FORTUNE -- Michele Bachmann officially announced her candidacy as a GOP presidential contender today with full Tea Party support, going head to head with Mitt Romney (R-MA) in the 2012 cycle and sparking what will likely be an epic fight to win the financial services industry's heart.
While Democrats can enjoy the madness and mayhem that will tear apart the Right, Bachmann may steal Wall Street support from Romney with her strong history advocating on behalf of the financial services industry.
Bachmann's congressional record shows she will aggressively sponsor bills to appease the rules-only-slow-us-down contingent -- even if there's no chance they'll make it out of committee.
According to Govtrack.us, a nonpartisan congressional research tool for the public, none of Bachmann's 38 sponsored bills have made it out of committee. One of her most recent sponsored bills was a straight pitch to Wall Street -- H.R. 87: To Repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The bill is currently with the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade.
Clearly, she's not afraid of the middle or even her right-leaning colleagues, who are poised to attack her as too 'radical' to lead the free world.
For his part, Romney will have some soul-searching to do – should he embrace his 2010 label as 'Wall Street's Best Friend,' or inch a little closer to the middle and forfeit his ties to the financial world? If he opts for the latter, Bachmann could start to chip away at his base.
While a gaggle of pundits deem her a latter day Sarah Palin (with the history chops to match), make no mistake, Bachmann could be a real threat to Romney. She has a knack for grassroots organization, and she can be a fundraising machine, as she proved in her 2009-2010 congressional race, where she far outpaced other Republican members of Congress and was heavily supported by banks and big business.
Her pro-Wall Street advocacy only makes her more appealing to Wall Street, and Romney -- though a businessman himself -- could very well lose his edge.
Financial pundits were for gridlock, until they were against it. Why? There's limited data, but historians think it might be the worst possible kind for the markets.
By Mina Kimes, writer
Gridlock has come to the Hill--but will it benefit stocks? Earlier in the summer, market pundits came out in favor of a split Congress, arguing that a disempowered government would leave business alone and eliminate regulatory uncertainty. In recent days, though, MORENov 3, 2010 1:12 PM ET
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