April 11, 2011

Breaking News: Pawlenty signs on Nick Ayers as campaign manager.

  8:25 am

Hotline on Call is reporting this morning that Tim Pawlenty is set to announce Nick Ayers as his campaign manager. Ayers is the former director of the Republican Governors Association, and considered one of the brightest rising stars in the Republican campaign firmament. It was widely expected that Ayers would end up in the inner circle of his former boss at the RGA, Haley Barbour, or at a high position within the RNC (where he is very highly regarded). Ayers is a huge get for Pawlenty, and his signing on with T-Paw raises the question: what is Haley Barbour’s next move?



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Maybe Barbour won't be running. Palin is a no go. Huckabee is about to be gone. Looks like the race is going to be down to Romney vs. Pawlenty with Gingrich as the king maker and Paul/Bachmann/Trump/Cain as the side shows.


Romney or Pawlenty....how exciting. NOT!


In the words of Ann Coulter, we will LOSE if either one is our candidate, especially Romney. They will bore the pants of most except white male conservative Americans. That is the truth.


Big catch by Pawlenty. Ayers was probably Haley Barbour's sharpest lieutenant at the RGA.

As for Haley Barbour, I think he is smart enough to know he can't win. Heck, he might even be laying the ground work for Daniels to jump in the race. Think about it; Daniels gets to focus on governing while Barbour goes around making the necessary contacts for his good friend. Stranger things have happened.


Barbour isn't even registering in the latest Florida poll. Barbour out would be a boost for Pawlenty. Huckabee might still get in the race without Barbour.



Pawlenty still needs to get out of single digits. In the end, I don't give Pawlenty much of a chance.


Who has a chance folks? Everybody seems unhappy at the candidates or 2nd tier or 3rd tier or supposedly energizers: Christie, Rubio, Walker.


Nice pickup for Tea-Paw!



Another day of great news for TPAW!!

I see you are all hanging on to the false narrative that TPAW is bland and boring, That's fine, because it will an easy bar for TPAW to jump over.

Ask yourself this question:

Why was TPAW the only Republican to win re-election in a statewide race in a blue state during the horrible "06" political cycle?

It wasn't because he was boring...

It wasn't because he was bland....

It wasn't because he was a RINO...

It was because this Conservative Leader is able to go to every corner of any political sphere and fight for votes.

TPAW is very good with people on a one-n-one basis.

TPAW is a policy wonk and no one will out debate him.

TPAW will need to improve on the stump, but he will...why?

..because he work himself to near death to get it done.

It's becoming very clear to all of you deep down in your gut..



Pawlenty/Rubio 2012


Pawlenty is my #2 candidate behind Romney.


I got to think somebody is waiting to jump in sometime in the fall or aug-oct if the first batch of announcers are a total dud...this is why romney would be well advised to wait as long as possible, july, to announce.


Rumors are that Ayers was out of the Barbour circle following the '10 campaign and that Barbour may be leaning towards his nephew Henry to run his campaign.

Ayers is a huge get for T-Paw, but remember that Priebus is Haley's man at the RNC.


I can think of several scenarios a whole lot worse than having it come down to Romney or Pawlenty.

This is a very good catch for Tim. It's like I said four years ago. It's like I keep saying now. It will come down to the people working the hardest for the nomination. Candidates at this level who think they can just sit back and bask in their high poll numbers invariably lose.

But anytime now there will be fans of candidates who are doing just that that will insist that their guy/gal is special. The rules don't apply to him/her. Every cycle we get those. And every cycle they are proven wrong. But it doesn't matter. Their favorite is immune to such pedestrian things like hard work and preparation. Their candidate just has to show up and the nomination will be handed to them on a silver platter.



That's going to be too late. Romney and TPAW are soaking up all the donors and talent. Sure, someone new can come in and make a splash, but you do need somewhat of an organization to run the marathon.

