CLEVELAND (AP) -- Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty is planning to give a keynote address during a visit to northeast Ohio, a highly contested swing state in presidential politics.

Pawlenty is expected to talk about the economy Wednesday at an event hosted by the Republican Party of Cuyahoga County in Cleveland. The former Minnesota governor formally announced last week that he was forming an exploratory committee for a 2012 White House bid.

The announcement almost certainly will lead to a full-blown candidacy for the GOP nomination in a field that has been slow to form. The winner would face the daunting task of trying to unseat an incumbent president.

Pawlenty, a conservative Republican who ran a Democratic-leaning state for two terms, has moved toward a national campaign since announcing in 2009 that he wouldn't seek a third term.

Pawlenty will also be among the speakers at an April 15 tea party rally in Boston.

The Greater Boston Tea Party said on Wednesday that Pawlenty will headline its third annual "Tax Day" rally on the Boston Common.

Christen Varley, president of the Greater Boston Tea Party, said in a statement that Pawlenty helped put Minnesota on track for economic success.

There are several other scheduled speakers at the rally, including former state Rep. Karyn Polito, who ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer in Massachusetts last year.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin headlined last year's tea party rally in Boston.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)