Iowa Republican strategist Eric Woolson, formerly of Tim Pawlenty’s presidential campaign, was named Thursday as Michele Bachmann’s state campaign manager.
Woolson takes over at a critical time for the Minnesota Republican, who has seen her entire New Hampshire staff quit in recent days as she doubles down on her native Iowa, where she now has a full-time professional staff of 10.
Woolson also brings a needed dose of credibility, having managed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s winning Iowa caucus campaign in 2008. He did so working off a similar playbook: relying on a wave of evangelical fervor to beat Mitt Romney, who was the odds-on favorite at that point in the 2008 GOP nomination.
Woolson has been doing Iowa press for Bachmann since September. Now he will be positioned to give some added strategic heft to a campaign that has been floundering since she won the Iowa straw poll in Ames – which knocked Pawlenty out of the race.
Woolson also brings valuable connections to her campaign, having worked for George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, as well as for Sioux City Republican Bob Vander Plaats’ gubernatorial campaign, Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ congressional campaign, and U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley’s re-election campaign. He was later press secretary for Republican Gov. Terry Branstad’s first administration.
Having started his career in newspapers, including time at the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Woolson might also bring a savvier touch with the media.
Bachmann national campaign manager Keith Nahigian called Woolson “the perfect person to lead our team to victory on caucus day,” now set for Jan. 3.