Bachmann's Iowa chairman bolts for Paul

Dec. 29, 2011 at 12:58 PM
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DES MOINES, Iowa, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann says her Iowa campaign organization is strong despite the departure of a key aide for another GOP candidate.

"Our campaign organization is very strong," Bachmann told reporters in the parking lot of WHO-Radio in Des Moines.

Bachmann's Iowa campaign chairman, state Sen. Kent Sorenson, bolted from her campaign Wednesday for U.S. Rep Ron Paul's campaign and endorsed him at a Paul event in Des Moines. Sorenson didn't alert the U.S. representative from Minnesota about his decision to leave until after attending a morning Bachmann event.

Sorenson said the decision to leave the Bachmann campaign was "hard" but he thinks Paul, from Texas, was the most conservative candidate who had a realistic chance of defeating former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, The Washington Post reported.

He also said Paul campaigned for him during his state Senate race and thought it was his duty "to come to his aid, just like he came to my aid during my Senate race, which was a very nasty race."

On Thursday Bachmann repeated her statement from a day earlier that Sorenson left for financial reasons, the Des Moines Register said. She named Iowa state Rep. Brad Zaun as her new state chair.

"I had a conversation with Kent Sorenson and in the direct conversation that I had with him, he told me that he was offered money, that he was offered a lot of money by the Ron Paul campaign to go and associate with the Ron Paul campaign," she said, adding that no one else was present during the conversation.

Sorenson and the Paul campaign have denied Sorenson was being paid.

The recruitment of Sorenson was indicative of the "nervousness" by the Paul campaign, she added.

"They were losing steam in Iowa, losing momentum in Iowa, because Iowans' eyes were opening up," she said.

Several polls indicate Paul could win the Iowa caucuses Tuesday.

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