A former tax lawyer has emerged as a dark horse in the race for the Republican nomination for President.
Michele Bachmann, a Congresswoman from Minnesota, performed strongly in a televised debate on American television on Monday night (13 June) that featured seven confirmed Republican nominees for President.
A darling of the conservative Tea Party movement, many pundits said Bachmann and the current front-runner for the Republican nomination, the former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, were the strongest performing candidates in the debate in New Hampshire, which also included the former House of Representatives Speaker, Newt Gingrich.
Bachmann was the first Republican woman to be elected to the US House of representatives from Minnesota in 2006. She has long been an advocate for tax reform, having worked as a federal tax litigation attorney for five years before she was elected to the Minnesota State Senate in 2000.
She describes herself as a champion of free markets and in July 2010, hosted the first Tea Party Caucus meeting.
She has courted controversy over the course of her political career, regularly speaking out as a climate change skeptic and criticising President Obama's healthcare reforms.
Bachmann is also a leading advocate of foster care, having taken in 23 foster children in addition to raising her five biological children.