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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

If only it were Florida, not Iowa, for Tim Pawlenty



tim-pawlenty-announces-ca-008.jpgTim Pawlenty this morning withdrew from the Republican race for president after an underwhelming performance in yesterday's Ames straw poll. He never excited people except, perhaps, in Florida.

"I don't know or care if he's got a 5 percent chance or a 50 percent chance or an 80 percent chance, what matters right now is we need people who stand up for what they believe in,'' said state Rep. Richard Corcoran of New Port Richey, a Pawlenty supporter in line to be speaker of the Florida House, said recently.

Corcoran was part of a small but notable core of backers, who also included other future speakers Will Weatherford and Chris Dorworth. He assembled a strong Sunshine State staff, including Slater Bayliss and Bret Prater, and had one of Florida's top fundraisers, Ann Herberger.

"We're looking forward to having a robust campaign in Florida. I think we've got the earliest and best and most prominent team of political leaders, volunteer leaders in this state," Pawlenty told the St. Petersburg Times for an interview that aired Aug. 7 on Bay News 9.

But Pawlenty also acknowledged that he needed to do well in Iowa. He placed third, well behind winner Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul.

[Last modified: Sunday, August 14, 2011 1:55pm]


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