Michele Bachmann made it official on Monday night -- she’s running -- and although Rick Perry has yet to do so, he seems headed in that direction, saying in an interview yesterday that he’s “giving it serious thought.”

What the Minnesota GOP congresswoman and the Republican governor of Texas have in common is that their candidacies -- real and potential -- have been sending shockwaves through the party and the rest of the 2012 field.

In many ways a Perry candidacy is a no-brainer. He fills the Tea Party niche well. He'd be the most prominent southerner in the contest. He doesn't have to give up his current job to run. He's got a good story to tell about the Texas economy. And his potential weaknesses aren't disqualifying. Top questions for Perry include whether he'd be able to raise the money and whether he can build organizations in the early states from scratch.