Nashua, New Hampshire (CNN) - Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty must do well in an upcoming Iowa straw poll, his wife said Tuesday, telling CNN she is "cautiously optimistic" about his prospects in that contest.
"He needs to move from where he's been and show significant progress, but I'm reasonably confident we're going to see that good progress," said Mary Pawlenty of her husband's chances in the Ames straw poll August 13th.
For weeks the Republican candidate has spent precious time and campaign dollars shoring up support in Iowa in advance of the straw poll, an event which draws heavy media attention and could be a game changer in the former governor's efforts to secure the GOP nomination.
Meanwhile Mrs. Pawlenty, a former Minnesota district judge whose role on the bench kept her from campaigning in her husband's gubernatorial campaigns, took on the role of political spouse in New Hampshire this week at events with voters.
At a tour of a new YMCA facility in Nashua, Pawlenty raved about the giant swimming pool and a locker room designed for parents with small children. Watching a row of joggers sweating on treadmills, the lithe former judge said ruefully that she needed to spend more time at the gym.
Mrs. Pawlenty also spent time meeting with local GOP heavy hitters about her husband's 2012 effort.