No suprises in Ames as Rep. Michele Bachmann came in first, narrowly edging Ron Paul and finishing far ahead of third place finisher Tim Pawlenty:
The Minnesota congresswoman narrowly outpaced libertarian Rep. Ron Paul, who had 4,671 votes, and whose red t-shirt-wearing supporters flooded the campus of Iowa State University, and packed the arena when Paul spoke. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty finished third with 2,293, a showing that keeps him in the game for next year's Iowa caucuses, but had to come off as slightly disappointing.
The hope in his camp was that his organization muscle in Iowa would propel him to the top, but he was no match for the charismatic Bachmann, whose political star continues its dizzying ascent. Where Pawlenty relied on traditional, on-the-ground campaigning, Bachmann rode a wave of media-fueled enthusiasm that, right now, shows no sign of abating.
Still, in spite of Bachmann's victory, the poll came on the day that Texas Gov. Rick Perry declared that he, too, will mount a presidential run, setting up a showdown in Iowa over the social and fiscal conservatives that dominate the caucuses here.
Bachmann planned to appear on the five major network Sunday morning talk shows Sunday as part of a blitz to capitalize on the win--and perhaps a tactic to thwart Perry's momentum. Both candidates will speak at a dinner in Waterloo, Iowa Sunday evening.
We may see a one or two dropouts as a result of the straw poll. Rick Santorum hinted yesterday that he might call it quits if he didn't do well. He finished a distant fourth. Herman Cain is expected to continue his campaign despite finishing 5th.