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Iowa Republicans pick Pawlenty -- to headline GOP event

October 7, 2009 |  9:25 am

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican expected to run for president in 2012, at an Arkansas fundraiser in Little Rock June 26, 2009

It seems early to be talking about the 2012 presidential election -- after all, we haven't even had the 2010 congressional one -- but this is Iowa we're talking about. You know, first in the nation, caucus state, informed voters, yada yada.

So more than a few political commentators took notice today when Iowa Republicans announced that Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will be the headline speaker at the "Leadership for Iowa" event at the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines Nov. 7, where he will share the stage with Republican candidates for governor.

Matt Strawn, chairman of the Iowa Republican Party, called Pawlenty "an innovative, conservative leader" and predicted his "message of balanced budgets, lower taxes, and market-based reforms for healthcare and education will resonate with all Iowans."

It may be three years before the election, but as the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza points out, two of Pawlenty's likely opponents -- former Govs. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts -- finished one-two in the last Iowa caucus.

Never too early to campaign in Iowa, apparently.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo Credit: Associated Press

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