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Is Michele Bachmann reconsidering P5 snub?

**Updated

Word in Florida Republican circles is that Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is reconsidering her decision to ignore the Republican Party of Florida's straw poll in September. But her campaign suggests otherwise.

Bachmann called RPOF chair Dave Bitner and spoke with him today about the straw poll. Just what they said specifically is unclear, but some Republicans say she was discussing an about-face.

RPOF spokesman Brian Hughes wouldn't go that far when asked who called whom and said what. He would only confirm that she called Bitner and discussed P5. "Don't know if it's accurate to say reconsidering. We sure hope she will be at P5 for the whole experience," he said in an email.

We just heard from Bachmann's spokes, Alice Stewart, who said that the campaign is still a no on P5: "Florida is a critical state in the primary process, however, we got in this race late and have spent our time building an organization, participating for two debates, and voting on key issues in Washington.  At this time, participating in the Florida Straw Poll is simply not something we can dedicate resources to at this time."

The straw poll consists of roughly 3,500 Republican Party insiders, who range from grassroots sign-wavers to Gov. Rick Scott. Bachmann's decision not to participate was somewhat mystifying after she won the Iowa straw poll, which differs from Florida's in that the campaigns essentially pay for votes from virtually anyone.

The decision to not participate in the poll (similar to Mitt Romney's) is somewhat of an expectation-game management technique -- if not a fiction.

After all, the Republican candidates will be on the ballot whether they "participate" or not. And they'll be at the Orlando P5 event anyway for a Sept. 22 debate and then a Sept. 23 CPAC conference down the street before the Sept. 24 event.

Because it consists of pure party activists and insiders, the straw poll is one of the best insight into the mind and preferences of Florida Republicans. Right now, cellar-dwelling candidate Jon Huntsman is making the strongest push, reaching out to some voters and targeting them with direct mail. P5 was a key to Huntsman's campaign early on, which is why there's speculation in Republican circles that Huntsman won't stay in the campaign much longer if he doesn't place in the top tier. He won't -- if current polls are any indication.

Surveys also suggest that the Florida straw poll -- if not the race -- will likely come down to Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (with wild-card Ron Paul thrown in). So Bachmann might focus her energies in other states when it comes to primary season. Right now, she has no visible presence in Florida. Her campaign advisor, Ed Rollins, advised 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to skip Florida and focus on other states, leading to a protracted Republican contest. This year, skipping Florida could become more alluring because the state could lose delegates if it holds an early primary.

Meantime, while Bachmann dithers, Perry is in talks to hire consultant Randy Enwright and could pick up Republican operatives Brett Doster as well as Rick Wilson in Florida.

Comments

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KJ

You say "Because it consists of pure party activists and insiders, the straw poll is one of the best insight into the mind and preferences of Florida Republicans."

Seems to me that would only make it have insight to what insiders and establishment are thinking.

Mox Teddy

3500 seriously... oh Ron has this one in the bag. That's why she doesn't want to show.

Filly

Love Bachmann, she has my vote!

stuntmanmike

Anybody but Perry.

LifeDontWasteIt

Well you have to use time and resources wisely and run a tight ship - part of the reason I will be voting for her in the first place. Hope she can make it anyway though. Someone who supports our security and Israel and takes very seriously the debt and crazy spending we've gotten ourselves into - the entitlement mentality. A big government R won't be enough to get us out of this disaster. We need some serious measures taken and she gets it.

Mike Silverman

One thing I've discovered about Michele Bachmann is, there are never any empty promises out of her mouth. She says she can bring 2 dollar a gallon gas to this country, and she absolutely means it. She intends to put an end to the danger we all face from government control of our health insurance choices. She will stop the damaging regulations pouring out of the EPA that are crushing our nation's electrical utilities and construction industry. Of all the candidates, I really feel confident that she is the most genuine, the most devoted to her word and I can guarantee she takes oaths seriously, like the oath of office to defend the Constitution, those are not just words to Michele Bachmann, it is a sacred trust. Also, Michele Bachmann is a true friend of Israel. Our relationship with our greatest free ally in the Middle East will once again be something that flourishes and that we can be proud of in our nation's leadership. And she will not be weak on the enemies of Israel, for the enemies of Israel are also the enemies of the United States.

Jean

Interesting that the straw poll is only open to 3500 people, (16,000 people voted in Iowa's straw poll & it was open to any Iowa resident.) That probably leaves a lot of Tea party activists out. I would like to hear from the Florida Tea Party.

Jerry Scott

I support Ms Bachmann totally. There is not a word comes out of her mouth that she does not mean. It is called Integrity.

Derek Wain

Whenever the press attacks Bachmann, she gets a flood of support and money. She becomes ‘Every Woman,’ a misunderstood Tea Party mother of five facing down an elitist, arrogant, Obama-leaning press corps" The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.
8/14/11 Bachmann wins Iowa Straw Poll.

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