Rep. Michele Bachmann, who likes to boast that she has given the Tea Party a voice in Congress and who has been one of the movement’s favorites, is being urged by one group to drop out of the Republican Party’s presidential nominating race.
“It’s time for Michele Bachmann to go,” reads the first line of a harsh statement that was posted by Ned Ryun, president of American Majority, on its website. The group operates in seven states, trains thousands of Tea Party supporters and is liked by more than 371,000 people on Facebook.
Ryun also said that the Minnesota lawmaker has used her Tea Party credentials to rise from “obscurity to a national platform” and that her campaign is “more about her personal effort to stay relevant and sell books.”
“Since her meteoric rise this summer and win in the Iowa straw poll, her campaign has been plagued by losses of top staff, lackluster fundraising and a seeming lack of direction. Bachmann’s resulting plunge in the polls is troubling for the Tea Party, not because ‘one of their own’ is losing her footing, but because the longer Bachmann stays in the race, the more likely we will see her shift to the right,” Ryun wrote. “This rightward shift will come as the campaign works to hold on to its more conservative base of support in advance of the release of Bachmann’s new book next month.”
The problem, he added, is that while the movement cares deeply about social issues, its driving force is more about limited government and fiscal responsibility, which Republicans, independents and conservative Democrats support. While other candidates in the GOP race are digging into those issues, Ryun said, Bachmann is “sticking to thin talking points and hanging on for dear life.”
Bachmann campaign manager Keith Nahigian in a statement accused Ryun of being a Rick Perry supporter, CNN reports, and said that Bachmann ”enjoys strong support from Americans across party lines and that certainly includes the Tea Party.” But American Majority says it has not yet settled on any one candidate.
Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the movement’s largest group, the Tea Party Patriots, told CNN that she was unaware of any local groups calling for Bachmann to drop out of the race and said that supporters “appreciate her for championing their cause repeatedly and consistently."
(Photo: Robert Galbraith / Reuters)