Updated: 7 p.m.
The campaign of Jon Golnik, the Massachusetts Republican trying to unseat Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas, earned a high-profile boost Tuesday with the endorsement of Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
The Minnesota Republican, seen as a potential presidential contender in 2012, said in a statement that Golnik “is the kind of leader we need in Washington — and we need more like him.”
“Jon will be a vote against the outrageous debt-building agenda currently in Congress and I look forward to helping him achieve his goals,” Pawlenty said in a statement released by Golnik’s campaign.
Golnik, a former currency trader and small-business owner, was an early GOP recruit to run against Tsongas, who won a 2007 special election to occupy the seat once held by her late husband, Rep. Paul Tsongas. But Golnik has badly trailed in the money race this cycle, and despite early optimism by national Republicans, the chances for a GOP pickup in Massachusetts’ 5th district do not appear strong.
Golnik reached out for the Minnesotan’s support “because he likes Pawlenty and they are like-minded,” campaign spokeswoman Alicia Preston said. Preston also said that Golnik has ties to Pawlenty through his brother Ben Golnik, a Republican political consultant who worked for the Minnesota Republican Party in 2007.
Pawlenty is not the first national GOP name to throw his support behind Golnik; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also gave his endorsement and a $5,000 check.