The head of a key conservative group in Iowa says Rep. Michele Bachmann is poised for a comeback in Iowa.
Bob Vander Plaats, who directs the group the Family Leader, told MPR News Iowa conservatives who are disappointed with Texas Gov. Rick Perry are reconsidering Bachmann.
“A lot of conservative were ready to go and launch on to Rick Perry’s campaign but, because of Rick Perry’s debate performances and some of the issues that people didn’t realize at the time, it’s given these conservatives a cause for pause and a chance to take a look at other people again like Michele Bachmann,” Vander Plaats said. “So I think she’s starting to resurge.”
Vander Plaats said he thinks Bachmann is returning to the type of campaign style that helped her win the Ames Straw Poll in mid-August. For a while Bachmann appeared to be a bit unsure of which path to take, Vander Plaats said.
“I thought I saw her in some debates almost shrink back from opportunities that presented themselves — kind of like–I’m not so sure how I want to play this. Well, now I think she’s feeling a little more comfortable on that stage, and I think she will not let an opportunity slip by,” said Vander Plaats. “I think she’s going to be bold. She is going to be courageous, and if she shows that titanium spine, she’s going to do really well.”
Vander Plaats helped orchestrate Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s 2008 Iowa caucus victory. He also led last fall’s successful recall election of three Iowa Supreme Court justices for their part in a unanimous decision legalizing same-sex marriage.
Vander Plaats has not endorsed any of the 2012 GOP presidential candidates. He said his organization will consider an endorsement in late November, following an event it’s holding called a “Thanksgiving Family Forum.” Vander Plaats said all of the candidates with the exception of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with be at the November 19 forum in Des Moines.
On Thursday Bachmann kicked off a three day campaign swing through northwestern Iowa.
A Real Clear Politics complication of the last three polls of likely Iowa GOP caucus goers had Bachmann with a little more than 12 percent support behind Mitt Romney (22 percent), Herman Cain (18 percent) and Rick Perry (16 percent).
Still Vander Plaats said there’s no clear front-runner in Iowa. He said that is seldom the case at this point in the process.
“This field is extremely wide open. You could make an argument for every candidate in the race who’s competing, the seven that are competing here, that they could win the state of Iowa. And so it will be interesting to see how this plays out,” said Vander Plaats.