WASHINGTON — Tim Pawlenty’s nascent presidential campaign scored a big get in Iowa in the form of Eric Woolson, a top Iowa campaign strategiest who helped plot Mike Huckabee’s upset win there in 2008.
As first reported by the Washington Post:
Eric Woolson, a top aide to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in the 2008 Iowa caucuses, has signed on with former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty for the coming 2012 contest, according to two sources familiar with the decision.
Woolson was at the center of Huckabee’s stunning victory in the 2008 Iowa caucuses and his decision to switch camps will be read as an indication that the former Arkansas governor is leaning against a return run for president.
For an indication of how big a deal this is, here’s the spin from two Iowa outlets. From Craig Robinson at The Iowa Republican…
Woolson’s decision to go to work for Pawlenty tells us a couple of things. One, Tim Pawlenty is taking Iowa seriously. Two, maybe Mike Huckabee isn’t. Just last week Woolson attended Huckabee’s book signing in West Des Moines. Woolson was also invited on to Huckabee’s bus with a number of other supporters.
… and Tom Beaumont of the Des Moines Register, who talked to Woolson about the move:
Woolson said he would work for Pawlenty if asked, but that he had not been offered a position. Pawlenty, who has enlisted the advice of key Republican strategists in the leadoff caucus state, said Monday in Ames that he was within weeks of announcing the next step in his exploration.
“I expressed to him an interest in helping him,” Woolson told The Des Moines Register, referring to a conversation he had with Pawlenty in mid-February.
“I think he’s got a terrific record. He’s got a great story to tell,” Woolson said. “He hasn’t said he’s running yet. If he decides to run, I’d love to help him tell that story to Iowans.”