AMES, Iowa (UPDATE) -- Michele Bachmann says it's "the very first step toward taking back the White House."
She's celebrating her victory Saturday in the Iowa straw poll. During a day of speeches by the Republicans on the ballot, Bachmann had vowed to "make Barack Obama a one-term president."
The Minnesota congresswoman, a favorite of the tea party, got more than 28 percent of the 17,000 votes cast in the non binding exercise. She has a following among the evangelicals who make up the GOP base in Iowa and elsewhere.
Saturday's vote provides clues about each candidate's level of support and campaign organization, five months before the Iowa caucuses.
Ron Paul, the Texas congressman who has support among libertarians, finished a close second. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who was hoping for a strong showing to boost his struggling campaign, was a distant third.
Finishing fourth was former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, followed by businessman Herman Cain.
Rick Perry wasn't on the ballot -- but on the day that the Texas governor officially entered the race, his name was written in by his Iowa supporters, and he finished sixth -- just ahead of Mitt Romney.
Barely registering support were Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich.
AMES, Iowa (WKOW) -- Michele Bachmann is the winner of the Iowa Straw Poll.
For the tea party favorite, it was a display of popularity and organizational strength -- five months before the Iowa caucuses begin the GOP presidential nominating season.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul finished a close second. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has sparred with his home-state rival Bachmann in a debate and on the campaign trail, finished a distant third.
Pawlenty made it clear he's not dropping out, despite a disappointing finish. He said, "We have a lot more work to do" -- but that his campaign is "just beginning."
Today's poll doesn't necessarily predict who will win the Iowa caucuses. But it shows that Bachmann has some support in the state -- as well as the strongest get-out-the-vote operation and widest volunteer base.
In speeches throughout the day, candidates assailed President Barack Obama and offered themselves as the answer to America's high unemployment, rising debt and stock market swings.
Casting himself as a Washington outsider, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has joined the competition for the Republican presidential nomination.
Perry made the announcement in South Carolina, where the first primary in the South will be held. Speaking in Charleston, Perry said his goal would be to make Washington "inconsequential."
His nationally televised announcement before a large group of conservative activists came on the same day as Iowans weighed in on the GOP field with a straw poll.
Perry, who is in his third term as governor, has never held a private sector job. As recently as a few months ago, Perry expressed no interest in running for president. But he reversed course after it became clear the Republican establishment wasn't rallying around any single candidate.
AMES, IOWA (WKOW) -- Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has won the Iowa Straw Poll.
It's the first indication of what Iowans think of the GOP presidential field and which candidate has the best get-out-the-vote organization.
The result comes five months before Iowa holds the caucuses that kick off the Republican nomination season.
Nine candidates were on the ballot. But not all competed.
Mitt Romney, the GOP front-runner in national polls, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman sat it out. And supporters to Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin waged write-in campaigns.