Why Michele Bachmann couldn’t run in the 4th

There’s plenty of analysis coming elsewhere on the website about the new congressional district maps, but the story is the east metro pairing of Michele Bachmann and Betty McCollum. And here’s a quick snapshot of why Bachmann apparently has no intention of running against McCollum.

In the redistricting, Bachmann lost her most ardent supporters, who are now in the “new” Sixth.

Here’s the “new 4th” that pits Bachmann vs. McCollum:


Check out the results from the 2010 House races in the east metro in which Bachmann defeated Taryl Clark. The deeper the shade of red or blue, the stronger the support for the Republican or Democrat, respectively. While still leaning Republican, it’s never really warmed to Mrs. Bachmann.


Assuming McCollum maintains her support in Saint Paul and the inner ring, Bachmann would have had to significantly increase her support in the suburbs east of Saint Paul to have a shot at unseating the DFLer.

It’s not that kind of GOP turf. Communities like Woodbury and other Washington County cities voted for Barack Obama in 2008, even while supporting a much-more-moderate-than-Bachmann Norm Coleman in the U.S. Senate race. Meanwhile, Bachmann’s “old” district gave McCain the strongest showing he had in Minnesota.

But while supporting Coleman in that election, Bachmann’s new “stronghold” didn’t support Bachmann:


2006 wasn’t much better…


It’s not impossible for a Republican to win in the 4th, but the Republican strength in the district is more of the Jim Ramstad mold than the Michele Bachmann model.

Meanwhile, the “new 6th” appears to be as safe a Republican district as exists in most places in the country. It likely won’t care if the person holding the seat actually lives in the district. Any parochial issues have played second-fiddle to national conservative ideals for years.

  • Disco

    Perhaps a dumb question, but are candidates required to live in the district in which they’re running?

    Also, I would agree with your assessment here. It’s just gotten much tougher for Bachmann. What we really need is a cartogram of the new 4th CD that scales precincts based on population. That would make those maps more accurate and even more daunting for Bachmann.

  • Pat McGee

    I suppose I have to be patient but I am dying to find out if I am in the “new” 6th or somewhere else. What I really want to know if I am rid of Bachmann of my representative w/o my having to move. If so, there’s champagne at my house tonight.

  • Joseph

    I am not quite understanding the residency requirement.

    MinnPost is stating: “Congress does not have residency requirements (you only need to live in the state you plan to represent in Congress, not the specific district)”.


    And the Strib is stating: “While congressional candidates need not live in the district they run to represent, state legislative candidates much reside in the district they want to represent for at least six months before the November 6 Election Day.”


    So…what are the residency requirements? Help, Bob! I promise not to look at other local news sites again!

  • JackU

    This was why I was surprised to hear that Bachmann was definitely seeking reelection this year. All along the possibility of her section of Washington county becoming part of the 4th district has seemed a high probability outcome. Now that it’s a reality I would think she might reconsider her options.

  • Members of the US House of Representatives are NOT required to live in the districts they represent. The requirements are:

    -must be 25 years of age at the time of the election

    -reside in the state that they represent

    -citizen for 7 years

  • Garrett

    Members of the state legislature must live in the district in which they represent.

    Members of Congress, however, do NOT need to live in the district which they represent. Michele Bachmann could run in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th, without moving.

  • Bob Collins

    It’s that Constitution again!

    It specifically says only that the Congresspeople must reside in the state being represented.

    In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the qualifications were intended to prevent states from enacting any power over federal representation. They did so in striking down the idea of term limits. But that’s also what upheld the literacy of the qualifications.

    After that, Appeals Courts struck down residency requirements in states that attempted to enact them.

    There are a few congresspeople who don’t live in the district they represent — the Mahoney guy in Florida comes to mind.

    MinnPost? Strib? Geez, Joseph. :*)

  • Kate

    I, like Pat, have been anxiously awaiting this process to see if Mrs. Bachmann is in or out of my area. Looking forward to seeing the whole map and all of the implications for Minnesota – including this race and our legislative contacts!

