Pawlenty expands political team into South Carolina
May 16th, 2011
12:24 PM ET
12 years ago

Pawlenty expands political team into South Carolina

(CNN) - Tim Pawlenty's early campaign efforts have been largely confined to the two leadoff states of Iowa and New Hampshire, but the former Minnesota governor is now expanding his operation into South Carolina, the early primary state with a can't-miss record of picking the Republican presidential nominee.

CNN has learned that Pawlenty has hired Kurt Pickhardt, who until last week was the Operations Director for the South Carolina Republican Party, to serve as his political director in the state.

Pickhardt worked behind-the-scenes over the last two years as the state party racked up historic gains up and down the ballot, and along the way developed relationships with key conservative activists in every county of the state.

"Voters in South Carolina will be impressed by Governor Pawlenty's conservative record of cutting taxes and spending in Minnesota," said Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant. "We're glad to have Kurt Pickhardt on the team to help organize this important state for Governor Pawlenty."

In hiring the 26-year old Pickhardt, Pawlenty is bypassing the traditional route of hiring an entrenched political consultant to help steer the primary operation, opting instead to tap into a deep bench of young and often overlooked political talent in the state.

Pawlenty's pollster Jon Lerner also has deep South Carolina ties, having advised both Mark Sanford and Nikki Haley on their way to the governor's mansion.

Filed under: 2012 • South Carolina • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. EminMinnesota

    Anyone who is impressed by Pawlenty's record in Minnesota is a moron. The people of this state can't stand the man...he left our infrastructure in absolute shambles due to his refusal to accept that governments req

    May 16, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. EminMinnesota

    Ooops...his the w rong key. require taxes to provide services. Pawlenty has no chance at b eing president, thank God!

    May 16, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. deb

    Thats exactly where Mr. Pawlenty belongs. He will get "Extremist Votes" from this Gop/TP state. Nothing but total misery in S.C., No Jobs(never has been) low graduation rate,high taxes,high poverty rate,ect? Gop and Evangelicals will use S.C. poor and middleclass taxes, and give you what you want. Teaparty Heaven!

    May 16, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |

    Ask us in MN how Pawlenty really cut spending? By striping education and funding for medical care for the poor. Ask us in MN how Pawlenty "cut taxes?" He just labeled taxes as "fees." Ask us in MN if Pawlenty ever garnered more than 50% in either of his gubernatorial elections and Minnesotans will tell you no, he did not.

    May 16, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. Jake

    he lost out on the VP slot to SARAH PALIN with John McCain in 2008 because he wasn't exciting does he think he can win at the TOP of the ticket!? by picking Sarah Palin again as a VP?

    May 16, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. thomas

    Out of touch and closed minded ! Not what this country needs to advance.
    A fool with no vision !

    May 16, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. Kathy

    Look at his staff in Iowa and see how one just got arrested for trying to break into a house because he was DRUNK! Then he lied and said he didn't drive there, but his car was parked in the street. He then proceeded to throw up on the lawn...Yup! He really knows how to pick them.

    May 16, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  8. KickedintheTeeth

    Deb, I'm in SC and I am soooooo miserable...Total Misery? What are you talking about? And no job

    May 16, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country (the real deal)

    >Ask us in MN how Pawlenty really cut spending? By striping education and funding for medical care for the poor.

    So what would you have cut? Cuts are never popular but are necessary. Liberals think you can increase taxes and spending forever.

    >Ask us in MN how Pawlenty "cut taxes?" He just labeled taxes as "fees."

    usually this means that the people using the services pay for them instead of spreading the costs to everybody.

    >Ask us in MN if Pawlenty ever garnered more than 50% in either of his gubernatorial elections and Minnesotans will tell you no, he did not.

    Irrelevant. He won the election. A Democrat would have won with less than 50% as well. You need to get a grip on reality.

    May 16, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. JR

    You can just feel the momentum building for this guy. I can almost hear the voice of America chanting his name. Timmy....Timmy ....Timmy !! At least Donald was smart enough to get out. Tim......stop embarrasing yourself and get out.

    May 16, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Ryan

    Didn't a bridge fall down on this clown's watch as Gov of Minnesota?

    May 16, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. diridi

    He is just like another Texan Idiot...o.k, no chance...

    May 16, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. Dot

    ErinMinnesota & MN RESIDENT: My daughter and her husband live in Minneapolis and since I live nearby in Wisconsin I spend quite a bit of time in your state. I could not agree with both of you more! Now if the great people of MN could just boot that crazy woman Bachmann out of office it would be wonderful!

    May 16, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    Mr. Pawlenty may or may not be running for President. It really doesn't matter, because he'll never BECOME President. Won't be on the GOPer V.P. list either, unless not being able to carry your own home state isn't a requirement to whomever will be the GOPer pick for President. Guy never was very popular in MN, and certainly never carried more than 45% of the vote during either of his elections in MN. Just paid my property tax, and thanks to Pawlenty's *fiscally* conservative policies, my County and City taxes have now nearly doubled during his 8 year tenure as Governor which started back in 2002. Yet, to hear him talk, HE had nothing to do with the yearly increases. Thank God he's gone from MN, and hasn't the power to continue his economic rape of our residents. He was an absolute catastrophe for MN - even before the recession. He spent his entire last 3 years as Governor readying himself for his Presidential dreams by running away from Minnesota (and his failed policies) as fast as his little legs would take him.

    May 16, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    When you see the word "former" in front of a candidates name you better learn to check him/her out before you say "I do" because some of these guys are lifetime poster children.

    May 16, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |