Pawlenty campaign chief tries to reassure staff
July 15th, 2011
10:09 PM ET
3 years ago

Pawlenty campaign chief tries to reassure staff

Salt Lake City, Utah (CNN) - Tim Pawlenty's campaign manager Nick Ayers tried to reassure staff Friday about the Minnesota Republican's shaky presidential bid, saying there was plenty of time to make up ground.

In an email, provided to CNN by a Republican source, Ayers pointed out that Pawlenty's second quarter fundraising total of $4.5 million outpaced every GOP candidate other than the frontrunner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

He acknowledged Pawlenty's relatively weak standing in Iowa polling. But he argued that early polls rarely determine the nominee.

"If they mattered this early, Obama would have never beat Clinton, and McCain would have never beaten Giuliani and Thompson who were both leading in polls by a significant margin in July 2007," Ayers wrote.

Ayers signed off with the faux Latin phrase "Illegitimi non carborundum," meaning: "Don't let the bastards grind you down."

Read the full email after the jump.

From: Nick Ayers

I am writing this note to the staff, advisors, our hard working fundraisers, and the campaign leadership around the country who work as hard as our campaign staff. Thank you for all that you have done thus far. Your support has been tremendous. I simply wanted you to end your week with a few thoughts about the campaign in mind as you head into the weekend.

For the last three weeks, the press has been focused on Governor Pawlenty's viability as a candidate and questioned < or in some cases pre-determined < that he, and we, would not remain viable. The hard facts are simply not on their side, and the press' ill-perceived narrative is a far cry from the stamina this campaign possesses, and the path we are actually on.

Here are just a few reasons why:

Today's FEC disclosure reports make this point clearly. We came in second place in Republican presidential fundraising. That's a big deal and a far cry from the narrative promoted in the press. The reality is that Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, and Mitt Romney all built infrastructures as early as the Governor, and began organizing, yet only one raised more money and most raised far less.

Moreover, to get to our $4-million-dollar range as Huntsman and Bachmann did, one had to loan their campaign $2 million and the other transferred $2 million from a congressional account. We raised $4.5 million dollars and have $2 million COH, with $1.4 million of this available to spend in the primary and no debt. That is, $1,000,000 more than what Gov. Huckabee had on hand at this stage who went on to win Iowa, and just as much as Sen. McCain had on hand at this point who went on to become the nominee (he was carrying $1.7 million in debt). We are better positioned financially than the top two finishers of the 2008 cycle. This is just a fact. Moreover, the only person whose fundraising is stronger is Governor Romney's. It's important to note that keeping up with him at this stage of the game has never been a part of our strategy. We don't need $20 million to defend Gov. Pawlenty's record < they will. We have the budget that leads to success in the early states.

The next charge against us regards our current positioning in the national polls or the Des Moines Register poll. One is relevant (the DMR poll) and the other is not. National polls are largely irrelevant to the race at this stage but are great media fodder. If they mattered this early, Obama would have never beat Clinton, and McCain would have never beaten Giuliani and Thompson who were both leading in polls by a significant margin in July 2007. The DMR poll is relevant because Iowa is where the current contest for us is taking place. However, when they fielded it we had not begun advertising, and the Governor had only been there since his announcement once. Since then we've launched two television ads that have 2,000 points behind them in the Des Moines market, ran 3 radio ads, launched a 6-minute video on the Pawlentys' faith in an email to thousands of Huckabee supporters and conservatives. The Governor's town halls last week drew great crowds, enthusiasm and earned-media in Iowa (read this story: http://bit.ly/qC4sEp).

In four weeks, we will compete in the Ames Straw Poll, a proud tradition for Iowa Republicans and our team, led by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is working hard and smart to show we're organized. This contest is a dream for candidates like Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul. But instead of dodging it as other candidates have, we have embraced the challenge and look forward to competing. We were in 5th or 6th place a few weeks ago depending on the poll, and the Straw Poll is an important opportunity for us to show progress, which we will do. In the days leading up to the Straw Poll, the Governor will be campaigning in Iowa 20 out of 30 days, our strong message will be on the airwaves, and most importantly, we have the candidate with the best record who can actually get elected President next year. But best of all, we will compete in the Caucus thereafter which is far more representative of voters attitudes and will give all Iowa Republicans an opportunity to see all the candidates over a longer period of time, up close and personal.

We have good news to report outside of Iowa, too. In New Hampshire, we have the best operative in the state, Sarah Stewart, leading our efforts, and yesterday, we announced that Governor Romney's 2008 NH State Chair Bruce Keough endorsed us. We are fortunate to have Tea Party leader Jennifer Horn on board there, too. In Florida, incoming Speaker of the FL House of Representatives, Will Weatherford, and many of his colleagues, have endorsed Gov. Pawlenty. Weatherford joins Gov. Jeb Bush's former Campaign Chair Phil Handy, who is serving on our National Finance Committee. In Georgia, we have Gov. Deal's top-backer, Tricia Pridemore, former Gov. Sonny Perdue, and former Senate President Eric Johnson leading our efforts.

