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Former U.S. Attorney Whitaker will chair Pawlenty’s steering committee

Former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker will serve as chairman of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s Iowa steering committee, the campaign announced Tuesday.

Whitaker said his support is based in the fact that Pawlenty, while remaining a conservative, was elected and then re-elected in “one of the most heavily” Democratic states in the nation.

“He did it while remaining true to his conservative values and principles,” Whitaker said. “What that meant for Minnesota voters was a governor who finally stood his ground against higher taxes and spending increases while reforming health care, improving education and making state government more efficient.”

Whitaker, who formerly served as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, is the managing partner of the Des Moines law firm, Whitaker Hagenow GMBG. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa in both business administration and law, and served as a tight end for the Hawkeyes in the early 1990s. Following graduation, he moved to the Twin Cities to work as a private attorney, and returned to Iowa in 2001 to continue private practice here. In 2002, Whitaker was the Iowa GOP nominee for state treasurer.

“Matt Whitaker is a man who knows what’s important and he gets things done,” Pawlenty said. “That’s been true from his days as a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes team that played in the Rose Bowl to his determination as a U.S. Attorney who prosecuted dangerous criminals and put them behind bars. Iowans know and respect Matt Whitaker. We’re very happy and blessed to have him on our team.”

Very early in his campaign, Pawlenty hired Iowan and former George W. Bush staffer Sara Taylor Fagen, and has more recently named former Iowa Sen. Chuck Larson Jr. and former RNC regional director Karen Slifka as advisers to his campaign. Longtime Iowa strategist and staffer Eric Woolsen is also a part of the Pawlenty team in Iowa.

Nationally, his campaign is being led by Nick Ayers, who formerly led the Republican Governors Association.

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