DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Michele Bachmann announced Wednesday that she has “decided to stand aside” and is ending her bid for Republican presidential nomination after her last-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.
The conservative Minnesota congresswoman’s decision, widely expected following her dismal Iowa showing, leaves her supporters up for grabs by the other candidates in the race, particularly former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
“I have decided to stand aside,” Bachmann said at a hastily arranged news conference in Des Moines, hours after the caucus results were announced. “I will not be continuing in this race for the presidency.”
Her campaign manager, Keith Nahigian, told The Associated Press, that Bachmann has “no time frame or person” in mind for her endorsement.
In the announcement, Bachmann said she had no regrets about running and will continue to fight for the causes she emphasized during the campaign, including to overturn President Barack Obama’s “socialist policies.”
It has been a long, deep slide for the Minnesota congresswoman, who enjoyed a high point in her campaign when she won a Republican straw poll in Ames, Iowa, in August. But her campaign steadily lost support since then, beginning with Perry’s entry into the race on the day of her straw poll win.
Bachmann, 55, had told a small group of supporters Tuesday night that she was staying in the race as the only true conservative who can defeat Obama.
In her statement, Bachmann referred repeatedly to “Obamacare” — the health care law Obama signed in 2010– and said the Republican Party must not miss a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to repeal it and the financial regulatory overhaul law known as Dodd-Frank.
Santorum’s near-tie with Iowa caucus winner Mitt Romney topped a rise from deep in the polls to contender for the presidential nomination.
Meanwhile, Romney jetted to New Hampshire to continue campaigning.
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