Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) narrowly beat out her fellow Congressman, Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), in the Ames Straw Poll on Saturday with 4,823 votes, or 28.6 percent. Her win cements her lead in Iowa, an early primary State. With former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s withdrawal from the Republican Presidential race on Sunday, the GOP field has drastically shifted, revealing a three-way tie between Bachmann, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry.
“I want to thank the people of Iowa for this tremendous victory. Together we sent a message that we intend to make President Obama a one term president. The Iowa Straw Poll was [an] important first step in what will be a long race for the presidency,” Bachmann said in a statement after winning at Ames. “Now we turn our attention toward winning the Iowa Caucuses and taking our message of reining in wasteful spending, keeping taxes low, growing our economy and creating jobs to the people of New Hampshire, South Carolina and all 50 states.”
Those three States — Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — are all early primary States, where party caucuses are held first in the Nation. Normally, a candidate would seek to perform well in all three States’ caucuses, securing the party’s nomination early, so he or she could focus on a national campaign against the opposite party’s candidate. However, that scenario does not seem likely for Republicans in this election cycle.
“One has to assume that Michele Bachmann is now the clear frontrunner for the Iowa caucus. The fact remains that Mitt Romney is the frontrunner in New Hampshire. Rick Perry laid down a marker that South Carolina is gonna be his state to win,” New Hampshire-based strategist Mike Dennehy, who is unaffiliated in the 2012 race, told POLITICO. “If we get through South Carolina, and each candidate has a victory in those three states, then the campaign’s gonna last quite a bit longer.”
“This is a very fluid situation right now,” Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, said to The New York Times. “From here on, you are shooting with real bullets.”