Pawlenty names 2012 fundraising team

Fundraising for his presidential campaign will begin April 1.

Kyle Potter

A week after launching an exploratory committee, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Monday announced his fundraising team for a presidential bid.
Preceded by months of national touring, Pawlenty is gearing up for the 2012 election faster than his Republican colleagues with presidential aspirations.
Pawlenty launched his exploratory committee March 21 and is the only well-known candidate to have done so.
Candidates have to form an exploratory committee in order to begin fundraising.
Other potential Republican candidates are former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and MinnesotaâÄôs Rep. Michele Bachmann, who announced last week she will form a committee in June or earlier.
PawlentyâÄôs 16-person fundraising team is comprised of faces new and old from around the country. Fundraising will begin âÄúin earnestâÄù at the beginning of April, according to a Pawlenty aide.
April marks the beginning of the second fundraising quarter, which University of Minnesota political science professor Kathryn Pearson said will be critical for Pawlenty.
âÄúHe really needs to show party leaders, pundits and everyone that he is capable of raising the amount of money that it will take to challenge President [Barack] Obama for the White House,âÄù she said.
PawlentyâÄôs biggest challenge in generating donations will be his name recognition, Pearson added.
Recognition among Republican and Republican-leaning voters has improved only slightly since January, according to a recent Gallup poll.
Just 41 percent of those voters said they recognized PawlentyâÄôs name in March âÄî up 2 percent from when polling began at the beginning of the year. Eight potential Republican candidates polled higher.
Brian Haley, who served as deputy national finance director for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008, will lead the fundraising team. Recently, Haley was the finance director for PawlentyâÄôs Freedom First Political Action Committee in the buildup to the official exploratory committee.
Katie McBreen, appointed as deputy national finance director, worked with Romney on his 2008 presidential campaign and helped re-elect Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran in 2010.
Pawlenty will also welcome back Trisha Hamm, who worked with him on his 2006 gubernatorial campaign and the PAC. Hamm will serve as the finance director for Minnesota.
Thirteen other consultants will join the team to focus on regions throughout the country including the rest of the Midwest, Arizona, Colorado and Texas.