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Bryan Preston


September 9, 2011 - 10:03 am

This is not a sign of a healthy campaign.

Republican Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign fell just as quickly as it rose. Now, she’s looking to Iowa, at the expense of other early voting states, to get back on track.

It’s a strategy of necessity for the Minnesota congresswoman. A victory in Iowa this winter would keep her afloat in the GOP nomination fight. A loss would almost certainly end her bid.

“We know that when Michele is in Iowa, she wins,” said Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman, Kent Sorenson. “If she’s here, she’ll win Iowa.”

That explains why, starting this weekend, Bachmann plans to campaign almost exclusively in the state as she tries to reassert herself in a race that’s become a two-candidate contest between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Both Bachmann and Herman Cain are testament to the fact that a single stellar debate performance early in the cycle aren’t enough foundation to build a successful campaign on. Cain won the first debate by most accounts and jumped up in the polls, but has faded since. Bachmann likewise enjoyed a strong performance in an early debate and vaulted to top tier status ahead of Tim Pawlenty, who eventually dropped out. But now Bachmann is fading fast.

One thing sticking to Iowa does is save the campaign’s travel expenses, and this could be a sign that Bachmann’s money is drying up. I wouldn’t be surprised if the rumors I’ve heard are true, that donors see Bachmann’s Ames straw poll win as her high water mark and are now moving their money to either one of the two frontrunners, Perry and Romney.

Successful candidates can and do suffer setbacks, rebound, and win. John McCain’s campaign imploded in 2007, but he rebuilt it and went on to win by capturing the South Carolina primary and then picking up Gov. Charlie Crist’s endorsement in Florida, which destroyed Rudy Giuliani’s chances. Bachmann may not be able to carve a similar path out of Iowa, though. That state is less predictive of GOP nominees, Perry currently leads strongly in South Carolina, and no one in the current race is repeating Giuliani’s ill-considered Florida-or-bust strategy.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.
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