Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty abandoned his presidential campaign early Sunday morning. Pawlenty finished third in yesterday’s straw poll in Iowa. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann won the poll with 29 percent of the vote. Texas Rep. Ron Paul was a close second, garnering 28 percent. Pawlenty managed 13 percent. About 17,000 votes were cast.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (10 percent) and businessman Herman Cain (nine percent) followed in the balloting. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who declared his candidacy yesterday, netted four percent as a write-in candidate. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney received three percent. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter netted less than one-half percent apiece.
Pawlenty committed $1 million to his straw poll effort. That money went toward buying tickets for supporters to attend the event and buses to transform them. Food, drink and entertainment was also there, in addition to staff who organized the endeavor.
Pawlenty led a conference call with key supporters this morning and declared that his bid was ending. He broke the news on a Sunday political talk show. The biggest question now is where will Pawlenty’s donors, staffers and backers go.