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Iowa likely venue for Pawlenty’s 2012 announcement (Updated)

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is expected to announce his candidacy for President Monday, several media outlets, including USA Today, are reporting, and that announcement could very well take place in Iowa.

Pawlenty is scheduled to be in Des Moines Monday morning, Eric Woolson, a senior consultant for Pawlenty confirmed.

Woolson, however, said Friday he could not confirm any specific announcements from Pawlenty on Monday.

Pawlenty, an attorney and two-term governor, has visited Iowa multiple times in the last year, including serving as the keynote speaker for the Iowa Federation of College Republicans Annual Convention in April. Pawlenty is known for his conservative stances on social issues. The son of a single, working class father, Pawlenty has emphasized on “the American Dream” and has denounced the public sector, saying privatization is key for allowing people to establish and keep their businesses.

The Des Moines event featuring Pawlenty is being billed as a town hall meeting and will take place at 11:30 a.m. at the State Historical Building in downtown. Mary Pawlenty, former Minnesota first lady, will provide the introduction that morning.

The Pawlenty campaign has also announced four senior Iowa political operatives that have joined the exploratory committee efforts. They are:

Chuck Larson, Jr. — A former U.S. Ambassador to Latvia and a partner with Larson Shannahan Slifka Group in West Des Moines. Larson also represented Cedar Rapids in the Iowa General Assembly from 1993 to 2007, and is a major in the U.S. Army Reserves who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Karen Slifka — A former Republican National Committee regional political director for the Midwest, Slifka is the managing partner of the Larson Shannahan Slifka Group. She also served President Bush’s re-election campaign and directed the grassroots campaign in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. She served as the development director for Iowans for Tax Relief and state director for the John Kasich Presidential Exploratory Committee. She began her career in political advocacy with former U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle as a field rep and financial director.

Eric Woolson — Woolson formerly served as Mike Huckabee’s 2008 Iowa campaign manager, and joins the Pawlenty team as state spokesman. Prior to working with Huckabee, Woolson served alongside Gov. Terry Branstad and President George W. Bush (during the 2000 presidential campaign). He was the communications director for the 2002 Doug Gross for Governor Campaign and was an adviser to the Miller-Meeks for Congress campaign in 2008 and 2010. Woolson managed the 2010 Bob Vander Plaats for Governor campaign and was a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley’s 2010 re-election campaign. A journalist during the first 20 years of his career, Woolson has owned a West Des Moines public and government relations firm, The Concept Works, since 2002.

(Editor’s note: This report was updated to include the announcement of the campaign’s Iowa advisors.)

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