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Kaegan Tafler

This week’s update on the Republican presidential field

Michele Bachmann wins the Iowa straw poll—and loses a political news cycle when Tim Pawlenty drops out and Rick Perry enters the race. It’s certainly been a monumental week for the Republican presidential field. Long-time frontrunner Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann are enduring the first significant challenges to their leads, the field continues to be shaken up, and speculation and rumors continue to abound over Sarah Palin’s potential candidacy. In the meantime, President Obama has embarked on a bus tour of Iowa in an attempt to detract attention from the Republican race. So, what does the 2012 presidential field really look like now?First, let’s examine the significance of the Iowa straw poll. The people who vote in early polls like this represent the radical fringes of the Republican party, and it should be remembered that thesepolls are not at all indicative of a candidate’s actual performance in the primaries. For comparison’s sake, in 2007, John McCain placed tenth in this very same poll. However, the Iowa straw poll is useful in that it generates media attention and speculation, and therefore also generates valuable fundraising for the candidates who perform well.In light of the relative triviality of this poll, some might find Pawlenty’s withdrawal from the race surprising, but in truth, this news was a long time coming. Pawlenty’s presidential campaign neverreally got off the ground, and his candidacy was further hampered by the similarities he shared with Bachmann. Both candidates hail from Minnesota, are proud standard-bearers for the Tea Party, and have analogous platforms. Pawlenty’s name recognition nationwide pales in comparison to Bachmann, and once she declared her candidacy, Pawlenty never stood a chance.What does Rick Perry’s official candidacy mean for the Republican field? Like Pawlenty’s withdrawal, Perry’s declaration of candidacy was a long time coming. The Texas governor has… Read More