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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pawlenty quietly courts state lawmakers in Tampa



pawlenty.jpgTim Pawlenty invited about 11 state lawmakers to a private meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Tampa last night, a sign of his effort to build a support network in Florida.

"He just wanted to explain to us why he was running, why he was in the race," said Bill Bunting, a Pasco County GOP activist. Bunting said 11 lawmakers from 7 counties -- including Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk and Sarasota -- attended. He would not name names.

UPDATE: A spy tells us that Tampa Bay-area Reps. Jim Frishe, Dana Young, Seth McKeel and Peter Nehr attended.

Pawlenty will soon return to the area. Bunting said he is confirmed to speak at the Pasco County REC Reagan Day Dinner on July 29. But he won't be the keynote -- that spot will go to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

The dinner will be held at Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel. U.S. Senate candidates Mike Haridpolos, Adam Hasner and George LeMieux will attend, too.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 30, 2011 5:28pm]


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