Since her Ames straw poll victory, Michele Bachmann has been to South Carolina, Florida, New York City and of course Iowa. But not the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire. Since Ames, on Aug. 13 in Iowa, all of her GOP rivals have at least popped into the Granite State.
Despite what looks like a strategy to focus on early states where voters tend to be more socially conservative -- Iowa, South Carolina -- New Hampshire political observers say the Minnesota congresswoman bypasses the state at her peril.
Neil Levesque, political director at the nonpartisan New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm, where the popular "Politics and Eggs" series is held, said he doesn't know of any upcoming Bachmann trips. However, the Institute has heard from her, he said. "It's not like we are not in communication.
"I don't think she's thrown in the towel. It's just been noticeable, she's been absent here," Levesque said.
"Many people win Iowa and don't become president," he continued. "The fact is New Hampshire voters are fair and they take this seriously and if she competed here she would do well."
Levesque added, "Sometimes people say social conservatives won't do well in New Hampshire. Well, that's not true. Some people say someone with a Southern accent won't do well. That's not true either."
The problem seems to be Rick Perry. The Texas governor has sucked the oxygen out of a lot of the room—which Bachmann herself admitted —grabbing headlines and becoming the contest's frontrunner, completely eclipsing Bachmann's straw poll win. With his conservative bona fides and years of experience running one of the world's largest economies, he can appeal to both social and fiscal conservatives.
But not so fast, says longtime political strategist and current unaffiliated RNC committeeman Steve Duprey. He points out that Perry may not be a natural candidate in the state and Bachmann is "missing a tremendous opportunity."
"This is a state where you can campaign without spending a huge amount of money. It's where her very personal warm style would appeal to voters," Duprey, who also is a close friend of John McCain's and traveled with him throughout the 2008 contest, said. "I don't think this is a natural state for Gov. Perry, and I do think she would do well here."