Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty
, though saddled with low national name recognition and single-digit poll showings, has still managed to snare wealthy contributors and rainmakers for his Republican presidential campaign, The Wall Street Journal reports
Pawlenty’s success in lining up coveted party financiers appears to reflect ambivalence in GOP circles about their current front-runner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Pawlenty’s backers include Bob Perry, a Texas home builder and Romney supporter in 2008 who in past cycles has given large sums to conservative groups including American Crossroads and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
Another prominent donor, San Francisco technology-investment firm founder Alex Slusky, said Pawlenty is "the only candidate I've met who can unite the Republican Party."
Pawlenty’s fund-raising efforts are headed by a Morgan Stanley executive, Bill Strong. The campaign’s biggest haul came on Tuesday at an event held at the Dallas home of Tom Hicks, an investor and former owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team.
Pawlenty’s efforts have yet to produce grass-roots enthusiasm: One fresh poll of likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters showed his support falling to 2 percent, from 7 percent in February.
But the exit of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and the indecision of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels could help Pawlenty secure more fundraising talent and, by extension, more resources for courting voters.
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