One of the reasons that Gov. Pawlenty is often touted as a strong vice-presidential pick for John McCain is that his popularity would somehow spill over into the neighboring states of Iowa and Wisconsin, potentially helping McCain in those places as well.
Do you believe that? Here's a little thought experiment.
Quick - name the governors of Wisconsin and Iowa. Here's a hint - they are pictured above.
The guy on the left is Chet Culver. If you didn't know any better, you'd probably assume he's the governor of Wisconsin, since that is the state that is responsible for bringing Culver's Restaurants to the world. (Mmmm.... butterburgers.) But Chet Culver is not the governor of Wisconsin. He's the governor of Iowa. The bald dude is Jim Doyle and he's the governor of Wisconsin. Both of these gentlemen are Democrats and both were highly instrumental in helping Senator Barack Obama win elections in their respective states.
Do you think that if Sen. Obama decided to pick either one of these guys to be his Veep (and there's almost no chance of it happening, by the way), that it would make your average Minnesotan more likely to vote for Obama? If you answered not a chance, give yourself a gold star.
Tim Pawlenty may have a number of things that recommend him to John McCain as a potential runningmate. But he won't do a thing to win over voters in Wisconsin or Iowa for John McCain.