Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (R) said in an interview with U.S. News and World Report that he will not return to the political realm.

Pawlenty, the new CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, said that his "political career has come to an end" and that he doesn't view his current job as a means to a return to public office.

The two-term governor was a top contender for the GOP vice presidential pick in 2008 and 2012. He ran for president in his own right in 2012 -- though the effort ended in disaster after the Iowa Straw Poll.

Coming from a blue-collar background, though, Pawlenty's new job was a big financial step up from his career in public office.

Few have expected Pawlenty to run for office again, but given a short bench in Minnesota, his name routinely comes up for Senate races -- including as a challenger to Democratic Sen. Al Franken's 2014 reelection bid. Pawlenty has already declined that campaign.