Less than one week before the Iowa caucus, the state director of Rep. Michelle Bachmann’s campaign jumped ship and endorsed another candidate.
State Sen. Kent Sorenson (R-Indianola) announced this evening he was changing his support to Rep. Ron Paul while attending a “Salute to Veterans” rally organized for the Texas congressman.
“Today, I am switching my support from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul for the 2012 Iowa Caucuses and the presidency of the United States,” Sorenson said, calling the decision “one of the most difficult I have made in my life.”
“Ron Paul is the only candidate to predict the current mess we find ourselves in economically, and he’s the only candidate to offer a true plan to cut spending and balance our budget.”
Jesse Benton, chairman of Paul’s national campaign, welcomed the endorsement in a formal statement. “Congressman Paul is delighted to accept the endorsement of Sen. Kent Sorenson, whose blessing and assistance carry a great deal weight in Iowa. The fact that he doesn’t take this decision lightly tells a great deal about the Senator and Ron Paul. This endorsement is a rare find and we hope it pushes us nearer to our goal of a strong top-three finish at the January caucus.”
In the most recent poll of Iowan Republicans, Paul lead all candidates with 24 percent. Mitt Romney was a close second, taking 20 percent; Bachmann was a distant fourth with 11 percent.
The Iowa caucus is scheduled next week for Jan. 3.
Sorenson had been employed by Bachmann for about seven months. Rumors first begin circulating that Bachmann would hire Sorenson in late March after he spoke warmly of the Minnesota congresswoman in a CNN interview.
“I hope she decides to run,” he said on March 10. “She is somebody that (sic) has the credentials to fire up the grassroots. She would be someone who could unite different factions of the party. She is a strong fiscal and social conservative.”
Sorenson was hired as her Iowa state campaign director shortly after in late June, and helped Bachmann win the Ames Straw Poll in August. Paul placed a close second.
Sorenson attended a Bachmann campaign event earlier today without any indication of his last-minute switch. When asked to speak on Bachmann’s behalf, Sorenson told other campaign staff he couldn’t because he just had dental work done.
Late this afternoon before Sorenson’s surprise announcement, Bachmann focused her attention on Paul while campaigning across the state, saying he “would be a dangerous president.”
Sorenson won a very close race to represent Iowa’s State House Dist. 74 in 2008, and was elected to State Senate Dist. 37 in 2010.
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