Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty
has established political action committees to help local candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire, the two early-voting states in presidential nominating races that play a big role in making or breaking hopefuls for the White House, according to the Des Moines Register
and Manchester Union-Leader
Alex Conant, a Pawlenty spokesman, insisted to the Register that establishment of the PAC in Iowa was aimed at this year's midterms.
"We filed these committees now because now is the time to start organizing on the grass-roots level for 2010," Conant said."The governor doesn't know what he's going to do when he's done being governor. He'll decide that early next year."
However, establishing such PACs in earl primary and caucus states is a familiar tactic for presidential wannabes. Vice President Joseph Biden, for one, did so in Iowa in 2008 when he was seeking the Democratic nomination.
Pawlenty is not running for re-election as governor and has taken steps to raise his national profile.
He has a long ways go go in Iowa to succeed in building his visibility. The Register's latest Iowa Poll
, conducted June 1-3, found 53 percent of likely Republican primary voters did not know much or anything about Pawlenty. That compared to Mitt Romney who was known and seen favorably by 62 percent, Sarah Palin who was regarded favorably by 58 percent and Newt Gingrich who had a 56 percent favorability rating. For all three of those, the percentage of voters not familiar with them is 12 percent or less.
In New Hampshire, Pawlenty joins Romney who has also set up a PAC in the state.
A Pawlenty spokesman told the Union-Leader that the governor " hopes to be up in New Hampshire helping candidates wherever he can."