Bachmann, unlike several of her rivals making appeals to the Tea Party movement, has the resources and fundraising potential to steer her campaign beyond the crucial early states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Though firmly on the insurgent side of the Republican field, she is also taking steps to position herself as a credible alternative to the crop of establishment-friendly White House contenders with deep pockets and long political resumes.
She has hired Sarah Palin's debate coach. She nabbed Haley Barbour's pollster.
And Bachmann's campaign organization will be based not in Minnesota, but in Washington, where the coming battle on Capitol Hill over raising the debt ceiling will place her squarely in the middle of the national political debate this summer.
Meanwhile, her staff has been busy laying the groundwork for a competitive race.
Her congressional chief of staff, Andy Parrish, re-located to Des Moines in early June. Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson, a popular figure among Iowa Tea Party activists, will chair her campaign.
Wes Enos, the political director behind Mike Huckabee's surprising second place finish in the 2007 Ames Straw Poll, is taking on a similar role for Bachmann ahead of this year's poll, scheduled for August 13.
Out of the view of the media, there is also behind-the-scenes work underway to win over the kind of hard-to-reach grassroots activists who often play an outsized role in the caucuses.
Bachmann, for instance, has lined up the backing of influential home-school activist Barb Heki, a board member of the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators who assisted Huckabee's winning caucus effort in 2008 and helped the conservative effort to oust three judges from the Iowa Supreme Court last year.
In private meetings in recent months, Bachmann has won over influential faith leaders across the state, including Brad Cranston, the pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in Burlington.
Monday, June 27, 2011