I think the field is set:












That's all folks

Matthew E. Miller

This is the first move Pawlenty has made that genuinely excites me. Ayers will ensure that Pawlenty has the money to compete and that this money is spent frugally- I was worried that, with some of the early 07' McCain team in place, and with his general accumulation of talent, Pawlenty was going to financially overextend himself early. This will also probably put an end to the tinniness we've seen from Pawlenty of late as he's tried to re-write his "vanilla" label- but perhaps most importantly, Ayers is seriously young and he joins a team that is filled with conventional operatives (Terry Nelson, Sara Taylor) but also already has a hint of youth (Lucius Baiano, the fellow behind the Pawlenty ads). I think we can expect Pawlenty to run a campaign that is both conventional (courting everyone who needs to courted, making the circuit) and nimble/innovative.




Why would Huck let Romney have such a head start in this cycle if Huck was running?

Why? What's the point?

Romney is building his team...pressing his big donors.

But yet Huck is just going to enter the race late and everything will be fine?

I can see why Huck doesn't respect the chances of the other candidates (although I think he is wrong) but he has to know that he can't wait if he wants to go up against Mitt.

He does know this, and that's why its clear Huck is not running.

I have been saying this from day 1...

Main Event: Timothy James Pawlenty vs. Willard Mitt Romney

The Venue: New Hampshire


Matthew E. Miller,

The "financially over extension" worry...

still has me worried.

TPAW has been building a mansion of a team, but I don't know if he can afford the payments as of yet.

I'm a little worried on that issue.


does this mean Tim is still a long way from announcing ?


#3.....I'll take smart and experienced over entertaining any day. If a candidate is smart & experence and entertaining....great.

Entertaining only.....Didn't we learn anything from Obama...



I do agree that we have candidates (and their supporters) who think that the nomination is just going to fall into their lap. Last time Fred Thompson, and Rudy I'm sorry to say, had that sort of feeling. Now, the Palinistas and to a lesser extent Huckabee supporters feel the same way.

As for my man Mitch, he made a promise to the people of Indiana to focus on their concerns while the legislature is meeting. Here's hoping he kicks it into high gear once the legislative session is over.


Smack. the result. Romney wins by 10.



TPAW will announcing sooner rather then later,

and I mean sooner.

Matthew E. Miller


The one thing I'd say is that I'm not quite sure how payments to operatives work. It's been my understanding that, especially in the early stages, most mid-level operatives' salary is at least contingent on funds. An Ayers isn't going to work for free, even early- he's probably going to get at least 12k a month to start- but I think some of the lower flight talent is expected to produce results before getting their big pay days. I could be wrong though. It could be that Pawlenty- due to his second-tier standing- is luring some of these folks by giving them better financial packages. Though I don't know why they'd trust that sort of thing unless they expected to be able to get Pawlenty enough money to compete.


Max: Henry Barbour is a sharp guy, but having your nephew run your campaign just doesn't seem like it would looik good. As for Priebus, yes, he's close to the Barbours, but he's limited by what he can do atop the RNC.

This is a really solid get for Pawlenty.


well this is the dc view from politico:

North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr flatly predicted: “We’re going to see other folks.”

“If you don’t see fire that gets lit by the fall, you could see other candidates jump in even very late,” said Burr. “I hear Jeb Bush’s name mentioned; you hear a lot of other folks, but there’s also candidates out there that nobody’s talking about — business leaders, military leaders that may jump in.”

No doubt, jeb would be a game changer other than him, not sure who makes the move.




I was a paid employee of a Congressional campaign for a couple of months and I was paid a regular, pre-negotiated salary. I did work my first month without pay, but after that the contract kicked in.

Pawlenty might do it differently but that was how I got my salary.

Matthew E. Miller


Right, I'm sure there's some sort of structured deal but I just wonder if they're not backloaded towards the end of the contract somehow. I say this because I remember, when McCain was falling off the rails money-wise in 07', reading that some of his staffers were working without pay until they could right the ship. There has to be some sense in which Presidential campaigns allow for this sort of flexibility, during the primary season especially when financial resources are so fluid and the difference between remaining competitive and falling off the map could be a couple hundred thousand in salaries. It's in these folks' best interest to allow for that flexibility because they're not likely to be able to jump on with another campaign, at the same level, if their candidate falters.

