It's Cold Here in December, Kinda Like Minnesota
The news that Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is coming to New Hampshire in December to keynote a Republican Senate Majority Committee PAC fundraiser created a bit of a buzz among local journalists and political observers today, an almost celebratory feeling that the 2012 presidential primary season is now finally underway (sorry, Haley Barbour). Even so, I don’t think anyone was particularly surprised by the announcement. Given that Pawlenty went to the trouble of placing a congratulatory call to Manchester Mayor-elect Ted Gatsas last week, a visit to the Granite State couldn’t be too far behind for the Republican presidential hopeful.
As I noted in an earlier post on the Gatsas phone call, candidates make these early overtures not only to raise their public profile in the state (Pawlenty will get plenty of free media coverage), but also to take an early read on the potential for tapping into preexisting grassroots networks for fundraising and organization. In this case, the connective political tissue is longtime McCain campaign advisor and Concord resident Mike Dennehy. Since Pawlenty was national co-chair of McCain’s 2008 presidential bid, and Dennehy advises the Republican Senate Majority Committee PAC, the venue makes sense. Assuming Pawlenty eventually gets into the presidential race, I will be interested to see the extent to which McCain’s former grassroots network in the state is activated intact for Pawlenty, or whether some members gravitate toward other candidates.

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