Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has picked up campaign endorsements from key Tim Pawlenty supporters, reports the Washington Post.
Romney received the backing of Vin Weber, a former Minnesota congressman and current lobbyist who served as national co-chairman of Pawlenty's campaign.
It is an honor to again work with Mitt Romney, Weber said in a statement. At such a critical time in our nation's history, it is important that we have someone with his background to lead the country.
In Iowa, Romney picked up the endorsements of State Rep. Linda Miller and Dallas Country Recorder Chad Airhart, both former Pawlenty supporters.
Pawlenty, a former two-term governor of Minnesota, dropped out of the presidential race on Aug.14 after a disappointing third-place finish in the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, behind of Reps. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn) and Ron Paul (R-Texas). The straw poll, although mostly a contest of bragging rights, often tests the strength of a presidential candidate's campaign in terms of staffing, financing and grassroots support.
Romney decided to skip the straw poll and has been focusing less on Iowa this year than during his last presidential campaign, where he ended up finishing second to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in the Iowa Caucus. Still, the Romney campaign still wants a strong showing in the state and will likely need Pawlenty supporters on his team in order to accomplish that task.
Romney is sometimes regarded as the frontrunner in the campaign by political analysts, although that status has been challenged by the rapid rise Bachmann (R-MN), along with the entrance of Texas Gov. Rick Perry into the primary race. Both Bachmann and Perry are favorites of the Tea Party, and while Romney has shifted rightward on a variety of issues, some in the Tea Party have given his candidacy a chilly reception.
Furthermore, Romney will also have to contend with Jon Huntsman, a former governor of Utah who most recently served as U.S. Ambassador to China. With Bachmann and Perry receiving strong Tea Party support, Huntsman has tried to portray himself as a more moderate candidate better suited to take on President Obama in the general election.