Third in the Ames Straw Poll wasn’t enough to keep going.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race for the GOP presidential nomination on Sunday, hours after finishing a disappointing third in the Iowa straw poll.

“I wish it would have been different. But obviously the pathway forward for me doesn’t really exist so we are going to end the campaign,” Pawlenty said on ABC’s “This Week” from Iowa shortly after disclosing his plans in a private conference call with supporters.

The low-key Midwesterner and two-term governor had struggled to gain traction in a state he had said he must win and never caught fire nationally with a Republican electorate seemingly craving a charismatic, nonestablishment, rabble-rouser to go up against President Barack Obama.

I like Pawlenty. He’s a good man and was a good governor, but never caught fire in the race for the White House.

Update: It looks like there may be a Senate bid in his future.