Pawlenty: I am not running for Senate in 2018

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Tuesday said he would not run for the U.S. Senate in November.

Many Republicans had been trying to convince the former governor to run, in order to pick up the seat that was left behind by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).

“I am very interested in public service and service for the common good. There are a lot of different ways to do that, running for the United States Senate in 2018 won’t be a part of those plans,” the Minnesota Republican told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto on “Cavuto: Coast to Coast.”

The GOP currently has a 51-to-49 majority in the Senate after Republican Roy Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama.

Pawlenty said Trump’s tax reform plan could be a sign of hope for Republican Senate nominees.

“You have to take into consideration the effects of this tax bill. It’s starting to reveal itself and could be much better economically than people expect. And this sort of doom and gloom by some relative to Republican candidacies could turn much brighter by fall,” he said. “But at the moment in light blue states or blue states it looks to be an uphill battle.”

Congress is locked in a contentious debate over immigration, which could be a divisive issue in the midterm elections. President Trump’s alleged derogatory remarks at a White House meeting over immigration last week sparked outrage from congressional leaders.

Pawlenty said Trump’s accomplishments as president should overshadow the controversial language that was used during the meeting.

“Look at what President Trump has done substantially: the appointment [and] confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, the passage of once-in-a-generation, pro-growth, a pro-economic development tax reform, trying to right size and common sense many regulations, trying to get some common sense back into our trade policies, a strong posture toward national defense and security,” he said.