Ames, Iowa –After his disastrous showing here, Tim Pawlenty’s ability to raise money was gone. He could have stayed in the race hoping to get lucky somehow, but it’s to his credit that he is opting to end his campaign instead. As his advisor Phil Musser puts it, Pawlenty “just wasn’t willing to risk debt to soldier on — part of why he would have been a good president.”
It’s been fashionable in the past few weeks to disparage the Ames Straw Poll as a meaningless exercise. Jim pushed back on this a bit yesterday, but Pawlenty’s exit should effectively refute it. This was a candidate who looked pretty formidable on paper: A resume comparable to Mitt Romney’s, but without the baggage of a healthcare law that served as a model for Obamacare, or of a reputation as a shameless flip-flopper (Pawlenty has changed positions on some things, but not as many as Romney). But he couldn’t seem to catch on. Ames proved a useful test as to whether he could build an organization that would defy his lackluster poll numbers. He made his best effort, but ultimately failed.