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Pawlenty names campaign manager

The 2012 hopes of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty have received a major boost with the acquisition of Nick Ayers, 28, a well-respected conservative who formerly led the Republican Governors Association.

Image has not been found. URL: http://images.americanindependent.com/e5534d6864rs_125.jpg.jpgNick Ayers

Ayers will serve as campaign manager for Pawlenty’s presidential exploratory effort, according to a campaign email sent Tuesday, and the hire has already prompted some GOP activists to give Pawlenty a second look.

Erick Erickson, a conservative blogger at RedState, wrote, “[T]his hire forces me to pay attention to Tim Pawlenty and you should too now. Putting a twenty-something in such a position is a bold and risky move. But Nick Ayers’s track record suggests Pawlenty is suddenly a force to be reckoned with — especially for guys like me who were counting him out before he really got started.”

The addition of Ayers to the Pawlenty team is the most addition to a team already packed with individuals who have made a mark nationally and in the Hawkeye State. In the fall of 2009, for instance, Pawlenty tapped Iowa native Sara Taylor, who built George W. Bush‘s Hawkeye strategy, to serve with his political action committee. More recently Pawlenty earned the support of Eric Woolson, a well-known force in GOP politics who led former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s winning strategy in Iowa in 2008.

In an email announcing his decision to work for Pawlenty, Ayers said that God pointed him in Pawlenty’s direction:

Over the past six months, I have prayed deeply about my purpose in life and how best to utilize the talents God has given me. I wanted my decision to be wholly about how best to serve Him, not what was most politically or financially expedient for my family and me. As He often does in walks of faith, He has called me to a higher purpose. I believe that our Nation is truly on the wrong path. We need a new direction that is positive and hopeful. Simply said, we need new leadership. I believe that Governor Pawlenty is best positioned to provide that leadership. Therefore, I am pleased today to join Governor and Mrs. Pawlenty in their pursuit of the presidency.

Ayers’ Tuesday letter, which serves both as an introduction and a fundraising pitch, appears in full below:

Dear Friend,

Earlier this week, I was honored to accept the position of campaign manager for Governor Pawlenty’s presidential exploratory effort. I could not be more excited to join his team.

My decision to join the Pawlenty exploratory committee is in total affirmation of Governor Pawlenty’s record as a true conservative, two-term governor of a blue state, his character and principles and his vision for this Nation, which is second to no one running for president. I accepted this position with a deep confidence in the candidate, his family, and the mission ahead and I hope you’ll join me in this effort.

As executive director of the Republican Governors Association in 2010, I was proud to be part of an effort to elect an historic number of new Republican Governors. We saw that no issue motivated voters more than Obama’s government takeover of health care. As I told Politico, I believe that healthcare is the most important issue facing this country in 2012. Governor Pawlenty’s record of market-based health care reforms in Minnesota will offer voters a clear alternative to President Obama, and is a key reason I believe we will win back the White House.

I am confident when Republican caucus-goers and primary voters begin seriously to examine what it is in a candidate that really matters, they will find that Governor Pawlenty is the complete package. Not only does his record in Minnesota match their priorities for the country, and his principles and integrity line up with theirs, but Republicans will also find that he is our best choice to unite the Party, compete in difficult regions of the country, and defeat President Obama.

Governor Tim Pawlenty is a leader with a proven conservative record who is worthy of your early support. Please donate $25, $50, $100 or $250 today to help his historic effort to rebuild our Nation.

Thanks for your support and I hope to see each of you on the trail to victory!

Nick Ayers

Campaign Manager

*(Editor’s Note: Andy Birkey of The Minnesota Independent contributed to this report.) *

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