ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann is formally backing GOP candidate Tom Emmer to succeed her in Congress as an expected primary awaits that Minnesota race.

Bachmann and other Republican officials stood with Emmer at a Tuesday news conference where they pledged to defend the party endorsement the former legislator won last weekend. Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah and former Rep. Phil Krinkie plan to challenge Emmer in an August primary.

The winner will have the upper hand in November because the 6th Congressional District is the state’s most conservative.

Bachmann calls Emmer “so reflective of the district.” She says she won’t hesitate to use her vast fundraising network and other means to promote him. Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey says Emmer can expect every “capability and muscle” the party can provide.

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