CNN is reporting former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is dropping out of the 2012 GOP presidential primary. The Minnesota Republican’s campaign took a huge blow in Ames on Saturday when he finished a distant third behind Congress Ron Paul in the Iowa Straw Poll, which Rep. Michele Bachmann won overwhelmingly.
Politico’s Jonathan Martin and NBC News’ Chuck Todd tweeted out early Sunday morning that Mr. Pawlenty announced he would drop out of the race. According to Todd, “The issue for Pawlenty: he was out of money and had set up a campaign structure that relied on conventional funding.”
Governor Pawlenty was reportedly having fundraising problems prior the Iowa Straw Poll. The Minnesota Republican spent $1 million to place better than he did. Texas Governor Rick Perry was not even on the straw poll ballot but managed to garner 4 percent of the vote as a write in. This was hardly a good sign for the Pawlenty campaign.
Many asked why Tim Pawlenty did not go after Mitt Romney earlier during the New Hampshire debate. Money may have been an issue there as well. Some consultants told me that Pawlenty was concerned that Romney had an attack ad ready if Mr. Pawlenty continued his attacks on Romney (the “Obmaneycare” remark) from TV talk shows to the debate. Mr. Pawlenty did not have the money on hand to defend himself back then.
Pawlenty likely knew the numbers were not going his way early in the straw poll. Each candidate gave a speech between 12pm and 3pm on Saturday in Ames. Rep. Ron Paul was more than willing to talk to the press following his speech, which focused primarily on pro - life issues.
However, Governor Pawlenty was rushed off the stage, as handlers repeatedly told journalists,”no questions.”
Now the question is, who will Pawlenty endorse?