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Bachmann could enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination and the right to face President Barack Obama in 2012 in a matter of days, having previously set the month of June as a deadline for her decision. She speaks Thursday to a dinner in Polk County, Iowa, and local Republicans believe Bachmann may formally declare her candidacy then.
The vocal social and fiscal conservative, a darling of many in the tea party movement, is viewed as appealing to voters in the Iowa caucuses, particularly in the current field of candidates.
Bachmann, 55, has personal roots in Iowa, which is considered an asset in the Hawkeye State should she join the race. She was born in Waterloo and often tells voters on the trail, “I’m a seventh-generation Iowan.” She’s also close with Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).
But still to be determined is whether a Congresswoman who has thus far only campaigned for legislative races and her House seat can assemble the kind of statewide organization required to compete in the caucuses. Also unknown is Bachmann’s ability to build a national operation capable of propelling her beyond Iowa.
She has proved an ability to raise enormous sums of cash and had $2.9 million in cash on hand as of March 31.
Whom beyond Bachmann’s inner circle and kitchen cabinet of advisers would the Congresswoman hire? These are all of the questions her team is attempting to answer as she nears a presidential bid. “We’re talking to people in Iowa and the other early states,” said a Republican familiar with Bachmann’s planning.
Thus far, Bachmann’s Iowa campaign team-in-waiting consists of state Sen. Kent Sorenson, a tea party favorite with a constituency that extends well beyond his legislative district, and Wes Enos, a top Iowa hand to Mike Huckabee who helped the former Arkansas governor win the 2008 caucuses. A Republican operative based in Iowa said their support offers Bachmann a solid foundation, but her operation would need to grow extensively.
“Organization can’t be overvalued in a caucus cycle,” this operative said.
Whatever course Bachmann takes, she will lean the most on Brookover, who has been with her since day one. She’ll also look to Parrish, who has been with the Congresswoman on and off since before her first campaign for Minnesota’s suburban Twin Cities 6th district; Short, who came on board about 18 months ago and runs her political action committee, MichelePAC; and her husband.
Others Bachmann relies upon include Congressional office Communications Director Doug Sachtleben and general counsel Bill McGinley, an attorney with Patton Boggs in Washington, D.C.
Republican operatives who have followed Bachmann’s Congressional career alternately describe Brookover, Parrish or Short as the political adviser the Congresswoman trusts the most. Brookover is the first media consultant Bachmann hired when she initially ran for Congress, and Parrish started with her when she served in the Minnesota Senate. Short is based in Colorado and previously served as former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave’s (R-Colo.) chief of staff.