Pawlenty names 2012 fundraising team

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A week after launching an exploratory committee, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced his team of fundraisers Monday for a 2012 presidential bid.

Preceded by months of national touring, Pawlenty is gearing up for the 2012 election faster than his Republican opponents with presidential aspirations.

Pawlenty launched his exploratory committee on March 21, with only former US Rep. Newt Gingrich beating him to the punch. Gingrich made his committee announcement in early March, but has not yet named a fundraising team.

The formation of an exploratory committee is necessary to begin fundraising.

Other potential Republican candidates like Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann have not yet formed exploratory committees, though Bachmann announced last week she will form a committee in June or earlier.  

Pawlenty’s 16-person fundraising team is comprised of faces from around the country. Fundraising will begin “in earnest” at the beginning of April, according to a Pawlenty aide.

The team will be led by Brian Haley, who served as deputy national finance director for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008. Recently, Haley was the finance director for Pawlenty’s “Freedom First Political Action Committee” in the build up to the official exploratory committee.

Katie McBreen, appointed as deputy national finance director, worked with Romney in his 2008 presidential campaign and helped re-elect Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran in 2010.

Pawlenty will also welcome back Trisha Hamm, who worked with him on his 2006 gubernatorial campaign and the PAC. Hamm will serve as the finance director for Minnesota.

Thirteen other consultants will join the team to focus on regions or states across the country, like the rest of the Midwest, Arizona, Colorado and Texas.