Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is exploring a run for president, has announced a top-flight staff hire — former Republican Governors Association executive director Nick Ayers is coming on board as campaign manager for Pawlenty’s exploratory committee. Though as Ayers himself says, his signing up isn’t so much answering a call from Pawlenty — but from God.
Ayers, age 28, led the RGA from 2007-2010, overseeing a big budget organization, in a period when the GOP made very strong gains in governorships. Ayers will relocate to Minnesota from his native Georgia, and assume his new position effective April 25.
Pawlenty announced in his press release: “He is without question one of the best political talents in America. We are very excited Nick will lead our team. His leadership and record of winning tough races in every part of our country will provide even more momentum to our campaign to get America back on track.”
As Ben Smith reports, Ayers has released a lengthy e-mail annoucing his decision and all that went into it. Key quote:
Over the past six months, I have prayed deeply about my purpose in life and how best to utilize the talents God has given me. I wanted my decision to be wholly about how best to serve Him, not what was most politically or financially expedient for my family and me. As He often does in walks of faith, He has called me to a higher purpose. I believe that our Nation is truly on the wrong path. We need a new direction that is positive and hopeful. Simply said, we need new leadership. I believe that Governor Pawlenty is best positioned to provide that leadership. Therefore, I am pleased today to join Governor and Mrs. Pawlenty in their pursuit of the presidency.
My decision does not mean I think less of Haley Barbour, Jon Huntsman, Mitch Daniels or Newt Gingrich should they decide to run, because I do not. I know them all personally and believe in their intellect, capabilities, and principles.
My decision to join the Pawlenty campaign is in total affirmation of Governor Pawlenty’s record as a conservative, two-term governor of a blue state, his character and principles and his vision for this Nation, which is second to no one running for president.
Read the full e-mail at Politico.