That said, I think- although I could be wrong here too- that salaries to actual political operatives probably make up a smallish chunk of a Presidential campaign's budget. They're also paying for polling, for transportation, for consulting, for organization which, while handled by the staff of the campaign, is so diffuse that resource-wise the biggest drain is on the outside expenses, etc. It costs a lot to bus people to straw polls- but not all or even most of that money goes to the guy in charge of busing.



I have noticed that TPAW's schedule has been filled up with Fundraising events. Today and Tomorrow he's in FL for Fundraising and last week he was in California. TPAW has been able to gain the trust of may talented people that he will be competitve in this race without the evidence of good poll numbers (which I believe are slowly climbing)

TPAW will announce very soon that he is running, that's what is people in Iowa are saying.



Yeah, having your nephew run your campaign sends some pretty iffy signals. It reminds me of reading about John Connally's campaign (which Barbour incidentally was a member of) when he had his son as campaign manager. It smacks of nepotism, no matter how well qualified the relative is.


so who ever announces first makes the other candidates most likely speed up there announcements / and decision plans or do most still follow there own timetables ??


Just saw a Mason-Dixon poll of Florida: Obama trails Huck and Romney in head-to-heads, and has a 43-56 approve-disapprove spread. The primary numbers show Romney at 23, Huck at 18, Trump at 13, Pawlenty at 8, everyone else below that. Where is all the Trump support coming from? Never thought I'd see TPaw in fourth in Florida this far out; I assumed it would just end up a Romney/Huckabee duel, if Huck gets in.



this says new campaign mangers starts role april 25th? iam guessing after the 25th he decides?

Matthew E. Miller

A.J. Nolte,

Trump and Bachmann are directly sapping support from Palin, who has eroded to the point of near-irrelevancy. Although Bachmann keeps me up sometimes, the existence of the Palin/Bachmann/Trump triumvirate is probably going to prevent any one of them from making the early coups necessary to seal the deal in any early states.


how long does bachmann and trump really have to play this guessing game with the press on deciding is all these announcements still being delayed due to see if palin blinks first? iam really starting to get concerned because obama is in FULL reelection mode folks and i expected some news by now to tell you the truth !


My question is, how well can Ayers hold his liquor?

Seriously, has Pawlenty ever shown he can raise money? Just what is his record on that?

It's going to take $700 million to $1 Billion to match Obama this time, and I just don't see Pawletny motivating people to open their checkbooks.

Why would you donate money to a boring unknown longshot with no signature issue or base of support who is dependent on a miracle in Iowa to stay relevant?


"Why would you donate money to a... longshot with no signature issue or base of support who is dependent on a miracle in Iowa to stay relevant?"

This is the question all Palin supporters will have to answer for themselves.


Mason Dixon Florida Poll

Romney 23

Huckabee 18

Trump 13

Gingrich 11

Pawlenty 8

Palin 5

Daniels 4

Paul 3

Bachmann 1

Santorum 1

Barbour <1


Hey Huck, you better get out of your "08" bunker and get in the game.


Jonathan, Palin will have no problem raising money. She is the best we have at that. The day she announces her coffers will be overflowing.

As for needing a miracle in Iowa, Governor Palin can run to the very end and will be the best funded candidate we have. Money will NOT be an issue.

You're talking about a whole other level. Romney might be able to match her, but I don't see anyone else coming close. She holds the world record for fund raising from small donors (under $200)and that isn't about to change.


"Sarah Palin is clearly the best fundraiser. For two years she has been the hottest ticket at multiple fundraisers across the country on any given subject. I think there is little question that her supporters would be quick to give. Mike Huckabee proved woefully poor at raising cash in 2008, and much of his support comes from a much more politically inactive conservative base. Mitt Romney raised over $100 million in his primary loss in 2008, which is good, but would have a major problem getting donor cash from the Tea Party base. Again, the GOP candidate needs to have the ability to raise $750 Million. And even then they will still be at a disadvantage. And unless someone like a Donald Trump is willing to self-finance, who else could compete?"



