Presidential Bid Over, Bachmann Faces Big Decision

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Michele Bachmann’s decision to end her presidential campaign leaves the Minnesota Republican with another big one: whether to seek a fourth term in the U.S. House or direct her newfound political celebrity elsewhere.

Bachmann would be heavily favored to keep her seat in the Republican-leaning 6th District unless it’s significantly reshaped by redistricting early this year. But after months in the national spotlight of the presidential race, she could determine she’d be more influential in a different role.

“I don’t think she’ll run for re-election,” Kent Kaiser, a Minnesota GOP operative who supports Mitt Romney for president but remains a Bachmann fan, wrote in an email to The Associated Press. She could try instead for an appointment in a new Republican administration, he wrote, or consider a potentially lucrative spot on the speaking circuit.

Kaiser said Bachmann might try to model her path after the one taken by another tea party favorite Sarah Palin, who as John McCain’s running mate in 2008 was the first woman on a national GOP ticket. Palin, who weighed a 2012 presidential run herself, resigned as Alaska’s governor to join the speaking circuit and write a book.

“She must look at Palin and believe she could be even better in the media, as a kingmaker, and as a speaker,” Kaiser said.

Bachmann didn’t tip her hand about future political plans during her concession speech Wednesday in Des Moines but vowed to remain engaged in issues, especially in her opposition to changes in federal health care law.

“Make no mistake: I will continue to fight for our country,” she said.

Bachmann’s strength is considerable in her district, which starts in the suburbs east of St. Paul and loops north to St. Cloud. Though she spent much of the past half-year out of state on the presidential trail, no Republican or notable Democrat dared announce a campaign for her seat. In previous races, Bachmann raised piles of money and easily handled well-funded Democratic opponents; the woman Bachmann defeated in 2010 moved to another district to try her luck this year against a less formidable incumbent.

“It’s hard to see who would want to or be able to mount a serious challenge to her if she wants to run for re-election,” said Harry Niska, a Republican activist in the 6th District.

David FitzSimmons, chairman of the 6th District Republican Party, said Bachmann would be able to argue that she shifted the tone of the GOP presidential race to the right, particularly in her strong and repeated denunciations of President Obama’s health care overhaul.

“Because of her, that entire field had to go on the record on that issue, they had to fight over who would be the fastest to repeal Obamacare,” said Fitzsimmons. He said he does not know Bachmann’s plans but assumes she will run again.

Her deadline to file for reelection isn’t until June 5, though she’d likely get in sooner than that.

Bachmann’s presidential campaign did present Democrats with some political fodder, should they face her again. She often stressed her family roots in Iowa — she was born in Waterloo but moved with her family to Minnesota while still young — and in recent months, missed most congressional votes.

“I think she’s got some questions to answer back home,” said Bill Usher, chairman of the 6th District Democrats. “Like, you know, why did you basically ignore your district until you couldn’t anymore? She’s going to have to answer why running for Congress wasn’t that important until she had to bail out of the presidential race.”

Since declaring her candidacy June 13, Bachmann has missed 71 percent of key votes in the House, according to a database compiled by Project Vote Smart, a nonpartisan organization that compiles information on candidates and government officials. At times she went months between votes.

Still, even Usher acknowledged her formidability. “No matter what people think of her, she was a money machine. She raised record-breaking amounts for her last race.”

Bachmann and other potential candidates may wait to commit until after new congressional lines are drawn. The 6th District saw more population growth in the last decade than any other in Minnesota, meaning it could be redrawn in a way that makes it less favorable to Republicans. Minnesota Democrats have proposed a map that would throw Bachmann into the same district as six-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum. A state judicial panel will set the final map.

Republicans don’t have a strong challenger to U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, but that could be a treacherous race for Bachmann given Klobuchar’s popularity and Republican struggles in statewide races in recent years.

Bachmann might even decide to leave politics altogether for the speaking circuit or the gloss of TV or radio, where she could easily exceed her $174,000 annual congressional salary.

“There’s no question that this woman was made to be in the talk media world, either as a guest or as a host/commentator,” said Michael Harrison, publisher of the trade publication Talkers. He said she would be a major acquisition if she decided to go into talk radio or television.

It’s that, or put her fate once more into the hands of voters. In the St. Paul suburb of Woodbury, at the east end of her district, interviews with some of Bachmann’s constituents the day her campaign folded found that those who liked her still did. And those who didn’t still didn’t.

“She’s worn out her welcome,” said Todd Doeser, 42, a sales rep for a food company who has never voted for Bachmann. “She was more focused on running for president than she ever was on this job.”

