Rep. Michele Bachmann will form a presidential exploratory committee by early June and fully intends to run for the White House in 2012, according to a report on CNN.com.
A favorite of the tea party movement, the three-term Minnesota Republican has “been telling everyone early summer,” a source close to Bachmann told CNN, noting that she could act more quickly if necessary to participate in the early GOP presidential debates, the first of which is scheduled for early May.
"If you [debate sponsors] come to us and say, 'To be in our debates, you have to have an exploratory committee,' then we'll say, 'Okay, fine ... I'll go file the forms’" the source told CNN.
Further cementing Bachmann's intention to launch a 2012 bid, her chief of staff confirmed plans to have state directors in the key early states of New Hampshire and South Carolina “within a week,” according to the report. She has already hired Iowa Republican state Sen. Kent Sorenson to lead efforts in that state.
While Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul’s intentions are unclear, Bachmann, 54, could be the only Member in the race. Having just won election to her third term, she has shown an extraordinary ability to raise money by tapping into the enthusiasm of the grass-roots conservative movement.
Bachmann’s appeal is similar to that of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), leaving major questions as to whether Palin would be less likely to run with Bachmann on the ballot. Already, it had seemed less likely that Palin would enter the race, although she has been working to bolster her foreign policy credentials recently.