Showing early signs of a likely presidential run, Tim Pawlenty today filed forms with the FEC to create the Freedom First political action committee.
According to a release, "The new federal PAC will offer financial support to candidates committed to putting freedom before government, and provide organizational support for Pawlenty to promote his innovative, conservative message. The new PAC will have an unprecedented approach to citizen engagement, and features a website at www.TimPawlenty.com, where supporters can add their voice to Pawlenty’s message."
Pawlenty's PAC is already supported by an impressive and distinguished list of leaders. It will be co-chaired by William H. Strong, the Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley, and Vin Weber, former Minnesota congressman.
Freedom First PAC Minnesota Co-Chairs include:
Al & Cathy Annexstad, Shorewood, Minnesota
Bill Cooper, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, TCF Financial Corporation, and former Chairman of Republican Party of Minnesota.
Mark Davis, Chairman, Cambria
Megan Doyle, Founder, Hope for the City
Jeff Larson, Former CEO, 2008 MSP Host Committee and Partner, FLS Connect.
Susan Marvin, President, Marvin Windows
Tim Owens, CEO, Voyager Bank
Tom Stauber, President & owner, Edwards Sales
Bob Ulrich, Former CEO, Target
Senior advisers will include campaign veterans like Phil Musser, President of New Frontier Strategy and former executive director of the Republican Governors Association; Terry Nelson, Partner, Mercury Public Affairs and former RNC and Bush-Cheney 2004 political director; and Sara Taylor, President of BlueFront Strategies and former White House political director. Former FEC Chairman Michael Toner of Bryan Cave, LLP will serve as the PAC’s counsel.
The PAC’s communication director will be Alex Conant who most recently served as the RNC's national press secretary and senior advisor.
Pawlenty has also landed a top-notch crew of online experts.
Online strategy and outreach will be led by former Townhall blogger Patrick Ruffini and Mindy Finn -- both of the firm Engage.
Liz Mair and Patrick Hynes of Hynes Communications will handle online communications outreach. As you may recall, Hynes served as blog outreach consultant for McCain’s 2008 Presidential campaign, and Mair served as the RNC’s online communications director during 2008.
Trisha Hamm, who was previously the political director for Pawlenty’s gubernatorial campaign, will serve as the Minnesota Finance Director and Annie Kelly, who formerly served as the deputy campaign manager for Pawlenty’s campaign in 2006, will be responsible for PAC operations, and Don Stiles will serve as Treasurer.
Make no mistake, this is the kind of move one makes if they are planning on running for president. The impressive list of names included in this roll-out implies, to me, at least, Pawlenty is planning on running an aggressive and serious campaign. Moreover, the amount of online talent implies Pawlenty will be extremely formidable online.