Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida tea partiers embrace news that Michele Bachmann's running for president

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., waves to supporters after making her formal announcement to seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination on Monday in Waterloo, Iowa.

Associated Press

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., waves to supporters after making her formal announcement to seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination on Monday in Waterloo, Iowa.

Michele Bachmann's formal announcement of her candidacy for president was met with this response from Florida tea partiers: Amen.

The Minnesota Republican congresswoman, who officially launched her campaign in Iowa, has been a tea party standard bearer since the birth of the movement two years ago and now it appears to be paying off.

Bachmann is tied with national Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucuses and she's running in second place in Florida, according to new polls that show her well ahead of Republicans Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman.

"None of the guys are really exciting. I'm excited now," said Apryl Marie Fogel, a tea party organizer from Melbourne and Republican consultant. "She has charm, but she's also tough ... and she's going after the grass roots of the party."

In her speech Monday in Waterloo, Iowa — her childhood hometown — Bachmann harkened back to the ideals that launched the original Boston tea party.

"I want my candidacy for the presidency of the United States to stand for a moment when we the people stand once again for the independence from a government that has gotten too big and spends too much and has taken away too much of our liberties," Bachmann said.

Bachmann was dismissed by some in national circles as an also-ran candidate until the June 14 Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire, where the telegenic candidate wowed pundits, stood out as the only Republican woman to seek the White House since Elizabeth Dole in 2000 and announced that she filed paperwork to start her presidential bid.

After the debate, Bachmann's Florida poll numbers shot up from 7 percent to 17 percent, putting her just 10 percentage points behind Romney, according to Public Policy Polling, a firm that typically polls for Democrats and liberal groups.

Bachmann does even better against Romney in Florida if Sarah Palin decides not to run. More than two-thirds of Palin voters favor Bachmann, while Romney pulls only a fifth.

What's remarkable about her popularity is that she has yet to visit the Sunshine State.

Public Policy Polling's analyst, Tom Jensen, said Bachmann pulls her strongest support from staunch conservatives, while Romney receives just enough support from them and more from moderate conservatives to remain in the lead.

"Mitt Romney has something to worry about if Palin doesn't run and if Herman Cain continues to fade," Jensen said. "It's in Romney's interest for the conservative vote to split as much as possible."

Bachmann made a name for herself in Minnesota for her staunch opposition to gay rights and gay marriage. That's good politics in Iowa, an early-vote state. A Des Moines Register newspaper poll found that Republican caucusgoers are more opposed to candidates who favor gay marriage than those who raise taxes or support a government-mandate to purchase health insurance. The poll showed Bachmann and Romney were virtually tied.

Unlike the last major Christian conservative candidate for president, Mike Huckabee, Bachmann plans to make a strong showing in Florida. Here, she'll have a strong base, according to Tom Gaitens, a co-founder of the Tampa Tea Party and director for FreedomWorks in Florida.

"She stood by us from the beginning, she's a tea party member," said Gaitens. "She's not the tea party candidate — but that's because there's not just one tea party. It's a movement."

Mixup of John Waynes is political gaffe

Michele Bachmann kicked off her presidential campaign on Monday in Waterloo, Iowa, and in one interview surrounding the official event she promised to mimic the spirit of Waterloo's own John Wayne. The only problem, as one eagle-eyed reader notes: Waterloo's John Wayne was not the beloved movie star, but rather John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer. Mrs. Bachmann grew up in Waterloo, and used the town as the backdrop for her campaign announcement, where she told Fox News: "Well what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That's the kind of spirit that I have, too" ... John Wayne, the movie legend, is in fact from Iowa and the John Wayne birthplace is a celebrated landmark — only it's in Winterset, which is a nearly three-hour drive away from Waterloo.

Florida tea partiers embrace news that Michele Bachmann's running for president 06/27/11 [Last modified: Monday, June 27, 2011 8:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to


    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter


    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.