2012 candidates have tended to announce candidacy twice
Image has not been found. URL: http://images.americanindependent.com/2012-80.jpgFew supporters — for that matter, opponents — expected GOP candidate and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) would jump into the 2012 race during the New Hampshire primary debate June 13, after telling reporters her decision on the presidency would be announced in her native Waterloo.
Yet, the lone woman on stage seized the opportunity to make her bid official, catching her opponents, both on stage and through the nation, off-guard. The follow-up announcement, as Bachmann called it, took place Monday in Iowa.
Other candidates have not used the element of surprise, but have made clear or even said outright they were going to enter the presidential race before actually announcing the bid:
Thursday, media outlets reported that U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich), a virtual unknown, launched his campaign website starting today, but that the official bid for the White House will be made tomorrow.
In late May, national frontrunner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, told an Iowa crowd in the capital city that his formal announcement would be made in New Hampshire, to the chagrin of some of his Hawkeye State supporters.
Also in late May, prominent businessman Herman Cain spread the word that he was organizing a rally in his native Atlanta where he would make his decision known, which, naturally, was to ultimately throw his hat into the ring of GOP candidates.
Finally, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) made public the fact he was opening a campaign office, but teased the crowd by saying a decision wouldn’t be announced for another week.
Former China Ambassador and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman told the Associated Press weeks before actually entering the race that he would not compete in Iowa during his presidential campaign, thereby indicating a formal announcement would follow. The reception from Iowa political activists, politicians and pundits was chilly by the time Huntsman made his bid official.
But is the announcement to “the announcement” political savvy at taking the proverbial two bites at the apple, or does it reduce excitement that was once built up for the candidate?
Simply put, Dr. Tim Hagle said, it depends on who you are to begin with, and if the media takes notice.
A professor of political science at the University of Iowa, Hagle explained that media attention from the get-go can often boost a candidate’s prevalence in the news, so when that candidate makes their 2012 –or any election — announcement, America is already listening.
Hagle said the two-bites-at-the-apple tactic has likely been used by other candidates in the past, but the 2012er’s have made it a recent phenomenon.
“A fair amount of media attention can make a difference,” Hagle said, adding that when high profile politicians or past presidential candidates come to a state like Iowa, which brags first-in-the-nation caucus status, reporters take notice “and it’s not uncommon for them to ask, you know, ‘Why are you here? Are you running for president? Will you be here a lot?’ Questions of that nature.”
But of course, name recognition can’t hurt when a candidate decides to make a couple similar announcements regarding their campaign, and lesser known candidates can build that up by announcing their presidential exploratory committees.
“There’s no magic formula to this, really,” Hagle said. “It depends on the candidate and the surrounding circumstances.”
In the cases of frontrunners Romney and Bachmann, the multiple announcements and heavy indications of entering the race before formal announcements worked well. Several political pundits considered Bachmann’s debate bid, followed by the formal Iowa kick-off “brilliant,” and Romney, who campaigned hard in Iowa four years ago, performed well at the New Hampshire debate a few short weeks after visiting Iowa.
As evidenced by their first and second places standings in the Des Moines Register’s recent poll, Romney and Bachmann “obviously still got plenty of interest.”