Tim Pawlenty left GOP primary with campaign in debt

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Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s exit from the Republican primary was likely hastened by the fact that his presidential campaign was in debt, several sources tell The Huffington Post.

Pawlenty exited the race the day after a third-place finish in Iowa’s Ames Straw Poll, a longtime benchmark for would-be Republican nominees. His early exit, announced in an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” surprised some. Pawlenty had pledged to soldier on after Ames the day before, calling the primary “a long process” that he was “just beginning.”

But several Republican sources tell The Huffington Post that the former Minnesota governor was confronted by a far more intractable obstacle than leapfrogging the first two finishers — former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann — or facing the newest entrant to the field, Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Pawlenty, the sources say, was out of cash, his campaign having spent heavily in the lead-up to Ames, hoping for a better score than what he got.

It’s not clear, however, how much debt Pawlenty has actually accrued. Requests for comment to former Pawlenty aides were declined.

One source suggested the campaign’s debt was as high as $500,000, but another source with closer knowledge of the campaign deemed that figure far exaggerated

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s exit from the Republican primary was likely hastened by the fact that his presidential campaign was in debt, several sources tell The Huffington Post.

Pawlenty exited the race the day after a third-place finish in Iowa’s Ames Straw Poll, a longtime benchmark for would-be Republican nominees. His early exit, announced in an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” surprised some. Pawlenty had pledged to soldier on after Ames the day before, calling the primary “a long process” that he was “just beginning.”

But several Republican sources tell The Huffington Post that the former Minnesota governor was confronted by a far more intractable obstacle than leapfrogging the first two finishers — former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann — or facing the newest entrant to the field, Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Pawlenty, the sources say, was out of cash, his campaign having spent heavily in the lead-up to Ames, hoping for a better score than what he got.

It’s not clear, however, how much debt Pawlenty has actually accrued. Requests for comment to former Pawlenty aides were declined.

One source suggested the campaign’s debt was as high as $500,000, but another source with closer knowledge of the campaign deemed that figure far exaggerated.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.