Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann shows no sign of dropping out of the 2012 race despite losing her New Hampshire campaign staff and her low numbers in polls.
The Minnesota congresswoman is reaching deeper into Iowa in the hopes of exciting her base with an early primary win. Jan. 3 is the tentative date for Iowa’s caucus, and Bachmann is preparing by putting campaign staff on the ground and meeting with locals.
Yesterday, her campaign announced Eric Woolson as its Iowa campaign manager. Woolson joined Bachmann’s staff after serving as the communications director for bygone candidate Tim Pawlenty. She also established state Sens. Kent Sorenson and Brad Zaun as her Iowa campaign co-chairmen.
Bachmann’s renewed focus on Iowa comes amid a very challenging fall season. Fellow GOP contender Texas Gov. Rick Perry upset her summer momentum when he joined the race in August. She was pushed further down in the polls when former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain rose to challenge frontrunner Mitt Romney in early October.
The Minnesota congresswoman and Tea Party leader is currently ranked below Texas Congressman Ron Paul and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 5 percent support, according to Gallup polls.
Bachmann has also faced some of her most difficult days in her campaign within the past week.
Last Friday her entire New Hampshire campaign staff quit. An unaware Bachmann called a radio station to refute what she called “rumors,” only to have the en masse resignations confirmed in the media.
On Wednesday, Ned Ryun, a former George W. Bush speech writer and self-professed Tea Party member, called on her to quit her campaign for the sake of the movement. He characterized her campaign as “floundering” and trying to “stay relevant.” Ryun advised her to “move on.”
However, Tea Party Nation President Judson Phillips believes Bachmann still has a chance in Iowa. The state gave Bachmann an early boost when she won the Iowa straw poll by 29 percent. Phillips, like Bachmann’s team, believes Iowa can boost her campaign again in 2012.
“She’s lives or dies by Iowa, end of discussion,” he said. “I would throw all my resources into Iowa.”
Bachmann seems to be heeding this strategy. Her website shows the campaign has multiple town halls scheduled for the remainder of the month.
From there, Phillips advised Bachmann to start working on a Plan B. “I would steal a page from Barack Obama,” he said.
While Obama was campaigning on the ground and meeting voters in person during the 2008 election, he had Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes connecting with voters and organizing supporters online. Phillips said the Minnesota congresswoman needs to create her own online organizing tool to utilize the momentum for a possible Iowa win.
“If she comes out of Iowa with a win, the people from Herman Cain’s campaign and Rick Perry’s campaign and Rick Sanctorum’s campaign are probably going to come running back to her,” he predicted.