Eric Woolson, Mike Huckabee’s key organizer in Iowa in 2008, has joined Tim Pawlenty’s team. The Des Moines Register reports:
The top Iowa adviser to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Wednesday he will support former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty should Pawlenty seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
Eric Woolson, a 52-year-old veteran campaign press operative and media strategist, said he did not know whether Huckabee would run again. Woolson managed Huckabee’s winning 2008 Iowa caucuses campaign.
Woolson said he likes Pawlenty’s record, style and profile as a governor. And Woolson worries that Huckabee’s summer time frame for deciding whether to run again may be too long.
This tells us a few things. First, either by intention or by tardiness, Huckabee is taking himself out of the race. Iowa is Huckabee’s strongest shot before South Carolina, and if he’s not organizing now he’s losing precious time -- and staff. Second, Pawlenty is serious and is building his ground game. He need not win the Iowa caucuses, but a finish in the top three would be a boon to his campaign. And third, everyone who is not displaying certainty and fielding Iowa staff (Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, for example) is, should he later get into the race, going to have to play catch-up -- or skip Iowa altogether.