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Minnesota GOP governor primary tests Pawlenty's comeback bid

Candidate for Minnesota governor U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, left, speaks as fellow candidates Republican Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanso...

Candidate for Minnesota governor U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, left, speaks as fellow candidates Republican Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanso...

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is hoping to regain his winning touch and restart his political career seven years after his presidential aspirations fizzled. And it's for a familiar position.

Pawlenty is the biggest name in both parties running in Tuesday's primary for Minnesota governor. Pawlenty faces 2014 nominee and County Commissioner Jeff Johnson. Democrats are choosing among U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, state Rep. Erin Murphy and Attorney General Lori Swanson.

It's a high-stakes race in Minnesota. Democrats hope to retain their blockade over a GOP Legislature, while Republicans see a chance at complete government control.

Pawlenty has held a massive fundraising advantage over Johnson since entering the race in April, but he has struggled to reintegrate in a party that has changed drastically since he left office in 2011.