If Pawlenty Runs, Huckabee’s Top 2008 Iowa Adviser Would Support Him

The Des Moines Register’s Tom Beaumont reports:
The top Iowa adviser to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said today he will support former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, should Pawlenty seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Eric Woolson, 52, said he did not know whether Huckabee, the 2008 caucus winner, planned to run again. Huckabee, in Iowa last week, said he was weighing a second presidential bid but had reservations about its fundraising demands.

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.”

Woolson boasts one of the most robust portfolios of Republican campaign work in Iowa, although he also worked on Democrat Joe Biden’s Iowa campaign in 1987.

Since then, Woolson has worked for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s campaigns and administration, George W. Bush’s 2000 Iowa caucus campaign and other GOP candidates for state and federal office.

He has been the president and CEO of his own public relations firm since 2002.

Huckabee’s Cinderella campaign in 2008, when he grew from an asterisk in the polls to the caucus front-runner, helped stamp Woolson as a top catch for 2012.

He joins veteran Iowa Republicans Chuck Larson and Karen Slifka as senior strategists who have helped Pawlenty make contacts, and national GOP operatives Terry Nelson and Sara Taylor, who are Iowa natives.

Huckabee has given a summer time frame for deciding about a 2012 campaign. That may be too late, Woolson has said, and he does not want to wait to get involved.

“As you look at the monumental task of unseating an incumbent president, Republicans need to get about the business of getting that job done,” Woolson said. “And I want to get on with the task of getting that done.”

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