Michele Bachmann announced on Wednesday that she won’t run for re-election in 2014, and today her chief political rival Jim Graves has dropped out of contention too.
Graves was gearing up to run against Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, after narrowly losing to her in 2012. But today he announced that his campaign is suspended indefinitely, which means that he is bailing.
The Democrat claims that he has accomplished his mission of getting Bachmann out of Congress, but there is probably more practical considerations. The district is considered a Republican stronghold which GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney won by 15 points. A less-polarizing Republican without Bachmann’s baggage is very likely to win the general election in November 2014.
According to Graves, “There’s no way anyone could run and win who would be worse than Michele Bachmann.” A Bachmann spokesman fired back that Graves “exposed himself as a pathetic fraud who never cared about serving the people of Minnesota. The only mission Jim Graves accomplished was wasting $500,000 of his own money on a race that he lost once and he would have lost again.”
In her YouTube retirement message on Wednesday, Bachmann didn’t give an exact reason for her decision, but noted that eight-years of service was more than enough. Graves made an interesting observation about Bachmann’s surprise retirement announcement, however. “All through Memorial Day weekend, she was in the district, working the crowds. Obviously something happened to cause her to believe that she shouldn’t run again. We’re very happy she dropped out. The country can do better.”
Potential GOP candidates for Bachmann’s House seat include former state Rep. Tom Emmer, State Rep. Peggy Scott, Former state Rep. Phil Krinkie, Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah, State Rep. Linda Runbeck, State Sen. Michelle Benson, State Sen. Michelle Fischbach, and Former Minnesota Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer. Before today’s announcement, there were no Democrats waiting in the wings because it was assumed that Graves was running.
Bachmann, a Tea Party favorite and outspoken Obamacare opponent, made some outlandish claims while running for president in 2012, but the mainstream media tends to demonize any attractive, pro-life female Republican who develops a sizable national following. In bad news for the Bachmann haters, high-profile politicians always find a way to stay in the limelight even after leaving office, too, and Bachmann will no doubt find her megaphone.
Michelle Bachmann and her husband have five children and have also helped raise 23 foster children.
Bachmann’s campaign committee today agreed to pay an $8,000 civil fine to the Federal Election Commission for campaign finance violations in 2010.