In the aftermath of the announcement that her Iowa chair Kent Sorenson had switched his support to Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann accused Sorenson last night of being bribed.
“Kent Sorenson personally told me he was offered a large sum of money to go to work for the Paul campaign,” Bachmann said to reporters last night, according to the AFP. “Kent said to me yesterday that ‘Everyone sells out in Iowa, why shouldn’t I?’ Then he told me he would stay with our campaign.”
The back-and-forth didn’t stop there. The Paul campaign e-mailed media outlets a statement from Wes Enos, Bachmann’s Iowa political director, defending Sorenson:
I won’t say much about the situation or the conflicting statements beyond this; I can say unequivocally that Kent Sorenson’s decision was, in no way financially motivated. His decision had more to do with the fact that the Ron Paul supporters have been something of a family to him since he was first elected in 2008 and here in the end, as it becomes more and more apparent that the caucus cycle is coming to an end, Kent believed that he needed to be with them as they stand on the cusp of a potential caucus upset. While I personally disagree with Kent’s decision, and plan to stay with Michele Bachmann because I truly believe in her, I cannot, in good conscious watch a good man like Kent Sorenson be attacked as a ‘sell-out’ ….That is simply not the case, and it was not the basis of his decision.
However, the Associated Press is reporting that the political operative who ran Sorenson’s 2008 and 2010 campaigns, Susan Geddes, is claiming that “Sorenson had told her several times, as recently as last month, that the Paul campaign had offered him money to leave Bachmann’s campaign for the Texas congressman’s.”
My guess would be that Sorenson’s move will benefit Rick Santorum more than it does Ron Paul. Looking at the PPP poll from earlier this week, 5 percent of Bachmann supporters say their second choice is Paul, while 25 percent say it’s Santorum. Santorum and Bachmann, along with Perry, have both been trying to make a play to be the chief social-conservative contender in the state. If Bachmann’s campaign looks like it’s in trouble, just as Santorum’s numbers are taking off, it helps him make his case that he’s the more viable contender.