Following a disappointing 6th place finish in the Iowa Caucus on Tuesday, Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has ended her Presidential campaign. At an emotional news conference, Bachmann, 55, the only female candidate running for President, said, “The people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, so I decided to stand aside.”
The conservative congresswoman’s decision was widely expected after receiving only 5% of the vote, reports Mike Glover of the Associated Press.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney finished first, eking out former Pennsylvania Senator Rich Santorum by 8 votes. Texas Congressman Ron Paul finished third.
Many pundits think Santorum’s campaign could get a boost by picking up Bachmann’s supporters as he aims to consolidate the social conservative vote heading into the next round of elections. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Governor Rick Perry will also draw support from that pool.
Bachmann’s departure caps a very long slide for the candidate who had raised expectations with a surprise win in the Iowa straw poll last August. Campaigning as a hard-liner on social issues such as abortion and gay rights, as well as arguing for a massive shrinking of the federal government, she couldn’t continue the momentum and her campaign ran into a series of organizational and financial challenges, including several key campaign staff-members leaving to join Ron Paul’s campaign.
Bachmann chose not to take questions following her announcement to leave the race, and did not discuss her plans to endorse another Republican candidate for the presidential nomination. However, her statements clearly indicated her public career was not over. “I’ll continue to fight for you, for more liberty and to stop the over-spending in Washington,” she said, adding, “we should rally around the person” who eventually gets the nomination.
Bachmann posted the following announement on her campaign website:
I will be forever grateful to Iowa and its people for launching us on this path with our victory in the Iowa Straw Poll. While I will not be continuing in this race, my faith in the Lord God Almighty, this country, in our republic, has been strengthened. As I have traveled around Iowa, and the country, I have seen the very best in America, our people. And I will always believe in the greatness of them and the greatness of our God.
And, of course, I am deeply grateful to our entire campaign team, here in Iowa, in South Carolina and everywhere. I have no regrets. We never compromised our principles and we can leave this race knowing that we ran it with integrity and that we made an important contribution.
Thank you, God Bless you.