Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty has hired NIck Ayers, a highly regarded GOP operative, as his campaign manager for an all-but-certain presidential bid. Ayers previously served as executive director of the Republican Governors Association, which helped the GOP pick up seven gubernatorial seats in 2010.
The 28-year-old strategist was courted by at least four other potential Republican presidential contenders, according to The Washington Post. He is expected to begin work in Minneapolis on April 25.
“He is without question one of the best political talents in America,” Pawlenty told Politico. “We are very excited Nick will lead our team. His leadership and record of winning tough races in every part of our country will provide even more momentum to our campaign to get America back on track.”
Pawlenty has all but officially announced that he’ll be seeking the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Last month he firmed an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork. Pawlenty has trailed well behind better-known aspirants in most early polling, but on Saturday he was the top vote getter in the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference’s straw poll.