Pawlenty’s Former Communications Director Predicts ‘Anyone Could Win In Iowa,’ Says It’s Not Too Late for Perry to ‘Really Take-off’

Aug 16, 2011 4:31pm


ABC News' Sherisse Pham (@sherisse) reports: When Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the presidential race on Sunday, his campaign staffers suddenly found themselves out of a job. The former Minnesota governor put together strong teams in New Hampshire and even Iowa — despite the disappointing Ames Straw Poll finish. Many are now speculating where ex-Pawlenty folks will land.

Former communications director Alex Conant was mum on his future plans on ABC's 'Top Line' today.

“I think the next couple of weeks are going to be fascinating to watch, and I'm looking forward to doing it from the sidelines,” said Alex Conant. “For the next couple of weeks.”

Some ex-colleagues have already joined Jon Huntsman's campaign, while some of Pawlenty's donors have gone on to support Rick Perry or Mitt Romney, said Conant.

“Keep in mind nobody thought that they'd be out of a job yesterday. So I think people are going to take a little bit of time, look at the rest of the field, and certainly stay engaged,” he said.

Weighing in on the future of the rest of the GOP field, Conant said several important states were still up for grabs.

“Really anybody could win in Iowa,” said Conant. “I think anybody could win in New Hampshire. I spent a lot of time in New Hampshire with Tim Pawlenty as well, and a lot of undecided voters there. Same goes for South Carolina and Florida, so I think it's not too late for other people to get in the race.”

A certain Texas governor’s sudden rise, said Conant, was evidence of the “very fluid” environment.

“I certainly don't think it's too late for Rick Perry to really take off here.’

It was, however, time for Pawlenty to step down after Ames.

“Clearly this just wasn’t his time,” Conant said. “We got beat fair and square by Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul, we recognized reality, and stepped aside.”

And while ex-staffers were loyal to Pawlenty, said Conant, they remain focused on getting a Republican in the White House.

“They really wanted to beat Barack Obama,” said Conant, “and the team still very much feels that way.”

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