Pawlenty boosts political staff in Iowa, New Hampshire

Pawlenty in Iowa last year

 Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is increasing his New Hampshire and Iowa presence.

The Republican’s political action committee dispatched a half-dozen staffers to help New Hampshire Republicans and now the Des Moines Register reports he had hired a full-time Iowa staff person.

“By hiring Ben Foster as a full-time Iowa staffer, Pawlenty is the first 2012 prospect to plant a stake in Iowa ahead of the leadoff Republican caucuses,” the Register’s Tom Beaumont reports. “But the move comes later in the cycle than similar steps ahead of the 2008 caucuses.”

Pawlenty, who has been in Iowa five times in a year, has not said whether he will run for president in 2012, delaying that announcement until after he leaves office early next year. But all signs point to it, especially increasing his activity in the first caucus and primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

The Register says Pawlenty plans to swing through western Iowa on Oct. 8 and 9.

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