Michele Bachmann will not seek re-election
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, whose short-lived presidential campaign energized the right during the summer of 2011 only to fall short by the time the primaries rolled around, announced on her campaign website that she would not run for re-election in 2014.
Bachmann was targeted by numerous outside liberal groups for defeat next year, although she claims in her announcement that she could have won and that inquiries into her ethics by congress and the FEC played no role in her decision.
Making her announcement in a video posted to her campaign website early Wednesday, Bachmann stressed she had no plans to fade from public view.
"Looking forward, after the completion of my term, my future is full, it is limitless, and my passions for America will remain," she announced.
Bachmann, who's in her fourth term representing Minnesota's 6th District, promised that there "is no future option or opportunity" that she "won't be giving serious consideration if it can help save and protect our great nation for future generations."
Bachmann staved off a tougher-than-expected challenge for her seat last November against Democrat Jim Graves, winning re-election by just under 5,000 votes. Graves has announced he will seek the seat again in 2014.
In her video announcement, Bachmann said her decision was not influenced by any concerns about winning reelection.
"I've always, in the past, defeated candidates who were capable, qualified, and well-funded. And I have every confidence that if I ran, I would again defeat the individual who I defeated last year, who recently announced that he is once again running," Bachmann said.
Nor was her decision based on any concerns over an ongoing congressional ethics inquiry into the improper transfer of campaign funds, Bachmann said in her video. She is also facing a Federal Election Commission complaint about her former presidential campaign.
"This decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign or my former presidential staff," she said. "It was clearly understood that compliance with all rules and regulations was an absolute necessity for my presidential campaign. And I have no reason to believe that that was not the case."
Could she have won? In a very Republican year, she would have had a good chance. But Graves was going to receive massive assistance from a dozen or more outside liberal groups and Bachmann would have been swimming upstream the entire campaign. Perhaps the prospect of a long, brutal campaign deterred her from running.
Or maybe someone on the ethics committee slipped her the word that the determination of her case would probably be unfavorable. In a close congressional race, even a mild rebuke on ethics could have given Graves the victory.
In fact, we don't know why she isn't running because she didn't say. What seems clear is that a race for governor or senator is not out of the question - or even another try for the presidency.
She will no doubt be a popular dinner speaker on the GOP circuit so making a living won't be a problem. And although her profile will be reduced, count on Bachmann to continue to make headlines with controversial statements that will remind people she's still around and kicking.
The Republican party has not heard the last of Michele Bachmann.