ST. PAUL, Minn. - Almost every Sunday this summer, Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has appeared before an Iowa church congregation, a setting aimed at cultivating support from evangelical voters.
But the Minnesota congresswoman may soon find herself in a more hotly contested spiritual primary. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is joining the 2012 GOP race, and he's every bit as outward with his devotion as Bachmann.
Last weekend, Perry prayed before 30,000 people in Houston. The night before, Bachmann released a list of more than 100 Iowa pastors and spiritual leaders behind her candidacy.
It's a new dynamic for Bachmann, who has naturally gained evangelical support in previous political races. Evangelical voters typically hold influence in Iowa and South Carolina, two early states in the nominating phase.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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