After weeks of dropping hints, Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann came out firmly Thursday for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, granting him a measure of Tea Party backing after criticizing him harshly during her own presidential bid.
Appearing with the presumptive GOP nominee at a rally in Portsmouth, Va., Bachmann called for unity in the Republican ranks to defeat President Barack Obama in November, saying she wanted to “lend my voice and my endorsement to Mitt Romney to take the country back."
Photo credit The Virginian-Pilot
Bachmann has not always been warmly received in the same establishment GOP circles that have embraced Romney. But political analysts say her endorsement could help bring disaffected evangelicals and social conservatives into the fold.
Many of those same elements shunned Romney during the Republican primaries, when Bachmann was a leading voice questioning his conservatism and branding his Massachusetts health care reforms as “socialized medicine.”
While former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty endorsed Romney immediately after dropping out of the presidential race last summer, Bachmann did not.
Her endorsement comes nearly four months to the day after she ended her campaign for the GOP nomination in January. Her race ended in a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, after being the first woman to win the Ames straw poll four months earlier.
GOP Party Chairman Keith Downey released a letter to a party committee questioning the judgment and competency of Deputy Chairman Chris Fields just days ahead of the election for party officers in St. Cloud Saturday.