CNN has exclusively learned that Rep. Michele Bachmann will form a presidential exploratory committee. The Minnesota Republican plans to file papers for the committee in early June, with an announcement likely around that same time.
But a source close to the congresswoman said that Bachmann could form the exploratory committee even earlier than June so that she could participate in early Republican presidential debates.
"She's been telling everyone early summer," the source told CNN regarding Bachmann's planned June filing and announcement. But the source said that nothing is static.
CNN also reports that she's hired Republican state Sen. Kent Sorenson to be political director for the Iowa campaign and that she's planning on having state directors in place in the early primary states "within a week" -- according to her chief of staff.
This doesn't just have huge implications for a Sarah Palin bid, it will completely shift the entire race around.
Right now, Mitt Romney is likely delighted. The more social conservatives with strong credentials, the better.
If Bachmann, Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum all run, they'd dilute the Iowa evangelical vote considerably.
That wouldn't make Romney the favorite in Iowa, but, at the very least, it would make it difficult for one evangelical-approved candidate to consolidate the movement against him, as the field debates and gets press in the coming months.
And this would make life tougher for Tim Pawlenty. It would be a second Midwesterner to compete in Iowa -- one whose charisma would showcase T-Paw's own deficit.