By Cameron Joseph - 01/04/12 04:54 AM EST
DES MOINES, Iowa — Michele Bachmann finished dead last among GOP candidates competing in Iowa’s caucuses but said Tuesday night that she won’t drop out.
“I believe that I am that true conservative who can and who will defeat Barack Obama in 2012,” she told supporters at her Iowa campaign headquarters. “And over the next few days, just be prepared, the pundits and the press will again try to pick the nominee based on tonight’s results. But there are many more chapters to be written on the path to our party’s nomination, and I prefer to let the people of the country decide who will represent us."
Bachmann finished a disappointing sixth place in the state, making her the first candidate in history to win the Iowa Straw Poll in August then finish last in the caucus results. Bachmann finished with about 5 percent support, better only than John Huntsman, who skipped campaigning in Iowa altogether. She barely received more votes in the entire statewide race than she did in August.
The Minnesota congresswoman grew up in Iowa and has worked the state hard, but she was hurt badly by Rick Perry’s entrance into the race and has not been able to recover.
She faces long odds at being able to rally in the next contests. Rick Santorum draws many of the same conservative supporters, and his strong finish in Iowa means he’ll have the momentum going forward.
But any votes she does manage to hold onto in New Hampshire and South Carolina will likely come from Santorum’s tally, making it slightly harder for him to do compete with Mitt Romney in those states.