Ex-leader of GOP gov group to run Pawlenty effort

Published 11:35 am Tuesday, April 12, 2011

ST. PAUL — An operative who helped Republicans claim a majority of state governors’ offices will head up Tim Pawlenty’s presidential efforts.

Pawlenty’s exploratory committee announced Monday that Nick Ayers will be campaign manager. Most recently, Ayers was executive director of the Republican Governors Association during the 2010 election cycle in which the GOP made gains from coast to coast.

Ayers helped raise and spend more than $100 million. Republicans gained control of governor’s mansions in key presidential battleground states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. Pawlenty, then Minnesota’s governor, worked with Ayers while serving as vice chairman of the RGA.

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Before his national stint, Ayers managed the successful campaign of then-Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue.

He will start his Pawlenty job April 25 after moving to Minneapolis, where the campaign is headquartered.