Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – During the 2008 presidential race, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney planted a flag in Iowa and counted on a win in the first-in-the-nation caucus state to - he hoped - vault him to the Republican nomination.
This time around, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is doing similar early spadework. He already has a team of field staffers in place and has recruited a blue-chip roster of prominent Iowans to back his campaign in hopes that a top-three finish in the caucuses punches his ticket to New Hampshire.
So perhaps it makes sense that Pawlenty’s Iowa campaign is working out of the very same Urbandale office that Romney’s team occupied four years ago ... though the Pawlenty team hopes the similarities end there.
Romney’s disappointing second-place finish in Iowa dealt his 2008 campaign a blow from which it never recovered, and as he prepares to mount a second White House bid, his advisers are being careful to lower expectations in Iowa.
Pawlenty’s local staffers are looking instead to a more recent tenant for inspiration: The office space, rented from an adjacent Republican-owned screen-printing business, also housed the successful campaign of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad in 2010.