Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has missed few chances to build support among Republicans for a potential presidential run in 2012. On Tuesday, he took another big step in preparing for that possibility by setting up political action committees to help Republican candidates this fall in the early presidential battleground states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
The committees would allow Pawlenty to help state candidates in those two states. He had already set up a committee to support federal candidates.
"Pawlenty has repeatedly said he would (not) decide whether to run for president until early 2011 but all his moves — his national travel, his federal PAC, his candidate endorsements, his new state PACs. even his appearance last week on the Daily Show
— point to a run," noted the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
A Pawlenty spokesman told The Des Moines Register
that Pawlenty had not made any decisions about his plans for the 2012 campaign. "We filed these committees now because now is the time to start organizing on the grass-roots level for 2010," Alex Conant, the Pawlenty spokesman, told the paper. "The governor doesn't know what he's going to do when he's done being governor. He'll decide that early next year."
The move makes Pawlenty the first Republican candidate to set up an operation in Iowa but not in New Hampshire. The Manchester Union Leader
pointed out that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney established a PAC in New Hampshire more than a year ago. Romney already helped Republicans win several races for vacancies in the state legislature.