Bachmann’s Departure is Big Win for GOP

Posted on June 5, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

By James Scott

bachmannYou probably know by now that one of Washington’s best-known Republican brands, Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, has decided to leave Congress. This is good news for the GOP.

Bachmann announced last week that she would not seek reelection to the House seat she has held since 2007. No, she said, it wasn’t that her reelection chances were dim, or the investigations into her failed 2012 presidential bid or the chill directed her way by mainstream Republican leadership in the House.

Why is she bailing? Well, she didn’t actually offer an explanation other than to say she is more worried than ever about the trajectory America is on and that she would be seeking new ways to try to alter it.

“There is no future option or opportunity … that I wouldn’t be giving serious consideration if it can help save and protect our great nation,” she said in an 8-minute video.

Incumbency notwithstanding, Bachmann’s departure actually makes it more likely that the GOP will hold on to her seat in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District.

How vulnerable was Bachmann in her conservative district? Well, her Democratic opponent felt his chances were diminished, if not crushed, without Bachmann in the race.

Jim Graves, the St. Cloud businessman who nearly knock Bachmann off in 2012, had already announced he was making another bid for the seat. But when Bachmann said she was out, Graves suspended his campaign knowing that virtually any other Republican candidate would be a lock to win the seat.

It may have been the same sharp rhetoric that made her a favorite on conservative cable television that caused her undoing.

Meanwhile, Bachmann’s legal problems are growing. Charges that her 2012 presidential campaign violated spending laws are currently under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics, the Federal Election Commission, the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee and the FBI.

But it’s not like Bachmann’s departure means the Tea Party will find itself without a voice in the House. No, in fact you should expect to see at least a few conservatives upping the volume in bids to replace Bachmann as the congressional face of the Tea Party movement.

The experts at the Capitol Hill newspaper “Roll Call” have identified four worthy successors to Bachmann’s Tea Party leadership of the Tea Party Caucus:  Reps. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Steve King of Iowa, and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas.

Even if she were to get reelected, Bachmann’s upward mobility in the House was severely restricted like that of many Tea Party favorites who have failed to support the GOP’s leadership on numerous key issues.

And the GOP has probably gotten pretty tired of seeing itself linked to Bachmann’s controversial opinions and her unusual rhetoric that made her a favorite target for ridicule on late night television.

When she announced that she would not seek reelection, House Speaker John Boehner of Indiana issued this statement on Twitter: “Thanks @MicheleBachmann for your years of service. A courageous voice for freedom in the people’s House.”

He might have just as well ended it with “thanks @MicheleBachmann.”

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at


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