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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Michele Bachmann vs. Rick Perry in Fla



Hurricane Irene bypassed the state and spared Michele Bachmann's first campaign foray in Florida this weekend, but now she has to contend with Hurricane Perry.


Even as the Minnesota congresswoman and presidential candidate courted big crowds as part of a four-day campaign swing through the state, she faces a serious Florida challenge from Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

First, she must convince voters she's preferable to a proven, small-government conservative who shares her evangelical bona fides but has executive experience. On top of that, she faces a Perry campaign building a formidable Florida organization while hers is barely getting started.

"I like Michele Bachmann a lot,'' said Stephen Gately, a Republican activist from Pinellas County who was among more than 1,000 people at a Bachmann rally in Sarasota on Sunday afternoon. "But I'm supporting Gov. Perry. I prefer governors as our nominee."

Pat Neal, the former state legislator and Florida Christian Coalition leader from Manatee county hears little enthusiasm for Mitt Romney lately, and plenty for Bachmann and Perry. "The candidates with momentum are Bachmann and Perry,'' he said.

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[Last modified: Sunday, August 28, 2011 10:06pm]


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