But Debora Boyd, 48, a Herbalife distributor, called Bachmann “a good strong voice for conservatives” and said she hoped to see her run for re-election.

“It’s too bad they didn’t rally around her for president,” Boyd said. “But if she comes home, we’ll rally around her here.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • One for the other

    It is really no surprize that Rick Santorum came in 2nd to Mitt, but he is just a stand in for MB. Maybe even more conservative.

    One more reason to wonder about the people of Iowa.

    • The Facts

      I assure you, Santorum is far more dangerous than MB. Michele pandered, Rick actually believes his junk and wants to force his ideals on AMERICAN people. Thanks Iowans, you really did our country a favor. If your logic follows that line of thinking (gay rights allows for polygamy which allows for incest) you all need to get back to hog farming. No worries, Rick will be revealed.

      • mmmmmmmmmmm

        I bet she could take the microphone down like a corndog.

  • StraycatStrut

    Be interesting to see what she does. The country could use some encouragement now because of the goofy leadership and leading from behind we have now. Its worked so well.

    • Tom

      @ SteatcatStrut

      You are just as delusional as she is. If people like you think that she is great and smart Bachmann would haver done alot better than she did. She neither smart or great ! And for them to say she would be great in any post in GOP White House you have to remember that she wss put on the intelligence committe by John Boehner to keep the nutty Tea Party happy and she made a few gaffes and mentioned to incidents that were not supposed to be made public. The only people who will miss her would be the nutty social conservative base.

      • The mom

        Thank you. You said it well..

  • just sayin

    I am a republican, and even I think she didn’t have a chance. I thought she was just nuts.

  • TomK

    I can only repeat what I said yesterday, “The handwritng was on the wall a long timeago…..and she can’t read!” Now she can jut ‘retire’ on our dime and draw a pension with perks for life!!!! That’s right, folks. For six bloody years, she will get what the military must work 20 years for, or the police, or the fire dept. yeah, I guess conservative talk radio needs another ‘talking head’. But at least we can just ‘turn it off’. RE Santorum…….agreed, far more dangerous than MB

  • frozenrunner

    All along I have posted the reason to run for POTUS was to position herself for a lucrative career as a talking head. $10,000 or more a pop for babbling at groups, talking on Fox entertainment (News to the believers) is a far more lucrative gig than being a voted out of office representative, Why risk it. Than again this is Bachmann and why would common sense prevail?

    • Really, 'cause

      I think she’s delusional. I think this woman actually thought she could not only be president but also believed she was the BEST suited for the job. I don’t think she did it for speaking fees at all. She was in it to win it baby.

      • Always Loyal

        Why wouldn’t she be delusional? She has a head the size of a basketball because her few faithful wannabe suckup posers keep pumping her up because they think she’ll land something and they want a piece. WCCO has also kept her head filled with hot air!

        • KSR

          I think that basketball sized head is slightly deflated since her “very own Iowa” set her in last place. Then again, delusional people create their own realty so she may thump on, but who really cares anymore other than her own delusional self and WCCO.

  • Tom

    @ frozenrunner

    I don’t know if FOX NEWS will hire her now? She would just be replacing Palin and if they wanted to hear the same comments they would have kept Palin. And we know what Ailes thought of Palin after he fired her. And if FOX NEWS is really trying to move to the center Bachmann would not fit into that type of plan. Maybe she could talk on Faith based radio?

  • Murph

    In her next gig she will be modeling straight jackets someplace where the GOP can hide her away! Hopefully she’ll one day be let out into society once again.Maybe as a history professor or human rights expert or nuclear weapons inspector! OR… maybe she’ll just sit back and enjoy her welfare farm and raise goonie birds or nice quiet legless hamsters like the ones who beat her in the primary race!

    • My prediction

      The next headline we hear about MB will be when the bribe money wears off and some guy some where out there is going to come forward and announce his romantic relationship with MR. MB. Oh, Marcus, come out.

      • Charles


  • GOD

    Miicchheellee, Do not go back into politics. Take your cash and retire.

  • The Truth

    The reason nobody has announced their candidacy is because they were waiting to see when her failed presidency run would collapse. Make no mistake, the people of the 6th district saw her for what she was during this run, and I am confident that the right candidate can beat her.

    I’m sure she believes that too, so don’t expect her to run for reelection.

  • A Voter

    Maybe Zygi Wilf will give her a job as a Vikings cheerleader.

    • takeaknee

      Problem is she will never have anything to cheer about!!!

  • Newfound Celebrity?

    Maybe she can star in “The Biggest Loser”!

    • ann


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