Republican Pawlenty hoping he got his money man for 2012

April 11, 2011

Tim Pawlenty, who is exploring a run for president in 2012 and is sometimes lampooned as somebody nobody knows, has created a buzz in political circles by hiring Nick Ayers as campaign manager for his exploratory committee. USA-POLITICS/REPUBLICANS

The former Minnesota governor, known to supporters as “T-Paw”, announced the hiring of Ayers, the former executive director of the Republican Governors Association, on his website and on Twitter, where he asked followers to follow his new guy @nick_ayers .

Pawlenty praised Ayers’ fundraising prowess. “In 2010 alone, the RGA shattered all previous fundraising records, and Ayers managed a $112 million budget, deploying $102 million directly into independent expenditures and campaigns.”

NBC’s First Read said it was a blow to Haley Barbour, a potential rival for the Republican presidential nomination, because Ayers was RGA executive director when the Mississippi governor was chairman. “Many insiders will read this move as potential evidence Barbour may be having second thoughts.”

The Caucus blog of The New York Times says Ayers, 28, was courted by several presidential hopefuls partly because of the success of the Republican Governors Association in the gain of  six Republican governors in the 2010 election.

Pawlenty needs a boost in the name recognition department, and apparently believes Ayers can help. “His leadership and record of winning tough races in every part of our country will provide even more momentum to our campaign to get America back on track,” Pawlenty said.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Pawlenty at Conservative Political Action conference)

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