Waterloo native Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, will be visiting Iowa later this month to discuss, among other things, a 2012 run for president.
Her visit is not a declaration of candidacy, but “nothing is off the table,” according to spokesman Doug Sachtleben.
Bachmann, elected in 2006, has become a darling of the Tea Party movement as well as fiscal and social conservatives for her conservative viewpoints and frequent criticism of President Obama. Her frequent appearances on cable and network news shows have given the 54-year-old Republican a national following.
“She’s been looked to by the Tea Party movement as someone who’s a leader,” Sachtleben told MinnPost, a Minnesota blog. “The Tea Party movement sees her in a significant role of speaking up.”
Bachmann, whose family moved from Waterloo to Minnesota when she was young, will be speaking at an Iowans for Tax Relief fundraiser (http://smgs.us/7i) in Des Moines Jan. 21, Sachtleben said. Other appearances may be added to her schedule.
“The congresswoman is excited about her first trip to Iowa this year,” Parrish told ABC News. Her meetings are reportedly with “political forces and party elders.”
Bachmann won’t be focused on any “presidential aspirations,” Sachtleben said, “but focused on trying to bring attention to how detrimental President Obama’s policies have been to the nations.”
“She is committed to making sure he doesn’t get re-elected,” he said. “She’s taking every opportunity to speak to that and the need for the grass roots to stand together and make sure that a constitutional candidate is brought against him in 2012 and is elected president.”
Bachmann, who is expected to visit other early caucus and primary states, won’t just be talking about defeating Obama, but listening to what Iowan have to say “about jobs, the economy and the things that really have been ravaged in recent year,” Sachtleben said. “She wants to hear what they think needs to be done about it and what they would like to see her do about it.”
“I’m not sure she’s looking for advice one way or another with any thoughts toward the presidency,” he said, “but she’s not taking anything off the table.”
Bachman represents a district that wraps around the northern suburbs of the St. Paul-Minneapolis and stretches northwest to rural central Minnesota. She broke fundraising records with an $11 million haul en route to winning her third term in Minnesota’s 6th District. Recently, she’s been mentioned as a challenger to Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar in 2012.
This won’t be her first visit to Iowa since being elected to Congress. She campaigned for candidates here in 2010 and her MichelePAC contributed more than $30,000 to Iowa candidates.
She’s a close ally of conservative western Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, who is a host of her Jan. 21 visit. King is a founding member of her congressional Tea Party Caucus. However, Sachtleben was not aware of any other joint events during her visit.
Other hosts of the Iowans for Tax Relief are Iowa House Speaker-elect Kraig Paulsen, Hiawatha, Majority Leader-elect Linda Upmeyer, Garner, Senator-elect Bill Dix, Shell Rock, Rep. Kent Sorenson, Indianola and GOP candidate for attorney general Brenna Findley. Tickets run from $25 to $1,000 for the fundraiser from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Marriott Downtown, Des Moines. Order tickets by calling (866) 218-4124.
Bachmann is the second Minnesotan to test the presidential waters in Iowa. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty has made seven trips to the state. He’s laid the groundwork for a presidential campaign and has promised to make a decision on running within the next few months.