Around Town: Rising South Cobb political guru picked by Pawlenty

Name of Publication: 
Marietta Daily Journal Online
Excerpt of Article: 
by Otis Brumby, Bill Kinney and Joe Kirby
Around Town Columnists

WILL AUSTELL native Nick Ayers go down in history as the next David Plouffe? The next Karl Rove? The next James Carville? He no doubt hopes so. And so, no doubt, does his new boss, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who on Monday announced the hiring of Ayers as manager of his presidential campaign exploratory committee.

What do Plouffe, Rove and Carville have in common? They all managed successful presidential campaigns (for Barack Obama, G.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, respectively.) Ayers' new job puts him in line to be Pawlenty's campaign manager should the Minnesotan formerly declare himself a candidate.

Ayers, 28, until recently was executive director of the Republican Governors Association, which was headed by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who like Pawlenty is thinking of running for the White House. ...

Although not exactly a household name, Ayers is widely seen as a "comer" in political circles. The South Cobb High grad met then-state Sen. Sonny Perdue as president of the Kennesaw State University College Republicans during Perdue's first run for governor, when he upended incumbent Gov. Roy Barnes and become the first Republican governor here since Reconstruction. 

Ayers' new job is a step toward fulfilling a prediction made to the MDJ last summer by KSU political science professor Dr. Kermit Swint, who taught Ayers.

"I'm convinced he will someday manage a successful presidential campaign," Swint said. "He is very talented and very driven. He is also very likable, which is also part of his secret. He's nice and well spoken, and people usually end up falling all over themselves trying to help him with whatever he's doing.