Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bachmann is back

I admit I was mildly surprised by this bit of news.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota congresswoman who dropped a bid for the GOP presidential nomination in January, will run for re-election to Congress in 2012, her campaign said Wednesday.

Bachmann's political future had been in question ever since she announced she was suspending her presidential campaign on January 4, the day after finishing sixth in the Iowa caucuses. Bachmann has represented Minnesota's sixth district since 2007, but gained an outsized profile in the last three years for her vocal support of the tea party movement and her presidential bid.

Bachmann's campaign spokesman, Guy Short, confirmed Wednesday she would seek reelection for her seat, noting there were "more details to come" on her official announcement.

As a resident Congressional District Six, I am thrilled that Bachmann is jumping into the race. She has been a strong and consistent voice for fiscal sanity, something that is sorely needed these days.

I said at the outset that I was mildly surprised by this, and there are a couple of reasons for that reaction. First, Bachmann gained significant national chops by being the GOP Presidential frontrunner during the Summer. As such, I wasn't certain she could humble herself and come back to CD6 after gaining such prominence on the national political stage only to fade after winning the Ames, IA straw poll. And since redistricting has yet to be finalized, there is some question as to whether her residence in Stillwater will even remain in the sixth.

The other aspect had to do with the 2010 election cycle, when Bachmann's detractors beat her over the head with the charge that she was frequently absent from her district, a criticism that was largely unfounded. However, there's no denying such a charge this time around as she spent ample time in 2011 on the Presidential campaign trail. Not to mention the fact she continually pointed out how proud she was to be an Iowan, having lived in the Waterloo area until she was thirteen. That's probably not the best method to galvanize support from your constituents in Minnesota.

Having said all that, Bachmann will have a significant advantage in fundraising over any Democrat opponent given that she did attain a national following while running for President. Combine that with the fact the she was one of the few GOP bright spots in the 2006 & 2008 elections (and won by her widest margin in 2010), it's pretty much a certainty that leftist PACs are not even going to bother targeting this district. My guess is the political demographics haven't changed that dramatically over the past couple of years in CD6, making it even more of a daunting task for a DFLer to knock off such a strong incumbent as Bachmann.

Now if Michele can just steer clear of the verbal missteps......


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