Campaigns add key staff positions

Alyssa Moody Contributor
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Former Minnesota Governor and presidential hopeful, Tim Pawlenty, recently hired Jon Lerner as the pollster for his anticipated 2012 presidential campaign, The Washington Post reports. Lerner is the latest addition to Pawlenty’s high-profile campaign team which includes Nick Ayers as the campaign manager, and Jon Seaton as the political director.

Lerner may not be a household name, but he has a solid reputation of helping candidates win races, and has considerable connections in the state of South Carolina. Lerner, a favorite of the Club for Growth, is credited with advising current S.C. Governor, Nikki Haley, U.S. Representative, Tim Scott, and former Governor, Mark Sanford.

Pawlenty and Lerner crossed paths last year when Pawlenty served as the vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association where Lerner worked as a lead consultant.

Lerner said he was eager and willing to work with the potential presidential candidate because he was “impressed” by his work in Minnesota.

“The candidate who becomes the nominee of our party is the one who can most credibly speak to the cluster of voters that are heavily motivated by economic and size-of-government concerns, and Tim Pawlenty’s record and positions on those issues are very compelling,” said Lerner.

Pawlenty is not the only candidate stacking up his campaign staff. Mitt Romney made a key hire today when his exploratory committee announced that Gail Gitcho would serve as the campaign’s communications director, CNN reports.

Gitcho is an old friend of Romney’s, serving as regional press secretary for his 2008 presidential bid. More recently, Gitcho served as communications director for Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and was the national press secretary for the Republican National Committee. Additionally, she worked on Senator John McCain’s campaign during the 2008 general election.