You are missing something very important.

Big money doesn't win you Iowa.

Just ask Romney.

Palin needs to be in Iowa to win Iowa. You keep saying TPAW needs a miracle win in Iowa, well.........Palin needs to win Iowa as well.

How does Palin win the nomination without winning Iowa?

She can have all the money she needs/wants but that does her no good with her 4th place finish in Iowa.

Saracudda, where are you?


Sorry, when I initially reported the poll, I missed Gingrich's 11 percent support.

Regarding fund-raising, I'm thinking the guy who helped the RGA raise more money than any other campaign committee in the 2012 cycle should be able to help with that. I also doubt very much Ayers would have signed on with Pawlenty if he didn't think there was a path to victory. There are a lot of other things Ayers could do with his life over the next couple of years; his signing on with Pawlenty means he thinks Pawlenty can win.


40. smack

I am missing nothing. You may be though.

Unlike a boring unknown with no issue or reason to run, let alone a perceptible pulse, Governor Palin excels at retail politics. The minute she announces she will suck all the oxygen out of the room.

She will own Iowa. She has plenty of time to get in this race...no one has announced yet, and only the long shot wanna be's are running around the state now, basically wasting money.

They represent a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

All these polls are written in sand, and a tsunami is coming. No wonder you guys have to drink so much. I'd be depressed too.


Teladude: I would think Palin's fav/unfav ought to be a little bit concerning, particularly within the Republican party. It seems like even people who are inclined to support Palin are drifting toward Trump and Bachman. Palin can't win if both of these people get in, and her path is difficult if one of them does.

Of course, all of this is irrelevant because, as I may have mentioned once or twice:

Sarah Palin is not running for President in 2012. Not happening. Not doing it. Period. End of discussion. She's too smart to even think about blowing all her political capital that way.

Matthew E. Miller


Who has shown they can raise money, other than Romney and Barbour? Bachmann's financial windfall comes from strong grassroots support, something which becomes less useful as you move up the political ladder (getting 50 bucks from a 100k devotees is great, but not of much use when you're expected to raise 100-200 million). Huckabee is a dismal fundraiser. Palin is even more dependent on the grassroots than Bachmann is (at least Bachmann has connections cultivated from her time as a lawyer). Santorum is disliked by GOP insiders. Daniels has business connections but has never raised a particularly overwhelming amount of money in his campaigns- by Indiana standards, a lot, but in the big picture still fairly paltry (I think he raised around 10 million for his re-election bid). The big fundraisers are the Governor's and Senator's of the big states- California, Texas, New York, and Florida- and none of the GOP potential nominees come from those states. So fundraising strength is relative. There are plenty of reasons to believe Pawlenty is well positioned in that continuum. First, we know money has to go somewhere since money is doled out largely to wield influence and there are thousands of players who simply must place a bet to maintain that influence. In any given election cycle, there's a fairly fixed range of money sitting on the sidelines waiting to go to someone. I'd bet there's somewhere between 310 and 400 million dollars in Republican primary money "out there". In the last cycle, the Republican candidates raised around 216 million combined through December 31st 2007 and Democrats raised 289 million. Since this doesn't include the significant primary fundraising that went on, especially for Democrats, during 08', 310 to 400 million seems like the right ballpark. Where will this money go? We have to assume that Romney and Barbour have ceilings, money-wise, given a competitive field. Either is likely to scoop up all of the major GOP money if they appear to be running away with the race, because they're well-liked by GOP moneymen, but both have serious enough limitations as candidates (RomneyCare, Mississippi) that some donors are bound to be looking to place other bets in the early going. I'd guess that Romney's ceiling, pre-inevitability, is something like 100 million and Barbour's is around 80 million. Those are pretty high ceilings but that still leaves an awful lot of traditional money on the table. With his connections from his stint at RGA, his time as McCain's Presidential co-chair, and the buzz he's received in establishment circles, Pawlenty has a pretty obvious route to a lot of that money and not a whole lot of obvious obstacles; a fading and weak Gingrich and a bevy of tea-party types who are anathema to the GOP money-men.



