According to reports, the Tim Pawlenty presidential campaign was in debt after its drive to preform well at the August 13 Iowa straw poll.
But several Republican sources tell The Huffington Post that the former Minnesota governor was confronted by a far more intractable obstacle than leapfrogging the first two finishers — Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Rep. Ron Paul — or facing the newest entrant to the field, Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Pawlenty, the sources say, was out of cash, his campaign having spent heavily in the lead-up to Ames, hoping for a better score than what he got.
It’s not clear, however, how much debt Pawlenty has actually accrued. Requests for comment to former Pawlenty aides were declined.
One source suggested the campaign’s debt was as high as $500,000, but another source with closer knowledge of the campaign deemed that figure far exaggerated. The official tally will be revealed on Oct. 15, when Pawlenty must deliver another filing to the Federal Election Commission.
There were reports in June that several top Pawlenty staffers were working without pay, leading some to speculate that the campaign was strapped for cash. Pawlenty raised only $4.5 million during the first fundraising quarter after he announced his presidential exploratory committee, and had $2 million on hand during the month-long lead-up to the straw poll.
A positive showing at Ames would have helped convince Republican donors to continue to support the campaign, but his disappointing third place finish — well behind the winner, Bachmann — was unlikely to inspire much financial support. Pawlenty ended his campaign the day after the straw poll.
Devin Henry can be reached at email@example.com.