Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has already performed well in one debate and surged in the polls. Today she formally launched her presidential campaign. Buoyed by the Des Moines Register findings that she is within one point of Mitt Romney for the lead in Iowa, the state is central to her campaign strategy. In her announcement speech in the unfortunately named Waterloo, Bachmann stressed her ancestral ties to the state. Social conservatives have traditionally done well in the nation’s first caucuses, where Alan Keyes finished third, Pat Robertson second, and Mike Huckabee first.
Bachmann is likely to start with a strong base among Iowa’s evangelicals and home schoolers. She has a real opportunity in the state because Romney, the frontrunner, is apparently bypassing the caucuses. The key will be using a strong performance to gain momentum in subsequent contests. Bachmann’s tone was fairly mellow in today’s announcement.