Michele Bachmann Seeks a Bounce in Florida on Weekend Swing

By: Kenric Ward | Posted: August 26, 2011 3:55 AM
Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann | Credit: Gage Skidmore - Flickr

Tapping in to Florida's grassroots and tea leaves, Michele Bachmann takes her first campaign swing through the state this weekend.

Beginning Friday in Jacksonville Beach, then on to Orlando and Sarasota, the Minnesota congresswoman will seek to parlay her Iowa straw poll victory into top-tier status in the Sunshine State.

Bachmann's visit comes at a crucial time. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is surging in the polls and on Wednesday picked up the endorsement of Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park.

Mitt Romney already has a state organization dating from his 2008 run and Ron Paul will garner votes from the party's libertarian wing.

Sarasota County GOP chairman Joe Gruters says the race remains "wide open" in Florida because none of the major presidential candidates has committed to waging a concerted grassroots campaign here.

"If [establishment] endorsements counted, Tim Pawlenty would be the nominee. Whoever resonates with the base, the grassroots activists, will win," Gruters said.

Gruters points to the party's Presidency 5 straw poll as a bellwether.

"Anybody who skips P5 doesn't deserve to win the Florida primary. It's a slap in the face of activists across the state. It's a slap in the face of our party," he said.

So far, only Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman and Herman Cain have committed to participating in the P5 poll, which will be held Sept. 24 in Orlando. Romney and Bachmann have said they will not compete, and Perry's campaign has not yet said what it will do.

Gruters, who will co-host Bachmann's appearance in Sarasota on Sunday, said he will press the congresswoman to participate in the straw poll of 3,500 GOP delegates.

"If you win P5, you can win the primary. If you win the primary, you will likely be the party's nominee," said Gruters, who added that he has no preferred candidate at this point.

Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart told Sunshine State News the candidate is not inclined to enter the straw poll "at this time."

As for the weekend tour, Stewart said Bachmann "will meet with Floridians to discuss the important issues facing our nation including the debt crisis, job creation and economic growth."

Bachmann is expected to draw a standing-room-only crowd at the Sahib Shrine in Sarasota on Sunday. The free event is co-sponsored by the Republican parties of Sarasota, Charlotte and Hardee counties, along with Taking Back Our Country (Englewood); Tea Party Manatee; Sarasota Patriots; and Venice 912.

The congresswoman, who founded and chairs the Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. House, starts her Florida swing at Angie's Sub Shop in Jacksonville Beach on Friday.

The shop made headlines last year when owner Ed Malin posted a sign declaring: “Bible thumpin’, gun totin’ capitalist pig owns this joint.”

On Saturday morning, Bachmann will appear at a Poinciana Town Hall. That evening she will be the keynote speaker at the Florida Family Policy Council awards dinner in Orlando.

On Sunday morning, the congresswoman will attend services at the Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, and then conclude her tour in Sarasota Sunday afternoon.

Brian Graham, who heads Dixie Strategies, a Florida-based political consulting firm, calls Bachmann a "good conservative," but he has reservations.

"I feel Republicans are looking for someone who can beat the president, but she suffers from the exact same lack of experience as Obama, and that’s executive experience," Graham said.


Contact Kenric Ward at kward@sunshinestatenews.com or (772) 801-5341.

Comments (8)

4:06PM AUG 29TH 2011
Let's hope she "bounces" all the way back to Minnesota!
12:20PM AUG 29TH 2011
Before the 2010 campaign cycle, I thought that the TEA party movement was going to reflect my views - until they allowed Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry to declare themselves the leaders.

Seriously - How can you support someone whose first career choice was to BE THE IRS Tax Collector? Bachmann's job was to intimidate her friends and neighbors into paying more taxes, interest and penalties. Overnight she changed her conscientious? As for Perry, if you don't mind the Obamacare mandate, you will love Perry and his executive orders that benefit Big Pharma lobbyists.

If this is what the tea party has been co-opted to become, you are no different from the progressives in the Democratic and Republican parties.
10:00PM AUG 27TH 2011
She is not a viable candidate . Support Perry. And then after 4 more years of Mr. Obama, the Republican party can extricate themselves from the right wing and pick a candidate who can actually win.
3:53PM AUG 27TH 2011
Ron Paul is the only politician I can remember with a SPINE, and I'm pretty old. Do you want some craven in the office, licking the hands that bought the office? Wouldn't you rather have someone who will STAND UP for you, having stood up for himself all these long years?
Does it bother you, the million or more people that have died in the last 12 years, died for nothing? Does it bother you knowing that YOU could change it, but are too busy and can't be bothered?
Do you mind the trillion dollars that goes overseas each year, when it could be spent right here and cure the Depression? Do you mind the trade agreements that send our jobs over there? Do you mind the tax policies that prevent the trillions made overseas being used to create jobs here?
It's time to show YOUR spine and stand up for The Man With A Spine. He's done it for you these past 20 years - now it's your turn.

Vote Vertebrate - Ron Paul 2012!
Robert Lloyd
12:03PM AUG 26TH 2011
Just a wild comment here that few will understand (based on their total liberal indoctrination in this society)... why would any conservative bother electing a female? We need strong Christian male leadership.

Think about it... think really hard about it.
7:09PM AUG 29TH 2011
Mr. Lloyd,
Your total disrespect for women is painfully obvious. Did it ever occur to you that you wouldn't be here without one. Your comments are one of the many reasons we need more women in political office. "Think hard about it". Good grief.
9:02AM AUG 26TH 2011
Shame on all of you for supporting this woman....shame.
7:02AM AUG 26TH 2011
I could get excited about a President Bachmann but my concern is that with Perry, Bachmann, and Romney heading the field, I get sick to my stomach over the thought of Romney getting the nod. He is the McCain disaster, yet because of Romney's money and his liberal greasing of the various Republican organizations, he is holding on.

I hope the top opposition to Romney gets solidified so we can boot him back to MA the land of Ted Kennedy. The only candidates in this race that are worse than Romney are Santorum and the fraud in the White House.

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