U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-MN, said Wednesday morning she will not seek re-election in 2014. Bachmann made the announcement on a video on her campaign website:
Bachmann narrowly defeated Democrat Jim Graves last year, but she said that was not a factor in her announcement.
”My decision was not influenced by any concerns about my being re-elected,” Bachmann said.
Graves announced last month he will run again in 2014. The hotel chain founder has a personal fortune and has also gained the backing of national Democrats.
Bachmann has also been hounded by investigations related to her failed 2012 presidential campaign.
The Iowa state Senate Ethics Committee has been looking into whether she made improper payments to an Iowa state senator who was the state chairman of her campaign. The Congressional ethics office has also been looking into allegations and even the FBI has reportedly been asking questions.
Bachmann has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, and in her statement Wednesday she said the allegations did not lead to her announcement.
“This decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign,” she said.
Bachmann first won election to Congress in 2006. Before that she served in the Minnesota Senate, where she successfully fought national education standards and supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
In Congress she developed a national following propelled by frequent appearances on cable TV news shows and raised millions for her campaign from donors across the country.
She spoke out against the federal health care law known as Obamacare and headed the House Tea Party caucus.
Her career has also been marked by controversial statements that were often found to be factually incorrect. She was widely criticized when she said after a presidential debate that mental retardation may be linked to immunizations. In the 2008 campaign she suggested in a cable TV interview that members of Congress should be investigated for anti–American views.
Bachmann did not say what she will do after she leaves office, but said she would remain active for the rest of her term.
“I will continue to work overtime for the next 18 months in Congress defending the same Constitutional Conservative values we have worked so hard on together.”
Some politicians are weighing in as well.
Minnesota DFL Party Chair Ken Martin issued this statement:
“Minnesota’s long national embarrassment is coming to an end. When you think of some of the national leaders we have sent to Washington D.C. from Minnesota – people like Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Gene McCarthy, Orville Freeman, and others – it was such a tragedy that our state was represented by someone like Michelle Bachmann who was so out of the mainstream of even her conservative-leaning district.
“While serving close to eight years in Congress, Michele Bachmann’s legislative accomplishments are slim-to-none. For years Bachmann made national headlines not for her efforts to serve Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, but rather as the spokesperson for the extreme far-right and as a leader of the Tea Party. Michele Bachmann spent her time in Congress advancing her own political ambition at the expense of the people she was elected to represent.
“After a tough campaign battle last year that she won by just 4,200 votes Congresswoman Michele Bachmann knew that her political future was in deep jeopardy. Her misstatements, recent ethics and legal issues, and very unfavorable public opinion clearly made this an easy decision for Michele Bachmann.
“The DFL will work hard in the coming weeks and months ahead to make sure that the next Congressperson from the 6th Congressional District is someone who will work hard for Minnesota, not seek the national spotlight for personal gain.”
National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-OR, also issued a statement:
“Since her election to Congress in 2006, Michele has been a tireless advocate and dedicated Representative for the people of Minnesota’s Sixth District. Michele was the first Republican woman elected to represent Minnesota in the U.S. House of Representatives, and she has worked hard each day to ensure that her constituents’ voices are heard in the halls of Congress.
“As a member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Financial Services Committee, Michele has devoted herself to keeping our country safe and has fought for fiscal responsibility in Washington.
“As Michele, Marcus and their children head into the next chapter of their lives, I wish them all the best and thank Michele for her service in Congress.”