ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty plans to fade from Iowa’s paid airwaves just days from the critical GOP straw poll.

Campaign spokesman Alex Conant said Thursday that Pawlenty’s sustained TV ad presence ends Wednesday, three days before the Iowa Republican Party Straw Poll in Ames, the first time voters express their preferences. The campaign long ago locked in commercial time slots through next Friday, but decided to scale back.

Instead, Conant said money will be spent on phone banks, direct mail and other tools designed to boost Pawlenty’s popularity for the straw poll.

One GOP rival, fellow Minnesotan Michele Bachmann, plans to keep her ads up throughout next week, spokeswoman Alice Stewart said. The third candidate with a commercial presence is Texas Rep. Ron Paul; an official with his campaign said ad plans are still being finalized.

Conant denied his candidate’s move signaled a campaign on the financial brink. Pawlenty started July with $1.4 million for his primary campaign, according to his Federal Election Commission report. Instead, Conant described it as a previously planned shift to make sure Republican voters committed to the former Minnesota governor actually show up.

“We are moving from recruitment mode to turnout mode and that requires more direct voter contact,” Conant said. He declined to elaborate on the expected volume of campaign calls or mail pieces, saying he didn’t want to tip other campaigns off to detailed strategy.

Rich Schwarm, a former Iowa GOP chairman and adviser to previous White House contenders, said Pawlenty’s decision to pull his ads early makes sense because TV ads have a diminishing return so close to an event aimed at a few voters.

The final days are “primarily devoted to getting the supporters you’ve identified to the straw poll,” said Schwarm, who is personally undecided.

Pawlenty settles in this Friday for a solid stretch of Iowa campaigning — eight days, 26 cities and more than 1,300 miles on a swing that ends in Ames. The former Minnesota governor spent half of July in Iowa, where he has invested heavily since first scoping out a 2012 bid.

Pawlenty, Bachmann and Paul have the most visible Iowa campaigns ahead of the straw poll. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has been campaigning nonstop in Iowa but is on a shoestring budget. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, businessman Herman Cain and Michigan Rep.Thad McCotter will also appear on the ballot — as will former Govs. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Jon Huntsman of Utah, neither of whom has made much of an Iowa effort this year.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (25)
  1. pmh49 says:

    Pawlenty has always denied he was on the financial brink – I would expect no less of him in Iowa. I do believe there are more experts in the fine art of detecting bull caca in Iowa than there were in Minnesota.

  2. The Architect says:

    Pawlenty is a highly respected & dignified candidate..He’s very astute in shifting his efforts in this manner,unlike the other candidates..He’s a highly intelligent man who knows exactly what he’s doing..Don’t underestimate him for one moment..He’s a great leader.

    1. pmh49 says:

      Hey Architect – I been reading your stuff for a while now and it is pretty good. In real life are you like Tina Fey or something??? Good job – keep it up – always good entertainment.

    2. $oul$ For $ale says:

      Don’t expect too much from him. As soon as they get in the race for the presidency they become puppets of the party. As we speak someone somewhere has their hand up his you know what, and his lips may move but the words are not his own. You’ll hear him say the same old thing all the others say, that is because they are under the complete control of the Right wing think tanks (Rove and others). Unfortunately for Pawlenty, he is just not what the Republican Caucus is looking for. They need someone that can raise extremely large sums of money, someone who is willing to sell their soul to the highest bidder.

  3. Deep Thinker says:

    If Pawlenty becomes president, he won’t increase taxes but you will be paying user’s fees for everything you can possibly imagine. This dope has no chance at all, I don’t understand why candidates like Pawlenty run, must have something to do with his large ego, or maybe he wants to make up for running Minnesota into the hole.

  4. Pawlenty + Bachmann = Laughter says:

    Hey T-Paw tell us again how you will never see another Bruce Springsteen concert because his politics are different than yours….lol…..what a simpleton

  5. rw says:

    He is such a sleaze-bag.

  6. Kapulas says:

    Timmy is a lightweight angling for some sort of side kick on Fox news someplace. The guy ran Minnesota into the ground with all his no new taxes BS. All he did was kick the can down the road and then ran away from the problem he created.

  7. A Minnesotan says:

    Worst governor ever.

    1. Wll says:

      Just wait, Dayton is just getting started.

      1. Mark says:

        There will never be a governor more inept than Mr. Tim Paw-lentey-ofnothin’

  8. Jeff says:

    Just like he was in a state of denial about Minnesota’s finances. Nah Nah Nah Nah Hay Hay Hay Goodbye…..

  9. Ralph h says:

    He s been running for president 5 yrs now.Too bad it took precedence over his governor s job.

  10. St Paul says:

    This next election has become a circus of Tea Party and Republican Candidates!!

    I can’t imagine anyone who would give money to this fool!!

  11. M says:

    Wish this guy had “The Courage” to just shut up and never be in government in any way again. To bad he wrecked Minnesota’s economy trying to get elected to the presidency. Whatta jerk.

  12. Justin says:

    He was bad but not as bad as Dayton.

  13. Tom Teapartier says:

    I vote pro-life pro-family pro-gun pro-capitalism EACH and EVERY time…oh and pro-male…I will not vote for a woman for president, so Pawlenty is my candidate. I wish him the best!

    1. Bill says:

      An Interesting Hypothesis!

    2. Mark says:

      Pro-Gun & Pro-Life? Just a bit hypocritical aren’t we?

  14. Sean says:

    Why is TP running?? easy. If the convention is deadlocked the puppet masters know that timmy will do their bidding

  15. GIVE IT UP!!!!!!! says:


  16. I'm just sayin says:

    Nice comments, so much for Minnesota nice. You folks make Middle Eastern Terrorist look like sunday school kids with your hate and vitriol. Nice, really nice.

    1. Grover says:

      With what you have spewed on other stories you should look in the mirror

      1. I'm just sayin says:

        Grover, I have never spewed nor attacked anyone here. You must have me confused for someone that will allow you to tell lies. I am not a party hack, I am worried about our country and state and you are using innuendo with no factual basis to character assisinate. Apparently you have been taught well by your party. so much for tryign to steer the conversation into a productive direction. Keep up the good work of driving this conversation down to whoever tells the biggest lie and gets away with it. You sir, asre the perfect example of what is wrong with this country and politics, no accountability.

  17. Murph says:

    Tim’s only shining moment was when district judge Gearin shined her size nine pump, on his rump.Tim, I keep telling you shoot for the shoe shine job at the courthouse,you are perfect in that role! WHAT A GREAT RESUME! No other Minnesotan that I know of has ever been convicted of violating the State Constitution and landed such a high position!

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