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Pawlenty Hires a Huckabee as Senior Adviser

Pawlenty Hires a Huckabee as Senior Adviser

By Scott Conroy - July 5, 2011


Tim Pawlenty announced Tuesday that Sarah Huckabee Sanders -- the daughter of 2008 GOP Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee -- has joined his campaign as a senior adviser with a particular focus on the nation's first voting state.

Huckabee Sanders will be charged with generating momentum for Pawlenty ahead of next month's Ames Straw Poll, a critical test of support for the former Minnesota governor's campaign in the Hawkeye State.

"Sarah is a results-oriented person with a great track record in Iowa and around the country," Pawlenty said in a written statement. "We are very excited Sarah is joining our team just as we are hitting our stride in Iowa."

Huckabee Sanders served as national political director to her father's 2008 campaign, which saw the former Arkansas governor rise from a largely unknown contender to winner of the Iowa caucuses and the last viable Republican candidate standing in the way of eventual nominee John McCain.

Last year, Huckabee Sanders was the campaign manager for John Boozman's successful Senate run in Arkansas.

Sanders will join a robust and highly touted Pawlenty staff of operatives and advisers in Iowa, but thus far, the former Minnesota governor has not gained much discernible traction in the state on which he has largely staked his candidacy.

In a Des Moines Register poll of likely caucus-goers conducted late last month, Pawlenty finished in an unimpressive sixth place, despite his increased travel to Iowa, vaunted operation in the state, and status as a former neighboring-state governor.

But Pawlenty could benefit from perceptions that he is one of the more electable members of the Republican field. A poll conducted by the Iowa Republican (a state media outlet) and released on Tuesday showed that likely caucus-goers would prefer by almost a 2-to-1 margin a candidate who was more likely to defeat President Obama than one who most closely shared their views.

Earlier on Tuesday, Pawlenty released his second TV ad in Iowa. The new 30-second spot, titled "Results, Not Rhetoric," highlights his record in Minnesota.

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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