  • Sara

    Joseph, the 6 months was for state reps and senators not US Congressional Districts. So, you saw it, but it was for the state houses.

  • Jim Shapiro

    “How the mighty have fallen!” 2 Samuel 1:19

  • Bob Collins

    She hasn’t fallen, Jim. She’s running in her old district, which no longer has the voters who were most likely to vote against her. She’s pretty a close to shoe-in in that district now.

  • Joseph

    Ahhh, I read “congressional” and “state” as interchangeable. Ouch. Thanks for your help.

    This whole thing adds further complexity to the 6th district’s issue of representation. Previously, Rep Bachmann resided in the 6th but did little to represent it. Now she wants to continue “representing” the 6th without residing in it.

  • David Poretti

    And here I thought Michele Bachmann had delared herself to be an Iowa girl! Silly me!

  • Jim Shapiro

    OK. Oh how the mighty have resurrected! ( I guess that’ll teach me to read beyond the headline before making a comment, huh?)

  • nltr

    omg! i live just a sliver past the new 4th district line and that means i will have to vote in the 6th district again. judging from what i have heard, bachmann is planning to run again in the 6th district. i have been working to rid our district of that woman since she ran for our school board!!! it has been frustrating since she replaced jane krentz in the minnesota senate, back when there was another bit of gerrymandering. for many of us in this district, there has been no one to go to at any level of government, other than the u.s. senate, with concerns and very legitimate representation concerns. it is bad enough when the majority of people living in this southern part of district 6 have no real representation – it will be even worse when you think she can be living in a district not her own! one good thing i can think of: she maybe could keep her hands off the stillwater bridge politics – except that she is a stake holder in whether that mega bridge goes through and so are her wealthy real-estate developer friends across the river. ooooh, what a tangled and ugly web this weaves!

  • Bob Moffitt

    Looks like I’m still in the 6th, and Ms. B will likely continue to represent me in Congress — unless there is a surprise brewing in November.

    That said, I am eager to see how the local (MN House and Senate) maps work out for me know.

  • BJ

    I bet that she moves into the 6th even though it is not required. One less issue to run against. Say what you will she can campaign.

  • Bob Moffitt

    My MN Senate district has new lines and a new number, but the same incumbant.

    Whole new ball game in the MN House. I’m in a brand new district. My old Rep. is someone else’s problem now.

  • You are comparing results from two pro-Democrat wave elections. You know that, right?

    Bachmann would likely have a stronger showing than Norm or Mac did in the newly-added parts of the 4th.

    But rumor has it she’s already made the call, and will relocated to the 6th, where she’s going to win by a John Kline-like margin this fall.

  • Bob Collins

    // from two pro-Democrat wave elections.

    2010 was hardly a pro-Democrat wave

    //But rumor has it she’s already made the call

    That wasn’t even a rumor when I wrote this. She had already confirmed.

    Anyway, there just isn’t enough red in the district to make up for St. Paul and the inner ring. It would’ve been very, very tough for her to win. I know you know that b/c you accurately assessed her situation in the 6th . :*).

  • Newcraft

    I think this all presumes that there isn’t going to be a change even among her past supporters. It hinges on who decides to run the DFL side, but I think there are more people whose eyes were opened and who are thinking twice about putting Bachmann back. The “I’m an Iowan” rhetoric, the factual errors on t.v., being consistently absent from the district – I’m interested to see if these maps are as accurate this year as they were a year ago.

  • Colleen Rowley, run in the Sixth.

    Draft Colleen.

    She has integrity and has NOT spent her entire past year in Iowa.

  • Bikerr

    Michele will win. Let’s hope Betty will lose then all will be right with the world.

  • homac

    I have a dream – the wife of Marcus Bachmann is safely swiftboated back to her kinder, gentler Waterloo home.

  • salpaulsen

    “Why MB couldn’t run in CD 4 against McCollum” – This article could have been summed up in three words: Bachmann would lose.