Last Sunday our candidate went on Meet The Press with David Gregory, a venue where you are unlikely to find our competition appear anytime soon. He did a great job and he's comfortable taking tough questions because he actually understands policy, has a great record to tout, and doesn't deliver rehearsed boilerplate talking points like other candidates. That's a huge advantage moving forward < the others cannot hide from this much longer.

But you would be hard pressed to find this counter narrative in some press stories of late. I don't blame them < they have a job to do. That doesn't mean their interpretation is accurate and in this instance they have not extrapolated all of the facts. We all know that campaigns ebb and flow. The reality is things are never as good as they seem, and things are never as bad as they seem. All along we've said we need to raise just enough resources to compete in the early states (check), show well in the straw poll (headed there), do well in the Iowa Caucus and be ready to compete in NH, SC, and beyond.

That's exactly where we are and will continue to be.

With your continued focus, support and energy, Tim Pawlenty will be the
Republican nominee for President and go on to defeat Barack Obama next November. Thank you for all that you do. We could not do this without you.

Keep fighting.

Illegitimi non carborundum,

Nick Ayers
Campaign Manager

PS: I also want to personally thank all the staff who, on their own volition, donated to the campaign. That says a lot about our team, and the man you are working for.


Filed under: 2012 • Fundraising • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. LegendRx

    Pipe dream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 16, 2011 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  2. Gabe

    With a personality of a light pole and the stubbornness of a jackass, and the problem solving skills of a criminal.....what would you expect????

    July 16, 2011 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  3. thomas

    Nick Ayers tried to reassure staff Friday about the Minnesota Republican's shaky presidential bid, saying there was plenty of time to make up ground.

    Nick Ayers , like changing deck chairs on the Titanic !

    July 16, 2011 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  4. Jack Rio

    I It is patently false that Pawlenty has come to be 2nd place in fundraising. Ron Paul has raised about 4.5 million while Pawlenty raised 4.2 . Way to get it wrong and continue the Anti-Paul sentiment, you amateurs.

    July 16, 2011 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  5. s kel

    assure them of what? that hes a loser?

    July 16, 2011 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  6. KHJ

    Pawlenty did NOT raise more than Ron Paul, and has far less on hand, and part of what he does have is for the general election.

    July 16, 2011 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  7. Sebastian Janssen

    Looks like Nick Ayers didn't see Ron Paul's FEC numbers yet. I guess he'll send a follow-up e-mail to Pawlenty supporters once he realizes that Paul came in second, not Pawlenty.

    July 16, 2011 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  8. Adam

    No mention of Ron Paul?

    Pawlenty did not raise $4.5 Million.

    July 16, 2011 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  9. Ari Asulin

    Is the TeaParty Astroturfing? Not entirely, but there is certainly boundless evidence to support that claim. There is demonstrable evidence that Corporate interests (who have much to gain from the TeaParty's influence) are paying people to essentially post on news articles and blogs. Don't believe me? Its not necessary to.

    Next time you're looking through comments try to notice the kind of comments being posted. You should always be able to find those that are simply unrelated to the topic of discussion. Notice how many there, and the nature of their content. Gives you the impression that the TeaParty is all over the internet, until you see the pattern. When that happens, you'll probably come to the same conclusion I have:

    The TeaParty is many orders of magnitude smaller than it appears to be.

    July 16, 2011 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  10. CBR

    After listening to Mr. Pawlenty speak I think his low ratings might just come from the fact that he has not given the voters any new information. He seems to be an intelligent man but again he feels the need to buy into ideologies floating around right now. He needs to be his own man and he needs to think about the presidency in terms of the entire country not just the platform of the TEA party.

    July 16, 2011 05:02 am at 5:02 am |
  11. Mr. Blog

    To all Rep. campaign staffers:

    Go work for Ron Paul.
    Help save America.

    July 16, 2011 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  12. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    TPaw cannot duplicate President Obama's Iowa run because he is a dud. That's why he is losing.

    July 16, 2011 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  13. GOP = Greed Over People

    Wasn't it Timmy that said he was not worried about "low poll numbers"?

    That's good, because he will be accustomed to the low number of votes in the primaries.

    July 16, 2011 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  14. diridi

    just a stupid. Did he ever know that he has lowest number of poll, I don't blame public. he is an idiot....

    July 16, 2011 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  15. John

    What he trying to do getting to let them know he doesn't have a chance in heck of winning. We like the bridges to stay up In America.

    July 16, 2011 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  16. Bubba

    This guy is the poster child for an ineffectual candidate. Nobody needs to grind him down, he already ain't much. Bachmann is kicking his butt in the polls. Get a real job Tim and work for a living!

    July 16, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  17. Ray

    Ron Paul raised more than $4.5 million, and all of it is for the primary. Way to fact check, Peter Hamby!

    July 16, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  18. Josh

    Ron Paul raised more money – maybe not way more, but stop kidding yourself. Your 3rd place. Be happy with that. Ron Paul also has more cash on hand. Ron Paul also has a much larger network of supporters who will continue to moneybomb him until he gets elected.

    July 16, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |