Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - One of Michele Bachmann's most high-profile advisers in Iowa announced Wednesday he is pulling his support away from the Republican presidential candidate.
Instead, Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson announced at a Ron Paul rally that he now supports the Texas congressman. Sorenson - who had been frequently seen by Bachmann's side and who had frequently spoken in her defense - appeared to surprise the crowd of a few hundred Paul supporters with his announcement.
"Tonight's a little tough for me; I've been serving as Michele Bachmann's state chair for the last year," Sorenson said. "And while Michele has fought tremendously for my conservative values, I believe we're at a turning point in this campaign. I believe that we have an opportunity to elect a conservative, someone who holds our values dear."
"While the Republican establishment is going to be coming against him over the next several days, I thought it was my duty to come to his aid," Sorenson continued.
"It's difficult, but it's the right thing to do. Because he fights for the values that I hold dear as well. And I just want to tell you guys I'm going to do everything in the next few days to help in Iowa and beyond. And we're going to take Ron Paul all the way to the White House 2012."
Adding to the dramatic surprise is that Sorenson appeared with Bachmann at a campaign event in Indianola, Iowa, just a few hours before he announced he would support Paul.
Responding to the developments, Bachmann released a statement saying the switch “was a deliberate move by the Ron Paul campaign to discredit our campaign and our growing momentum,”
She continued, “Ron Paul is in trouble in Iowa and his campaign is worried about people learning about his dangerous stance on foreign policy and how he will make America less safe.”
Bachmann also accused Sorenson of changing teams for money.
"Kent Sorenson personally told me he was offered a large sum of money to go to work for the Paul campaign,” Bachmann wrote. “Kent campaigned with us earlier this afternoon and went immediately afterward to a Ron Paul event and announced he is changing teams. Kent said to me yesterday that 'everyone sells out in Iowa, why shouldn't I,' then he told me he would stay with our campaign. The Ron Paul campaign has to answer for its actions.”
Sorenson flatly denied Bachmann’s allegations Wednesday.
Paul and Bachmann are locked in a tight race for votes six days before Iowa's first-in-the-nation presidential caucus.