Pawlenty visits Iowa, stumps for candidates

Two-term governor of Minnesota and potential GOP 2012 contender Tim Pawlenty visited Iowa on Saturday, where he spoke at three fundraisers for statehouse Republicans. 

Although he has launched fundraising organizations in Iowa and New Hampshire, Pawlenty faces low name recognition in both states. In June, a poll conducted by the Des Moines Register found 53 percent of Iowa Republicans did not know enough about him to find him favorable or unfavorable.

Still, that number represents a 20-point increase in familiarity from November, when 73 percent of the same pool said they knew too little about him to express an opinion.

He released his first Web video Thursday.

The trip marks his fourth to Iowa since the 2008 presidential election when he campaigned there for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). He will stay for events on Sunday and Monday.

Grassroots connections are necessary for success in the Iowa caucuses, which have marked the beginning of the presidential nomination process since the late 1970s.