As former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) “weighs whether to run for Senate in Minnesota, Republicans have been attempting to persuade the former governor to jump into the race—with outreach by a roster party leaders, donors and Republican activists, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions. … One vocal advocate for Pawlenty's candidacy has been former Sen. Norm Coleman (R), who sat down with Pawlenty multiple times before Christmas to pitch him on the race, both in Minnesota and Washington.”
"He is certainly, from my perspective, the ideal candidate," Coleman said. "After the Franken embarrassment, he's someone people know and trust.”
“The White House also believes Pawlenty is the potential candidate who is best positioned to pick up the seat for Republicans, said one party strategist who works with the administration. Pawlenty remains close with his former presidential campaign manager, Nick Ayers, who is now chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence and an influential voice in the administration on political decisions.” (CNN)
On the GOP side, state Sen. Karin Housley (R) has already jumped into the race, while former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-07) has said she is considering a bid. Newly sworn-in senator Sen. Tina Smith (D) has already declared she will run in 2018 special election.