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Pawlenty Staffs Up in Iowa

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) Friday announced key members of his Iowa staff for his exploratory campaign for the White House.

The Hawkeye State is crucial for Pawlenty, who has indicated that he would focus heavily on the first-in-the-nation caucus should he decide to run for the presidency.

GOP state Rep. Erik Helland, the majority whip in the State House, will lead Pawlenty’s efforts in Iowa. Annie Kelly, a veteran of Pawlenty’s 2006 re-election campaign for governor, has been named deputy director there.

Pawlenty’s Iowa political director is Tracie Gibler, who managed Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ failed bid for the House in 2010.

Pawlenty also announced 10 field representatives for the Hawkeye State: Daniel Catlin, Andrew Wagner, Andy Swanson, Anthony Zammit, Dane Nealson, John Wesley Vinson, Kevin Kuhle, Mike Thom, Rob Anderson and Travis Holler.