Rep. Michele Bachmann, the tea party favorite from Minnesota who was recently dubbed the winner of “Real Time’s” 2013 Craziest Congressman contest by host Bill Maher, announced Wednesday that she will not seek re-election in 2014. That’s bad news for comedians everywhere, but good news for those of us who would like their congressional representatives to do things other than spew vitriolic rhetoric.
Bachmann’s news comes in the midst of an ethics investigation related to her failed 2012 presidential campaign, though she claims that had nothing to do with Wednesday’s move.
“I have decided next year I will not seek a fifth congressional term,” the polarizing conservative said in a video posted to her campaign website and Facebook page, adding “This decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign or my former presidential staff.”
Bachmann narrowly won re-election to her congressional seat in 2012, beating Democrat Jim Graves by just 4,200 votes despite greatly outspending him in the contest. Graves has indicated that he will run again for the seat next year, and a recent poll had suggested it likely would have been another close race.
Naturally, Bachmann claimed that also wasn’t why she wasn’t seeking another term. “My decision was not in any way influenced by any concerns about my being re-elected to Congress,” she said, claiming she would defeat Graves again if she were running—a moot point now of course since she’s not.
Bachmann didn’t cite a reason for retiring from the House, though she did say that the eight years total she spent there was enough for her. As NBC News pointed out, however, before her announcement Bachmann had begun campaigning for the seat a full 17 months before the election.
Watch her statement below:
In the wake of Bachmann’s announcement, Graves’ campaign released the following statement via email:
This serves to show that even Rep. Bachmann is hearing that Minnesota’s 6th is ready for a new, business-oriented approach. As recent polling indicates, our message is resonating with the people of the 6th District and she recognized that. She must also have recognized that it would be an uphill battle for her going forward. People are eager to be represented by a common-sense business person who understands the economy from the inside out.