It's the latest trend for Republicans--endorsing Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in New York's 23rd district special election--and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is now the latest to announce his support.

Pawlenty sent the following statement today to the conservative blog RedState, which got the exclusive:

"We cannot send more politicians to Washington who wear the Republican jersey on the campaign trail, but then vote like Democrats in Congress on issues like card check and taxes. After reviewing the candidates' positions, I'm endorsing Doug Hoffman in New York's special election. Doug understands the federal government needs to quit spending so much, will vote against tax increases, and protect key values like the right to vote in private in union elections."

Pawlenty's endorsement comes just three days after Sarah Palin did the same. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, whose group FreedomWorks is one of the major players in the Tea Party organizing (insofar as they're organized) structure, backed Hoffman at a campaign event in New York last week.

Newt Gingrich is the highest-profile Republican to back the GOP candidate, Dede Scozzafava, in New York's 23rd--a decision he has had to defend.

Conservative Republicans have said Scozzafava isn't conservative enough for their liking. Pawlenty, who some under the GOP's tent view as a moderate, may have boosted his conservative credentials in throwing his support behind Hoffman.

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