As I've stated many times, her unfavorables are easily turned around. A difficult path? Maybe, but she has been tempered by fire and has the ability to win on so many levels I don't see a problem.

She excels at everything required for victory.

Fund raising?

Retail politics?

Demonstrated leadership?

Ability to define and contrast the Obama message?

Effective record of conservative governance?

Stances on issues aligned with the vast majority of America?

Overall likability or charisma?

Proven tax cutter?

Proven budget cutter?

Proven budget balancer?

Not beholden to special interest groups or lobbyists.

A real plan for America's revitalization, unmatched by her opponents?

She is running, do not kid yourself. I understand how the thought of it kind of ruins your day. Don't be discouraged, the country is going to be so much better off once she is sworn in.


.45 Matthew.

Dude, hit that enter key once in a while. Paragraphs are your friend.

I tried to read that block of letters an all I can tell you is you are missing Palin's ability to far out strip the others in grassroots fund raising.

She can raise $10 to $20 million with a single word on facebook. Money will NOT be an issue for her. When she announces it will make Bachmann's $2.2 million look pathetic.



Here's the thing: Palin could conceivably win the primary, I won't deny that, although I think it's getting harder as time goes on. However, she could also get into the race and lose the primary, in which case, her career is over. Or, she could win the primary and lose in the general, which looks likely. She gets hammered in head-to-head match-ups with Obama in FL, which is a must-win state in 2012. If she runs and loses in the general, her career is over.

Now, let's look, from the Palin perspective, at the results of her not running. If she doesn't run, her endorsement is golden, particularly if there's a Romney V. Pawlenty match-up or a Romney, Huckabee, Pawlenty, Daniels scrum for the nomination. Palin plays king (or queen) maker, and she remains relevant, and retains a platform to promote her message. There are plenty of post-2012 opportunities for her, and she's still very young (mid forties), so a presidential run further down the line, when her image has stabilized, is a real possibility. A term or two in the senate wouldn't hurt her either.

I actually like Sarah well enough. I just don't think she can beat Obama, and I think she might lose badly. And I really want to beat Obama, best case, or take the senate and hold the house, worst case. In so far as I think her winning the nomination would make these things more difficult to achieve, I hope she doesn't run. But I don't have anything emotionally invested in her candidacy one way or another.

Of course, all of this doesn't matter; she's not running. She's capable of determining her own interests, determining how unlikely it is that she can win, and making her endorsement count to get the most like-minded, electable candidate the nomination. Running would be a foolish choice for Palin in 2012, and contrary to popular elite media opinion, I'm convinced she's not a fool.


I could not help but note the commentary by the National Journal reporter:

"But on a day when the news should be about Pawlenty landing another top strategist, the emphasis on Ayers' own arc is hard to miss."


I agree.


The reality is....we were screwed the day that Mike Pence announced he would not run for president. He was our best hope. Is he our only hope? NO....but he was our best. The closest thing you get to him at this point is Bachmann...and she's really not that close. What I mean to say is, that Pence has the right mix of establishment and tea party support...along with being strong on all of the issues important to primary voters, and a good grasp on the issues important to independants and conservative dems. Pence could've been the next ronald reagan. He could've united our country. But instead, he took a pass this time. I don't blame him...because Obama isn't looking like the easiest guy in the world to beat. Who is there that is actually VIABLE that can meet the country head on...unite it, and bring us back to greatness? Romney is not that person...he is weak on social issues and guns. Huckabee seems to have a problem with....gaffes. Other than that, he has a great record, except the perception that he is weak on crime(he is not, it is just a perception problem). Palin won't run, and if she did...she would be destroyed. Pawlenty is very boring. Does he have the "it" factor? No. He might be able to unite republicans around him...but can he win over independants nationally and get dems to cross over? I don't know...but my gut says no. Bachmann alienates some people. Personally, i think that Rand Paul POSITION WISE, is exactly the right person for us...but he doesn't have the necessary experience. Ron Paul is the crazy uncle type that we won't support. Will anyone come out of the woodwork and save our a**es?


