Pawlenty drops presidential campaign

Tim Pawlenty speaks to the crowd at a multi-county event in Tiffin. (Photo: William Dahlsten/Linn County GOP)

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty made it official Sunday morning during a conference call with his team; the campaign will end following a poor showing at the 2011 Ames Straw Poll.

Pawlenty thanked staff members for their work but said that the campaign, which had pinned much of its hopes to Iowa, needed to receive a boost from the straw poll.

Pawlenty supporters march into Hilton Coliseum at Iowa State University Saturday while chanting “T-Paw! T-Paw!” Although there was no lack of enthusiasm among supporters, there simply weren't enough of them to keep the former Minnesota Governor in the 2012 race. (Photo: Lynda Waddington/The Iowa Independent)

Speaking later to ABC News on the program “This Week,” Pawlenty repeated his claim that the campaign needed help that the straw poll didn’t provide.

“I’m very, very grateful for the people of Iowa. I wish it would have been different. Obviously, the pathway forward for me doesn’t really exist, and so we’re going to end the campaign,” he said.

It was a distinctly different messag than one that had been circulated late Saturday by his campaign after vote tallies were announced in Ames.

“I’m encouraged by our progress,” read a message sent by the campaign on behalf of Pawlenty, “and I’m so thankful for the thousands of Iowans who showed their support for my candidacy by voting for me in Ames.

“We are now moving onto the next phase of our campaign. Over the coming weeks we will be visiting New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida while continuing to grow our already strong ground game in Iowa.”

Pawlenty received roughly 2,300 votes in Ames to place third, behind U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann with 4,823 votes and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul with 4,671 votes.

In Iowa the end of the Pawlenty presidential campaign means that several of the state’s most experience caucus staffers will soon be without a home, but likely not for long. Texas Gov. Rick Perry made good on his campaign’s leaked info and he announced Saturday in South Carolina that he would seek the presidency. There are also key strategists and advisors who have been freed with the Pawlenty announcement — Karen Slifka and Chuck Larson Jr. among them.

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