Former Michele Bachmann Iowa chairman Kent Sorenson said the Ron Paul campaign didn't offer him any money to join up with them, despite the Minnesota congresswoman's claims that Sorenson was paid to jump ship.
Sorenson, an Iowa state senator, announced Wednesday he would be supporting the Texas congressman just hours after appearing with Bachmann at a campaign stop. In a statement, Bachmann said Sorenson made the switch after "he was offered a large sum of money to go to work for the Paul campaign" and said he personally told her, "everyone sells out in Iowa, why shouldn’t I."
Sorenson hit back at Bachmann Thursday, telling Fox News' Megyn Kelly in a somewhat contentious interview that the Paul campaign never offered him any money.
"Boy you know how to cause a controversy, don't you sir?" Kelly said.
"That was not my intention but I believe you have to do what's right," he replied.
When Kelly said Sorenson has been accused of disloyalty, he charged back, "I think you have your facts a little wrong there."
As Sorenson detailed how the people running Paul's campaign had come to his aid in 2008, Kelly cut in: "I don't want to get too deep in the weeds here on Iowa politics because frankly our viewers don't really care that much about your re-election battle, with all due respect."
"With all due respect you asked me a question and I'm going to answer that question," Sorenson said. "We're at a time when we're seeing a frugal socialist like Mitt Romney and a conservative like Ron Paul in the top tier of this race, and I believe that I had to make a tough choice. It was painful for me to make and I believe I made the right choice."
Sorenson said he had been speaking with the Bachmann camp in February before Paul got into the race, and before he joined up with her he called Paul to see if he would be making a bid. He said when two weeks went by and he didn't get an answer from Paul, he joined up with Bachmann.
When Kelly asked whether Sorenson thinks Bachmann is making up the claim that he was paid to jump ship, Sorenson said yes.
"Unfortunately I believe she is. That conversation did not happen," he said. "I was never offered a nickel from the Ron Paul campaign."
But Bachmann doubled down on those accusations hours later during a phone interview on Fox News' "Your World with Neil Cavuto," recounting the phone conversation she said she had with Sorenson.
"He said he was sorry for putting us in this situation, that he had been offered money – a lot of money – by the Ron Paul campaign, he said he was tempted because he said, ‘Everyone else has pulled out in Iowa, why wouldn’t I?’ But he said, ‘I’m not going to do it; it would be the wrong thing.’”
The next day, Bachmann said, he joined her for the campaign event in Indianola, Iowa and insisted he was still on board. Hours later, he appeared at a Paul rally and announced he was endorsing him.
The Paul campaign has denied offering Sorenson any money for his endorsement.