocate firm but fair regulation and help maintain our global leadership of the financial markets,” Wilson said.
Pawlenty said he took the job to help the group “reestablish a positive reputation.”
“You don’t just get trust,” Pawlenty said. “You earn it.”
The Roundtable does not favor repealing the Dodd-Frank Law and Pawlenty said “regulations need to be firm and fair and not overreach so far that they become counterproductive to responsible investment and the ignition of economic activity.”