Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is taking his first step toward becoming an official candidate for the 2012 presidential campaign.
Pawlenty, a Republican, is expected to announce the formation of a presidential exploratory committee at 3 p.m. on Monday, according to news reports. The committee will allow him to begin raising money and hire a campaign staff, and require that he file formal paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.
Few GOP 2012 hopefuls have formed exploratory committees, giving Pawlenty a potential early leg-up in the race for nomination.