There once was a presidential hopeful from Minnesota, who hoped to parlay Midwestern appeal into a national constituency. The candidate tossed the dice on a non-binding poll in neighboring Iowa, only to finish embarrassingly short of victory. In the immediate aftermath of the stunning failure, the candidate decided to go home to Minnesota to find a different role in politics than presidential contender.
Did I say once? Er …
According to a Michele Bachmann official, the last-place Iowa finisher has canceled her campaign trip to South Carolina. Additional details have not yet been released.
Bachmann will be addressing the media at 10 a.m.
This sounds like a withdrawal, just as Rick Perry’s announcement of cancellation of his trip to South Carolina sounded last night. Both have good reasons to reconsider the road ahead. Bachmann staked her candidacy on being Iowa’s native daughter; as one wag on Twitter put it, she sounded at times more interested in being governor of Iowa than President of the United States. A failure to get to double digits in her home state, and the exhaustion of her campaign in both money and political strength after a couple of high-level defections last week leaves Bachmann with little standing to make an argument anywhere else. She can return to Minnesota and start ramping up for a tough fight for her House seat now, and probably will do just that.
Perry’s apparent decision to withdraw makes sense, although he had enough resources to push through at least South Carolina. However, the last three polls shown at RCP for the state don’t give Perry much reason to bother; he hadn’t scored better than 7% all through December, and a 10%, fifth-place finish in Iowa would not have given Perry much wind at his back in the next two weeks. Romney was between 19% and 23% in those polls and might start getting some consolidation support after his win last night, while Perry would almost certainly have languished.
Iowa’s one virtue is that it helps to narrow the field. It looks like Iowa did its job last night.
Update: Time’s Mark Halperin says that a Perry withdrawal “would be HORRIBLE for Romney,” as it would make winning South Carolina more difficult — presumably because of the conservative consolidation that would follow. Except, of course, that Gingrich will stick around at least through South Carolina, which will split the conservative opposition to Romney between Gingrich and Santorum, while Perry was the only rival that could challenge Romney organizationally in the state. Plus, Perry was getting 5%, 5%, and 7% in the last three polls there. Not sure how this is HORRIBLE for Romney; it’s probably horrible for conservatives who had hoped to rally behind Perry’s organizational might in South Carolina.