Bachmann (Eric Gay/AP)
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa--Michele Bachmann announced her exit from the presidential race Wednesday morning following a sixth-place finish in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa.
"Last night, the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice. And so I have decided to stand aside," the Republican representative from Minnesota told reporters during a morning media availability here at the Marriott hotel.
Despite Bachmann's extensive, last-minute tour to visit all 99 of Iowa's counties, her first place finish in the Aug. 13 straw poll, and the state being her place of birth, Iowa Republican caucus voters rejected Bachmann's campaign, handing her 6,073 votes on caucus night--5 percent of the total votes cast in Tuesday night's caucuses.
As recently as Tuesday evening, Bachmann was dismissing questions about whether a poor finish in Iowa would prompt her immediate departure from the race, saying her campaign's travel tickets were already booked for South Carolina--her next major campaign stop after largely passing over New Hampshire, which holds its primary on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
But communications director Alice Stewart told reporters following the news conference that conversations began last night about whether to continue the campaign and the congresswoman asked for time to "sleep on it" and "pray about it." Stewart said she was awakened early Wednesday morning with the news.
Stewart rejected the suggestion that campaign finance challenges factored into the congresswoman's decision.
"She doesn't see where she made mistakes," Stewart said. "None of us, you know, see where there were mistakes made." In response to question about how her campaign dropped from her high at the Ames Straw Poll, Stewart noted that there were fewer candidates in the race at that time.
The congresswoman has not yet discussed whether she will run for re-election in Minnesota, Stewart said.
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