The Republican Governors Association will name Tim Pawlenty as its vice chairman Monday, giving the Minnesota governor a national leadership post he can use to advance his presidential ambitions.
In his new capacity, Pawlenty will take a leadership role in helping Republicans in this fall’s two gubernatorial contests and the 37 more scheduled to take place in 2010.
A two-term governor who is not seeking reelection next year, Pawlenty can use the RGA perch to develop relationships with governors, candidates, donors and party activists. Advisers to Pawlenty indicate he’ll also eventually open a political action committee, the traditional favor-dispensing outlet used by White House prospects.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour was the RGA’s vice chairman, but took over the organization when South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford stepped down in the wake of his admission of an extramarital affair. The decision to elect Pawlenty as vice chairman was made earlier this month by GOP governors at the National Governors Association conference.
“The RGA now has the best political strategist in our party’s history working with one of the GOP’s brightest stars to compete in 39 governors races over the next 17 months,” said Nick Ayers, the group’s executive director.
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