Pawlenty Snags Swiftboat Funder and Other Top Donors

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Tim Pawlenty may be boring. He may be the best second-best Republican presidential contender out there. But damn if he ain’t flush, reports The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Pawlenty’s backers include Bob Perry, the Texas home builder who gave more money than any GOP donor to conservative groups like American Crossroads, which spent heavily in the 2010 election, and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which was active in the 2004 campaign. In 2008, Mr. Perry supported Mr. Romney.

Ray Washburne, a Texas real-estate developer and restaurateur who raised money for former President George W. Bush, is backing Mr. Pawlenty because “he’s got a great story to tell.”

The Pawlenty campaign held its biggest fund-raiser to date in Dallas on on Tuesday at the home of Tom Hicks, the private-equity and sports investor, who once owned the Texas Rangers baseball team. Co-hosts included heirs to the H.L. Hunt oil fortune, Dean Foods Chief Executive Gregg Engles, billionaire buyout investor Harold Simmons and Excel Communications founder Kenny Troutt.

Bill Strong, the Morgan Stanley executive who leads Mr. Pawlenty’s fund-raising efforts, was slated to host an event in Chicago on Thursday that was expected to haul in more money than the Dallas event. The campaign expects to raise $800,000 at the Dallas and Chicago events combined, according to someone familiar with Mr. Pawlenty’s fund-raising.

This is good news for Pawlenty, who’s still contending with yawning enthusiasm and recognition gaps among Republican voters. Even better news? A number of the Pawlenty’s early donors—including Perry, Engles, Simmons, Strong—contributed to Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2008. That’s not to say they’re committed to Pawlenty for the long haul, but it certainly must be encouraging for T-Paw’s camp.

The bad news? Romney spent more than any other GOP primary candidate in 2008, and appears to be well on his way to matching that pace in 2012 (RomneyCare problems, notwithstanding): at fundraisers this week, his fundraisers snagged $1 million in contributions, the Journal reports. Even if he loses a few donors to Pawlenty, chances are he’ll be able to make up for it.

With Haley Barbour sitting out the 2012 race and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels still undecided, the bundlers are still there for the taking. So despite his recent good fortune, Pawlenty’s got to keep bringing in the bacon. 

More MotherJones reporting on Dark Money

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate