Tim Pawlenty Gets Plenty With New Campaign Manager Nick Ayers

Bookmark and Share Today was a good day for Tim Palwenty. The former Minnesota Governor started it by posting “Excited to announce that Nick will lead our team as campaign manager”, on his Facebook page. The decision and ability to get Nick Ayers on Pawlenty’s team is certainly one to be excited about.

At 29, Nick Ayers is already an experienced hand in Republican politics. And he has experience with success too. At age 19 after several years as an active leader within the ranks of Young Republicans, Ayers found himself leaving Kennesaw State University to help elect Sonny Perdue, Governor of Georgia. A few years later, after Perdue won that election and became the first Republican of Georgia since Reconstruction, Ayers was named Perdue’s 2004 campaign manager and by the time reelection rolled around Ayers managed Perdue’s campaign to a 20-point margin of victory.

By 2007, Governor Perdue began serving a one year term as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association and he designated Nick to as the Executive Director. There, Ayers revamped the organization by implementing a long term strategy for the organization. That long term strategy help Republicans go from 22 Governors when he stepped in in 2007, to 29 by 2011.

Early on in 2011, Ayers was briefly discussed as a potential candidate for Chairman of the Republican National Committee but he declined the opportunity to run and was instead appointed to head up the RNC transition team that helped change the hands of leadership from Mike Steele to Reince Priebus.

Now Ayers finds himself managing Tim Pawlenty’s soon to be presidential campaign.

While Ayers’ experience, connections and talent are certainly remarkable assets to any campaign, one of the most interesting things he brings with him is a working familiarity of Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. Barbour will be a formidable opponent in the 2012 Republican nomination contest. As a former successful R.N.C. Chairman, Barbour’s reach is extensive. He is owed many favors, knows where the bodies are buried and has the ability to raise more money than even President Obama. These connections were only enhanced by his recent stint as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, where Nick Ayers was serving and working with and for Barbour.

Now I can’t say how closely the two worked together and I have no idea as to whether or not Barbour and Ayers developed a personal friendship during those days. But I can attest to the fact that in politics, no matter how close you get to someone personally, just by working with them you get a good sense of their instincts. And such a sense of Haley Barbour’s political instincts will be quite helpful to Tim Pawlenty in the days to come.

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