Tim Pawlenty would have been a great GOP candidate for President.
He's a Governor, which historically would put him at an advantage over the Senators who are running.
He's personally affable and comes off as trustworthy (like Huckabee, unlike Romney, in our opinion).
He's a proven fiscal conservative, cutting spending even in very popular programs like Minnesota Care (unlike any of the candidates).
Just as much, he's a social conservative, signing all the MCCL legislation the legislature was able to deliver to his desk.
He is a tough administrator, managing to stick the blame on the legislature when things don't run smoothly.
He had excellent media exposure during the 35 W bridge catastrophe, and the GOP already thought that MN was a swing state -- besides which, they're going to wasting money here on Coleman anyway, so may as well have a favorite son at the top of the ballot.
That said, he makes a terrible VP candidate. He brings little to any ticket as the also ran. If the GOP candidate is not Huckabee, then a southerner should be chosen, perhaps the Georgia Governor, or perhaps Huckabee. If Huckabee is the nominee, then a Senator should be chosen for foreign policy experience and strong bipartisanship - probably McCain.