Bachmann campaigns in Iowa. (AP Photo)
With MPR’s Brett Neely.
Rep.Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., announced today she’s running for re-election to Congress after ending her presidential bid earlier this month. The announcement ends weeks of speculation that Bachmann might leave Congress after her term ends.
Bachmann ended her presidential bid earlier this month after a fifth place finish in the Iowa Caucus. After the defeat, there was speculation that she might leave Congress when her term ends. Bachmann told reporters today that she plans to focus on her work in the House of Representatives.
“I laid everything on the line in the last election because I saw how severe this spending crisis is in the United States,” Bachmann said. “This debt crisis, it’s impacting national security. I think people recognize that I’m an extremely hard worker and that I’ve represented their values.”
When asked if she would seek a leadership position among House Republicans, she said no.
“I’m more concerned about the issues,” Bachmann said. “I’m more concerned about turning the economy around and protecting the safety of the American people than I am about a leadership position.”
But Bachmann does face hurdles – she’s lost some key staffers, her campaign coffers are likely close to empty and a recent statewide poll suggests that Minnesota voters have developed a negative impression of her.
Another factor is what her congressional district might look like. A court panel is scheduled to release a new set of political boundaries next month as a result of the once a decade redistricting process. Bachmann currently represents the 6th District which will see significant changes because of its fast growing population.
(Listen to what Bachmann said to reporters this morning: )
DFL Party Chair Ken Martin issued a statement criticizing Bachmann.
“Rep. Michele Bachmann has done absolutely nothing for the people of Minnesota’s Sixth District in the last year. Since September 2011, she has missed over 90 percent of the votes in Congress.
Instead, she was flying around the country and catering to her Tea Party friends as part of her failed bid for president. The American people have overwhelmingly rejected her extreme right wing agenda, and the people of Minnesota have shown the same dissatisfaction.
It is time for Michele Bachmann to put her Tea Party initiatives aside and finally start working for the people of her district.
Recent poll numbers show a record high disapproval rating for Representative Bachmann because her right wing agenda, radical policies and extreme rhetoric are not what Americans or Minnesotans want. The poll numbers are clear, almost 60 percent of Minnesotans say Bachmann should not run for re-election.”
National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) issued a statement praising Bachmann for her decision to run again.
“Michele Bachmann is a powerful conservative voice in America, and I am very pleased that she has chosen to run for re-election to the House of Representatives in 2012. Michele is a dedicated public servant who will continue standing up for the Constitution and free enterprise principles on behalf of hard-working Minnesota families.
Michele understands that the greatness of America lies in the freedom and opportunity of its people – not the size of its government. I applaud her tireless fight to repeal ObamaCare and reduce the size and cost of government so that Americans can create their own prosperity. I join House Republicans in welcoming Michele’s continued service in Congress and look forward to working with her in the years ahead.”
Bachmann’s decision brings some certainty to a Republican Party that has been speculating about her future. She could help deliver votes for state and federal candidates in 2012, since she has worked to elect them in past election cycles. She is also heavily supported by Christian conservatives and could help deliver votes for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Update: Minnesota Republican Party Chair Pat Shortridge issued this statement on Bachmann’s decision:
“Congresswoman Bachmann has worked extremely hard on behalf of Republican principles for the past three terms in Congress. She continues to fight for limited, Constitutional government, personal freedom, traditional values, and a strong and secure America. We are thankful to have her on our side and confident in what she will continue to accomplish on our behalf in Washington,” said MNGOP Chairman Pat Shortridge.