CONCORD, N.H. -- Following a weekend of New Hampshire staff departures and controversy, Michele Bachmann made it official that she is running in the first-in-the nation primary. However, unlike most other candidates, she skipped the tradition of registering in person and instead filed by mail. Her paperwork and $1,000 check arrived this morning via express mail. Her filing is officially complete, Secretary of State Bill Gardner told NBC News this morning.
According to Gardner, 26 candidates have registered in total thus far for the primary -- 21 Republicans and five Democrats. The most Republicans ever to run in a Granite State primary was in 1992 with 25. With Texas Gov. Rick Perry filing Friday at noon and probably other lesser-known candidates yet to register, 2012 could be a record-breaking year for the GOP.
The only publicly declared candidate the Secretary of State's office has not yet heard from is former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who put out a media advisory saying he is campaigning in Arizona, Oct. 27-29. So, unless he files today in person or this week by mail, his name will not appear on the New Hampshire ballot. The deadline is Friday.