Michele Bachmann wins Straw Poll

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AK Forty Seven, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. AMES, Iowa — Riding a surge of support from social conservatives, Michele Bachmann claimed victory Saturday at the Ames GOP straw poll — a triumph that will cement her status as the Iowa frontrunner.

    The third-term Minnesota congresswoman won 4,823 votes, narrowly edging out Ron Paul, who got 4,671 votes.

    “You have just sent a message that Barack Obama will be a one-term president,” Bachmann exclaimed to a swarm of supporters and reporters after the results were announced. “This was a wonderful down-payment on taking the country back.”

    Tim Pawlenty, who had spent most of the last month and much of his war chest here in an attempt to win Ames, came in a distant third with 2,293 votes – a disappointing finish that may spell the end of his campaign. In a statement issued immediately after the results were announced, though, Pawlenty said the campaign was “just beginning.”

    On a mild summer day, 16,892 Iowans cast ballots on the campus here at Iowa State University. That was an increase of nearly 3,000 votes from the 2007 straw poll and an indication of the enthusiasm Iowa Republicans have going into next year’s election.

    “It means people are very concerned about the direction of the country,” said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) of the surge from four years ago.

    Rick Santorum came in fourth, with 1,657 votes, a small margin ahead of Herman Cain, who got 1,456 votes.

    Mitt Romney, the national GOP frontrunner and Ames winner in 2007, didn’t contest this year’s straw poll but still captured 567 votes.

    In a sign of the reshaped Republican race, that was less than what Rick Perry received. The Texas governor, who announced his candidacy today in South Carolina, won 718 write-in votes.

    But if Perry wants to eventually take Romney on head-to-head it appears he’ll have to first confront Bachmann in Iowa. The two will face off Sunday in Waterloo, when both speak at a county GOP dinner in what will be Perry’s first trip to the Hawkeye State as a candidate.

    In less than two months since announcing her candidacy in her native Waterloo, the Minnesotan congresswoman rapidly climbed in the polls here and won a passionate following among the Christian conservatives who are a pillar of the Iowa GOP. Bachmann benefited, too, among fiscal conservatives from her intense opposition to raising the debt ceiling — the central political issue in the weeks leading up to the straw poll.

    “I think it says a lot about constitutional conservatism,” said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), one of her closest friends in Congress. “It says a lot about the tea party. It says a lot about the social conservative agenda — life and marriage — and the fiscal issues too. She’s taken a strong stand against raising the debt ceiling. Others disagree with that position but it held up well here.”

    Bachmann also never missed an opportunity to remind Iowans that she had been born and spent her early years in the state. On the stump and in TV ads leading up to the straw poll, she recalled her Waterloo childhood.

    “I tell people: everything I need to know in life I learned in Iowa,” Bachmann told a crowd of supporters on Saturday. “I have always been grateful than I’m an Iowan, and I believe it’s time we had an Iowan in the White House.”

    Bachmann’s campaign was cautiously optimistic in the days leading up to the vote here, but grew more confident as the voting wore on Saturday afternoon, noting that they had given out over 6,000 tickets to attendees. Bachmann herself took a golf cart ride around the grounds that was equal parts get-out-the-vote effort and victory lap.

    Bachmann aides said they had about 40 buses bringing voters in from all over the state, but also relied on their supporters to car-pool. Her strength was apparent well before the voting ended as hundreds of Iowans, many of them in Bachmann shirts, waited in line outside her tent to get tickets, food and to see the entertainment she brought in.

    “I’ve worked at three straw polls, and I’ve never seen it like this,” said Ruth Cousins, a Republican activist, nurse and home-school mother of three from Shell Rock, Iowa, who was volunteering at Bachmann’s registration table. “The energy is amazing. She’s amazing. She just lights it up.”

    Those enduring the long lines — which snaked down the parking lot about a quarter-mile at their peak — said they like Bachmann’s fidelity to social conservatism.

    “She’s very conservative, she’s pro-life and she doesn’t flip-flop on the issues, said Lee Guthrie, a farmer and non-denominational pastor from Menlo, Iowa, who sported a Bachmann hat as he slowly shuffled toward her tent.

    Bachmann’s campaign team crowed about their turnout.

    “It shows that we have a lot of intensity,” said state Sen. Kent Sorenson, her top Iowa supporter. “To do what we did in five weeks — it shows we’re much more organized than people give us credit for.”

    Iowa veterans, however, noted that straw poll success doesn’t always translate into winning the caucuses. Four years ago, Romney easily defeated Mike Huckabee at Ames only to lose to the then-Arkansas governor by nine percent in January.

    “It’s going to be a big boost for her, but she can’t assume it will automatically turn into delegates,” Grassley said.

    As she worked the ropeline besides the bus she’s used to travel around Iowa following her victory, Bachmann said: “We’re just out of the first gate — long way to go.”

    Her campaign manager, Ed Rollins, was more precise.

    “We have to win the caucus here,” Rollins told reporters. “We’re gonna work very, very hard here. And we will start to expand in South Carolina, New Hampshire, the early states.”

