- (Photo: Reuters/Jeff Haynes)
- (Photo: REUTERS/Scott Audette)
Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and two-time GOP presidential hopeful, is taking his campaign to Minnesota today in hopes of increasing his delegate count. What he will be without is the endorsement of the state's conservative congresswoman, Michele Bachmann.
Romney won Tuesday's Florida Republican primary by a wide margin, capturing 46 percent of the vote, and he's hoping to grow his momentum by aggressively competing in Minnesota, Nevada and Missouri. Although he hasn't specifically mentioned Bachmann's endorsement, her nod would most likely solidify the support of many Tea party members.
In an appearance on Wednesday morning's Fox News, Bachmann denied rumors that she would be endorsing Romney today.
"Well, I don't have any intention of talking to Gov. Romney today, actually," she said. "He will be in Minnesota and I'm in Washington, D.C., doing my job in the United States Congress.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty withdrew from the GOP primary in mid-August of 2011 after a poor showing at the Iowa Straw Poll, several lackluster debate performances and the entry of Texas Gov. Rick Perry. A short time later, Pawlenty threw his support behind Romney, bypassing his fellow Minnesotan, Bachmann.
However, many political analysts suggested that most of Pawlenty's supporters shifted toward Perry and Bachmann instead of Romney, whose positions on social issues were not as strong as they were looking for.
Bachmann, who is viewed as a staunch Tea Party advocate, says she has no plans to endorse anytime soon.
"I think it is important that the people make the choice," Bachmann said. "I want to unify the party – the tea partiers, the establishment, evangelicals and disaffected Democrats.
The Minnesota congressman also went on to say that the Tea Party has "firepower," and isn't simply a group of "right wing" conservatives, but people who are tired of how Washington works.
Romney was also being coy when he appeared on NBC's "Today" show Wednesday morning.
"Oh, I'd like all the endorsements I can possibly get. And by the way, any question about the support of conservatives, I think, was cleared up last night in Florida," said Romney. "People who call themselves conservative and very conservative overwhelmingly supported my campaign. Tea partiers supported my campaign. So I am hoping I can convince people in Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado."
After his afternoon appearance in Eagan, Minn., Romney flies to Las Vegas, NV for an evening rally prior to Saturday's Nevada Republican Caucus.