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August 15th, 2011

Straw Poll Winnows the Field: Tim Pawlenty Ends Presidential Campaign

The Washington Post is reporting that former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is ending his quest for the Republican nomination for President of the United States.  The Post reports that Pawlenty told supporters in an early-morning conference call, “We cannot envision a path forward to victory and so therefore we made a decision to end the campaign.”

Pawlenty’s strategy was heavily focused on winning the Iowa Caucuses, and thus doing well in the Republican Party of Iowa’s Straw Poll in Ames.  As such, Pawlenty hired scads of Iowa politicos to work for his campaign and his Iowa consultants were veterans on many caucus campaigns.

It was estimated that Pawlenty spent over a million dollars for the straw poll.  His campaign had all of the trappings of a frontrunner’s campaign except one – actual support.  Pawlenty was nice, people liked him, and his plans on entitlement reform were well thought-out as was his economic plan, yet he couldn’t motivate people to support him or his ideas.

While the media was fixated on the Bachmann vs. Pawlenty battle, a largely absent Mitt Romney was the candidate who Pawlenty couldn’t beat.  Pawlenty never could peel off enough of Romney supporters for his own campaign.  Pawlenty’s exit from the race now opens the door wide for Romney to reengage in Iowa.

Pawlenty’s exit also further opens the door for Texas Governor Rick Perry.  Even though Perry and Bachmann have similar appeal to Tea Party activists and social conservatives, Perry is perceived as the more establishment candidate, which should appeal to those who supported Pawlenty.

Pawlenty’s exit also means that there are a bunch of political staffers wondering where their next paycheck will come from.  In a state that already has a small pool of available political staffers, the 15 or so Iowa staffers may not be out of work long.


Photo by Dave Davidson,

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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