It has been a busy few days in Ames, Iowa. The town has played host to the Fox News Republican debates and the straw poll. It has seen Sarah Palin roll through town for reasons that still seem slightly unclear, and now it has provided the backdrop for a huge shake-up in the candidates for the presidential election. After such a busy weekend, who is in, and who is out?
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was not present at the debates, announced his candidacy on Saturday. Political pundits have long suspected that the religious conservative would make a bid for the Oval Office. Perry managed to beat Mitt Romney in the Ames straw poll, even though he was not on the ballot for the event. According to Politico, 718 Iowa residents wrote in the Texas governor’s name as their choice for president . Rick Perry could provide some serious competition for Michele Bachmann in the race for the GOP nomination.
Tim Pawlenty has stepped out of the race for president . He finished behind both Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul in the straw poll, both of whom are Tea Party favorites. Pawlenty was also extremely critical of Bachmann at the Fox News debate on Thursday . There had been some criticism that Tim Pawlenty had been too hard on Bachmann, though it was refreshing to see him standing up for his statements and beliefs. He had waffled on statements made about Mitt Romney’s health care plan, which he had dubbed “Obamneycare.” For Pawlenty, his change in strategy at the debates was too little, too late.
Of course, the big news to come out of Ames this weekend is Michele Bachmann’s performance. She handled herself well at the debate, despite the attacks launched by Tim Pawlenty. Bachmann went on to win the Ames straw poll, which has reaffirmed her position as the front-runner for the GOP nomination. Iowa voters were able to look past inaccurate statements that Bachmann has made throughout the campaign so far, including one gaff that confused Iowa native and serial killer, John Wayne Gacy, with the famous actor John Wayne.
After a whirlwind few days in Iowa, Tim Pawlenty is out, Rick Perry is in, and Michele Bachmann is on top. The media is certainly going to emphasize Bachmann’s early lead, but it is important to note that the winners in Ames don’t make it to the White House very often. Bachmann can use this as a gauge for how voters feel about her in Iowa, but she definitely should not be resting on her laurels. After all, even Pat Robertson won a straw poll, but we never came close to electing him.
“Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty quitting GOP race ” AP via Chicago Tribune
Kasie Hunt ” Bragging rights: Perry Edges Mitt ” Poltico
Sean Hannity ” Pawlenty hits back at Bachmann’s record: All talk, no results ” Fox News