Weekend open thread and GOP presidential campaign links

What’s on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers?

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty sent out his first direct mail to Iowa Republicans this week. The mailer is a biographical piece, describing Pawlenty’s childhood and family background as well as key achievements as governor. Two prominent Iowa Republicans are co-chairing Pawlenty’s campaign in this state: former gubernatorial candidate Christian Fong and Roger Underwood. Fong has carved out a niche as a promoter of conservatism among younger Iowa voters. Underwood has worked in the ag industry in Ames for the last three decades and was a policy adviser for Terry Branstad’s gubernatorial campaign. After the jump I’ve posted the Pawlenty campaign press release with more background on Fong and Underwood.

Black Hawk County Republicans still hope Representative Michele Bachmann will officially announce her candidacy in Waterloo this month, even though she already confirmed during Monday’s CNN Republican debate that she is running for president. In a web video released June 13, Bachmann said she had filed papers to run and promised, “With your common sense and with your energy, working together, we will take our country back in 2012.” Many presidential candidates become book authors, and Bachmann is shopping around a memoir, to be published this fall. State Senator Kent Sorenson is heading Bachmann’s campaign in Iowa; Iowa GOP State Central Committee member Wes Enos is a staffer for her political action committee. Enos was Mike Huckabee’s political director in Iowa before the 2008 caucuses.

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore’s presidential campaign looks finished before it officially began. A few days ago Danny Carroll resigned as Moore’s Iowa campaign chair, saying Moore was not “going to be able to raise the money necessary for a viable campaign.” Sioux City Pastor Cary Gordon, a Moore supporter and prominent figure in last year’s campaign against retaining Iowa Supreme Court justices, told Bret Hayworth that he has advised Moore to drop the presidential bid he’s been exploring. Moore wasn’t raising enough money to compete in the Iowa GOP’s August straw poll in Ames, Gordon explained.

Parenting magazine just named Des Moines number 5 on its list of 100 “best cities for families,” citing good education, health and amenities as well as a low unemployment rate. Moving his wife and children to Des Moines for several months didn’t boost then-Senator Chris Dodd’s campaign for the 2008 Democratic caucuses. But at least Dodd wasn’t charging a school district back home in Connecticut for his daughters’ education in Iowa. When Rick Santorum was in the U.S. Senate, a suburban Pittsburgh school district paid big bucks for his children to use its internet-based school from their home in Virginia.

Speaking of Santorum, has anyone heard his Iowa radio commercial? His campaign didn’t release the size of the ad buy.

This is an open thread.

Pawlenty for President Campaign Announces Iowa Campaign Co-Chairs

Team Pawlenty, 6/15/11 10:40PM

Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced today that Ames businessman Roger Underwood and Cedar Rapids entrepreneur and former gubernatorial candidate Christian Fong will serve as co-chairs of his Iowa campaign committee.

Fong was a candidate for the 2010 GOP gubernatorial nomination, attracting a broad coalition of pro-growth and pro-family Republican support.  Following his campaign, Fong built The Iowa Dream Project, where he helped increase the 2010 voter turnout of the conservatives of Generation X and the Millennials by over 5 percent. Fong remains an active member of Iowa’s business and political communities, and serves on the boards of various state and local organizations involving economic development, faith and the arts.  He has been the managing Partner of Fong Strategic Consulting since July 2009, where he serves clients in the financial services sector and commercial real estate.  Fong previously served as the Head of Capital Markets for AEGON USA, as CEO at the disaster relief agency Corridor Recovery and has an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

“Iowans want get-it-done leaders who tell the truth with gentleness and stand firm when the political winds are blowing. Tim Pawlenty is that sort of strong leader.  As governor, he guided Minnesota’s dynamic job and wage growth and reversed the damage caused by big-government spending,” Fong said. “He has been a champion of the family, both as a public official and in his own home.  He will bring Midwestern values and pro-growth policies to the White House and restore America’s greatness for the next generation.”

Underwood is a co-founder and executive advisor at Rural American Fund, a private equity firm that focuses on investments in growing middle-market rural firms.  After graduating from Iowa State University, Underwood co-founded Becker Underwood in Ames in 1982. The firm has grown into the world’s leading supplier of non-pesticide specialty chemical and biological products with annual sales of more than $180 million. It sells products to the agricultural, seed and turf industries in 54 countries from nine facilities in seven countries on four continents, giving it a global perspective with a local presence. Underwood is a current and former member of numerous corporate and organizational boards of directors, including the ISU Board of Governors.

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  • Fong

    Fong is going to be a major player in this state for a long time if he wants to be.  I wonder if we could see a Fong/BVP primary in the 2014 U.S. Senate race.