I don't really know what to think about all of this. To be honest, i like Pawlenty...but he will absolutely have to outwork EVERYONE to have a chance. And the sad part is...he doesn't really have a lot of options for his VP candidates. Bachmann is a good fit for just about anyone else...but of course that's not possible for him because they are from the same state(constitutionally they could do it, but minnesota would have to use their EV's for someone other than Bachmann as VP). He needs someone exciting on the ticket too...and i really don't know who goes good with him. Maybe Huckabee, but would huckabee do it? Not only that, but doesn't huckabee bring too much baggage as a vp. First rule is do no harm...and pawlenty will be fighting the RINO perception(even though he isn't a rino, a lot of people try to paint him as such). Is there a strong southern woman out there that is solidly pro-life and a tea party member?


51: I think he's got a couple of options. Rubio or Martinez would be excellent choices, and Martinez in particular has a strong relationship with Pawlenty. Nickey Haley could be good, but the problem with all of these candidates is it's a bit too soon. Your southern woman: Marsha Blackburn is a southern, female conservative, but I don't know how well she'd play nationally. He could go for a real hail Mary pass with somebody like Allen West, but there are risks as well as rewards there.

IMO the best person for Pawlenty would be Condoleeza Rice. She's a foreign policy professional with real gravitas who is considerably less tainted with the stigma of the Bush administration than any of the other former higher-ups, and she would bring instant day 1 credibility to TPaw's bid to be commander-in-chief. Plus, there's a certain segment of the base that still really loves Condie.

50: I think TPaw can win independents. There's a lot of "Minnesota nice" suburban women who voted for Tim Pawlenty twice for governor, once when everyone was getting rolled in 2006. And honestly, what are we going to do, out-charisma Obama? Part of the reason I like guys like Mitt, Tim and Mitch is that they _are_ a little boring; boring but competent. We will only beat Obama if we can demonstrate to the American people that the charismatic "hopie-changie" feeling they have with Obama hasn't led to competence. The boring but competent governors can make that pitch.


T-Paw is on the rise! We had a great event with Gov. Pawlenty

last Saturday(April 2nd).

Photos from event are here:


Videos from the event are here:




Rice is PRO-CHOICE. That is a big NO on her. The only "acceptable" pro-choice VP would be Guliani, and only because he has the power and name recognition to offset the fact that he is pro-choic. But he would even be a hard sell.


It just struck me that every one of us may be as deluded about our preferred candidate, it's just that our candidates don't suck as much as his.

As I read his list (#46) of qualifications to win the nomination and then the presidency, I thought that each of us has exactly the same type of list of undeniable and self-evident strengths for our own candidate. And each of us would entirely dismiss everyone else' list.

That being said, Palin is fading because of her own performance as well as the emergence of similar voices like Bachmann and Trump.


54: On the other hand, Pawlenty is pretty strongly pro-life, so could probably get away with a VP who was pro-choice--particularly someone who's low-profile about it, as Rice is.

I'll keep thinking about VP choices, though.


As ED of the RGA, Nick was the top non-commissioned officer. He wasn't the strategist or even the tactician. His job was to carry out the plans of others. Last week, TPaw announced his finance team and Nick isn't on it. He has long retained engage with Mindy Finn and Patrick Rufini in the PAC as New Media coordinators. Nick is more likely to run the political aspects of the campaign.


As you know the increase in all feed costs cuased mostly by ethanol has pushed all livestock producers into a loss situation. This will be remedied only by a major reduction in livestock numbers and a very large increase in retail price which may be resisted by consumers. Brazil which is now the largest exporter of beef will benefit tremendously by the American livestock industry's loss. An Obama victory will result in a huge increase in enviornmental regulation over agriculture and other natural resource users.

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