Michele Bachmann will form a presidential exploratory committee in early June, if not earlier, CNN's Shannon Travis reports. Filing earlier would help the Minnesota congresswoman get into earlier Republican primary debates. There are two GOP debates in May and three in early June.
Tea Party favorite Bachmann is building campaign teams in early primary states and has hired an important Tea Partier in Iowa, state Sen. Kent Sorenson, to be her state political director. The Des Moines Register's Thomas Beaumont reports that Bachmann will be spending a lot of the next couple months in Iowa with the intent on entering the important Ames straw poll in late summer.
So Bachmann is probably going to do the paperwork to think officially about running for president. Where does she stack up alongside the other Republican contenders for 2012?
- Newt Gingrich: Committed to thinking about starting a formal exploratory committee. Many thought the former House Speaker fumbled his announcement by not fully committing to launching an exploratory committee.
- Tim Pawlenty: Formed an official exploratory committee this week.
- Herman Cain: The pizza magnate launched an official exploratory committee in January.
- Fred Karger: A gay activist from California, Karger became the first Republican officially running for president in 2012 on Wednesday.
- Jimmy McMillan: The man who became famous during the New York gubernatorial debates for his walrus-esque facial hair and his Rent Is Too Damn High Party switched his affiliation to the GOP. He's filed with the FEC to run for president.
- Donald Trump: Says he'll make his final decision in June. Has only launched ShouldTrumpRun.com
The flashier candidates with higher name recognition--Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney--have yet to make it official with the FEC while they test the political waters, raise money, and, in some cases, figure out their TV contracts.