Tea partiers warming up to Pawlenty

Pawlenty’s efforts to extend his reach over the last few months in New Hampshire appear to be reaping dividends with conservative activists chomping at the bit to find someone to take on an incumbent president they can’t wait to run against. “I think he’s working very hard to keep his cred with the establishment, but I think his own personal message is one that represents a lot of what the tea party represents,” said New Hampshire Liberty Caucus Chairman Andrew Hemingway. “I think it’s a very effective model for what he’s doing, and I think it’s going to be very interested to see how he continues to play that.”…

Turner told RCP that he decided to support Pawlenty after concluding that the former Minnesota governor was the Republican who most closely shared the small-government values that Lamontagne has trumpeted, while also being well-positioned to effectively take on Obama in November of next year. Turner emphasized that he is hardly the only New Hampshire conservative who feels that way.

“We see it when we attend our statewide meetings and our local meetings — Governor Pawlenty is getting a very favorable response from the people that I talk to,” Turner said. “The hard part is that it doesn’t really show up in polls or on a national-numbers level, but when you separate out the general vote from those who are really actively engaged in the political process, I think it’s a different story.”