Rep. Bachmann says she won't run for re-election
By LOU KESTEN
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, a conservative firebrand and a favorite of tea party Republicans, said Wednesday she will not run for another term in the U.S. House.
Bachmann, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination last year, announced her decision in a video on her website.
"My decision was not influenced by any concerns about my being re-elected," Bachmann said. She narrowly won a fourth term in 2012 over Democrat Jim Graves, a hotel chain founder who is running again in 2014.
Bachmann also said, "This decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign." In January, a former Bachmann aide filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, claiming the candidate made improper payments to an Iowa state senator who was the state chairman of her 2012 presidential run. The aide, Peter Waldron, also accused Bachmann of other FEC violations.
Bachmann had given few clues she was considering leaving Congress. Her fundraising operation was churning out the regular pitches for the small-dollar donations that Bachmann corralled so well over the years, and she had an ad running on Twin Cities television talking about her role in opposing President Barack Obama's health law.
Without the polarizing Bachmann on the ticket, Republicans could have an easier time holding a district that leans more heavily in the GOP direction than any other in Minnesota.
Graves said he thought Bachmann had "read the tea leaves."
"The district is changing," the Democrat said in an interview Wednesday with KARE-TV in Minneapolis. "They want somebody who really does have some business background and understands the economy and can get things done in Washington and back in the district."
Bachmann, a vocal opponent of the Obama administration, promised her supporters, "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."
As for her plans beyond Congress, she said, "There is no future option or opportunity, be it directly in the political arena or otherwise, that I won't be giving serious consideration if it can help save and protect our great nation."
A spokesman said Bachmann would not be available for interviews Wednesday.
Associated Press writer Brian Bakst in St. Paul, Minn., contributed to this report.