Tim Pawlenty Ends His Presidential Campaign

Bookmark and Share    Before the vote was in on the Iowa Republican Presidential Straw Poll yesterday, White House 2012 put up a poll that asked readers who will drop out of the presidential race due to a poor showing in the poll.  I never expected to get an answer to that question so soon but shortly after former Minnesota Governor Tim Palwenty finished third, he decided to close up shop.  And while I did not expect it, only 11% of those polled by WH12 did anticipate Pawlenty’s withdrawal from the race.

Shortly after disclosing his plans in a private conference call with  ABC’s “This Week” from Iowa  Pawlenty explained “I wish it would have been different. But obviously the pathway forward for me doesn’t really exist so we are going to end the campaign.”

Pawlenty  trailed the straw poll winner, Michele Bachmann, by 2,530 votes or nearly 15%.

In the end, the decision was essentially based upon what he had so far put into the campaign and what he has gotten in return.  Given Pawlenty’s perfectly managed campaign (although his ads were a bit too dramatic) and campaign organization, his aggressive and constant campaigning, the infinitesimal amount of time he dedicated to the campaign, and the money he already spent, it was clear to Pawlenty and his more than competent campaign team, that they just were not getting enough traction.  It was impossible for Pawlenty to do much more than he did, yet he still was registering support only in the single and lower double digits.

In Iowa, alone, Pawlenty invested plenty of money and put together the type of organization that is required to pull out the straw poll voters needed for a win to be possible.  In the end, his third place showing after his first place effort was apparently enough to convince T-Paw that he couldn’t work any harder than he already was working in order to do any better than he did.

Such a decision does not come easy.   After putting as much of yourself into something as much as Tim Pawlenty and his family did, it is hard to let go.  But  it was the fact that Pawlenty did give his all and knew it which allowed him to come to a conclusion earlier  than most candidates do.  Pawlenty’s decision was a sign of man who his a realist and unafraid to deny reality.  Ultimately the former Governor may have garnered some delegates here or there but it was apparent to him that the cost and effort that he would have needed to invest in order to lose with as few as 10 or 20 delegates, was not rational.

This conclusion was probably also due in part to the sixth place showing of Texas Governor Rick Perry in the straw poll. 

Perry who was not even an official candidate at the time that voting began, and has not campaigned a day anywhere, pulled 718 write in votes.  That was only an additional sign that another well-financed and popular candidate in the race was only going to make the mountain Pawlenty was climbing even more difficult.

Pawlenty was a very credible candidate.  In another time he probably would have been considered a frontrunner.  But in this day and of age of polarized politics, the ideological divide is becoming so wide that the most motivated of voters who are seeking change, just did not find Tim Pawlenty extreme enough or as forceful enough as the times require.  He was a victim of populist anger.  No matter what though, it can’t be said that Pawlenty didn’t run a first class campaign.  And it also can’t be said that he didn’t give us the opportunity to take advantage of his leadership.  The same can not be said for others like Mitch Daniels or Haley Barbour who were not willing to make the sacrifices that Tim Pawlenty was willing make and already did make.

As for the remaining field, the effect of Pawlenty’s withdrawal will probably benefit Mitt Romney the most, while making to little to no difference to Bachmann, who like Pawlenty is from  Minnesota.

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