    Regarding Perry, Rollins said: “We don’t control anybody else’s campaign. Whoever’s in, we basically go against ‘em. You gotta beat ‘em all if you’re gonna win.”

    The entry of the Texan into the race and Bachmann’s straw poll success could also ensure Iowa’s relevance by determining who will be the chief rival to Romney, who didn’t campaign in this year’s straw poll and has been downplaying Iowa in his campaign.

    “This means she’s the one Rick Perry needs to beat to win Iowa and get to Romney,” said veteran GOP strategist Mike Murphy. “We’re going to see what [Perry’s] appeal is.”

    Romney has been to Iowa just twice this year but his campaign will now face increased pressure to decide whether they’re going to compete here.

    Part of that decision will be determined by whether Pawlenty, another mainstream former Republican governor, remains in the race and from what element of the party Perry finds his support.

    Asked if the straw poll results made them more or less inclined to play in Iowa, Romney communications director Gail Gitcho would only say that her candidate would return to the state.

    “We will be Iowa,” she said. “He’s going to be there enough to prove that he’s the one who can beat Barack Obama.”

    The results will also give a lift to Paul, the libertarian-leaning Republican whose support has surged since he ran four years ago, thanks to the ascent of the Tea Party movement. The veteran Texas congressman now polls in the double-digits in Iowa and is clearly going to be a factor in the caucuses.

    “We tripled our support from 2007,” noted Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton. “We’re proving Ron is moving into the first tier.”

    The results were a disappointment for Pawlenty. He insisted that he only had to make progress, but he put together a sophisticated organization and campaigned relentlessly in Iowa over the last month. By finishing well behind Bachmann and Paul, he will have a difficult time convincing donors to give the money needed to keep his campaign afloat.

    “The Iowa straw poll has never been about picking the nominee it has been about winnowing — and it sure looks like to me that’s what’s happening here today,” said Gentry Collins, who ran Romney’s campaign here four years ago but isn’t working for any candidate now.

    Pawlenty aides were quiet in the hours after the results, letting the campaign’s spare statement serve as their response.

    “We made progress in moving from the back of the pack into a competitive position for the caucuses, but we have a lot more work to do,” he said. “This is a long process to restore America — we are just beginning and I’m looking forward to a great campaign.”

    Pawlenty rivals, however, wasted little time in turning up the heat. One campaign noted that Pawlenty got less than a percentage of the total vote than Sam Brownback did her in 2007 – and that Brownback dropped out.

    Santorum and Cain, also, both now will face money-driven decisions about whether they want to continue in the race. For Santorum, who has little cash in the bank, that means whether he wants to incur debt in going forward. And in the case of Cain, the former CEO must decide whether he wants to spend more of his own personal wealth to continue.
  2. Wow a whole 16K people turned out for this propaganda circus. Why not do a facebook poll and at least get a two way communication channel established?
  3. rew


    Bachmann is the fake Constitutionalist.

    The real Constitutionalist (Ron Paul) came in second, only 1% behind Bachmann. So there is hope.
  4. I will say it right now. Bachmann can win this thing. She can be the first female major party presidential nominee. Right now I would say Romney and Perry have the edge but she is not far behind. We don't know how voters will respond to perry. The media thought John Connally and Phil Grahm would be strong candidates too but they went nowhere. Anyone remember Fred Thompson?

    Bachmann has already survived repeated smears and media hostility that verges on Palin-hate. The one common factor is that everyone who has taken her on has come out second best. The front runners can see that she has near fanatical support among a crucial constituency and will be at pains to treat her with kid gloves now.

    She has charisma that Romney can only envy and personal warmth and a compelling life story that Perry can't come close to matching. This race just got a lot more interesting.
  5. Max E.

    Max E.

    Hate to burst your bubble but Bachmann doesnt have a hope in hell, for all the "tolerance and equality" the left wing preaches, they despise conservative women. She is going to absorb all the vitriol the left wing media has throughout the primary. In order for a conservative woman to ever win they would have to be flawless, and Bachmann has already shown herself to be prone to making gaffes.

    She will still serve a useful purpose though. Throughout the primaries the left wing media is going to be frothing at the mouth and wassting all their time attacking her, so it absorbs alot of the blows that Perry, or Romney would normally be taking. She will basically play the role of a flak jacket for Romney and Perry thoughout the primaries.

  6. ammo


    she will get the nod to insure that the repubs are out from 2012-16,they would like to leave this bit of economic history at the dem's doorstep
  7. Team Obama would love to run against Bachmann.Shes seen as extremist,Palin like stupid,bat shit crazy,a hypocrite,and wants to end SS and Medicare.Media would have a field day with her .Would be a very easy win for Obama

    I dont think she wins the nomination though .I think it will be Perry or Romney
  8. You must live in that same fantasy world where Bachmanns husband thinks he can turn gay people straight
  9. You're just horny for her AAA, you always get hot for republican women. :D
  10. Half-term president Obama.
    #10     Aug 14, 2011