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Eric Woolson to join Pawlenty 2012 campaign

The Washington Post reports Wednesday morning that veteran Iowa political strategist Eric Woolson has signed on to be part of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty‘s presidential campaign.

Woolson led Mike Huckabee‘s campaign in the 2008 Iowa caucuses, pulling off a surprise victory and derailing the presidential hopes of then-frontrunner Mitt Romney. Last year, Woolson managed the gubernatorial campaign of Bob Vander Plaats, who lost to Gov. Terry Branstad in the GOP primary. He went on to work for U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley’s successful re-election campaign and the unsuccessful congressional campaign of Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks in Iowa’s 2nd District.

Woolson was a member of the Iowa press corps for 20 years. He started his newspaper career in Boone in 1976 and worked for newspapers in Madrid, Guthrie Center, Webster City and Keokuk before joining United Press International in 1983. He wrote for the Waterloo Courier for 11 years, including nine as its political reporter/columnist and two years as its editorial page editor.

He was Gov. Terry Branstad’s communications director and press secretary during Branstad’s final term in office. He served as Iowa communications director to George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign and was the communications director for the Doug Gross for Governor campaign in 2002.

In 2002, he founded The Concept Works, a West Des Moines firm that provides public and government relations counsel, marketing services and crisis management for corporate, political and individual clients.

Pawlenty has yet to formally declare his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, but most observers consider him a lock to join the campaign. Politico reports that Woolson met privately with Huckabee last week during his book tour’s stops in Iowa. Some are taking Woolson’s new role with Pawlenty as a sign Huckabee is unlikely to make a second run for president, although as Chris Cillizza of the Post points out, most dismiss this line of thinking by saying Woolson is not a part of Huckabee’s inner circle.

Woolson could not be immediately reached Wednesday morning for comment.

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