The GOP race for a presidential front runner underwent major shifts as a result of events in Iowa and South Carolina yesterday. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) placed first in the Iowa Straw Poll and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), who placed third, announced that he was exiting the race even as Texas Governor Rick Perry declared that he was joining in.
After drawing slightly less than 14% of the straw poll ballots, Gov. Pawlenty told ABC's "This Week" that he is pulling out of the race because he saw "no pathway forward."
Michele Bachmann, on the other hand, stepped ahead of her fellow presidential contenders by winning 4823 of the 16,892 ballots cast, placing at 28.55% of the vote. Rep. Ron Paul placed a close second at 4671/27.65%. Pawlenty was a distant third at 2293/13.57%.
Bachmann is expected to face competition for conservative Tea Party votes from Gov. Rick Perry, who announced that he was entering the race just as the Straw Poll, held in Ames, Iowa, was getting underway. Perry, in fact, placed sixth with 718 write-in ballots, even though he did not take part in the Iowa ballot and fund-raising event.
Speaking at a blogger's convention in South Carolina yesterday, Gov. Perry vowed to bring his job creation program to the White House if elected. And Perry and Bachmann will both attend a fund raising event in Waterloo, Iowa, tonight, Rep. Bachmann's home town and the place where she announced her run for president.
Presumed front runner former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney received only 567 votes, for 3.36% of the total. Like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, he chose not to speak directly to Iowa voters.