WASHINGTON -- Rep. Michele Bachmann, a conservative sensation and briefly a Republican presidential front-runner, announced Wednesday that she won't seek reelection to her congressional seat in 2014.
The four-term Minnesota lawmaker told supporters in an online video that it was "the right decision" not to run again. She said it was not a reaction to the difficult challenge she may face to hold the seat, or to federal inquiries into her campaign finances and activities.
Bachmann, who won the 2011 Iowa straw poll and showed early strength in the leadoff caucus state before her presidential bid collapsed, did not foreclose a potential future run for national office.
"My future is full, it is limitless, and my passions for America will remain," she said.
[Updated, 8:00 a.m. May 29: For now, however, her decision comes as good news for Republicans, who will likely be in much better position to hold onto her congressional seat with someone else as the candidate, political analysts said. Minnesota’s 6th congressional district is the most conservative in the state, but Bachmann just barely won it last year. A less controversial Republican candidate could be expected to hold onto the district more easily.
Bachmann was the lead sponsor of legislation that the Republican-controlled House passed this month, and that will die in the Democratic-controlled Senate, to repeal President Obama's healthcare law. But otherwise she has cut a relatively low profile in the 113th Congress so far, possibly because of the challenge she might face in a reelection bid.
Jim Graves, a previously unknown Democrat who came within 5,000 votes of unseating Bachmann in November 2012, is running again. She was even running an initial campaign ad against him.
Bachmann also is facing investigations by the Federal Election Commission and the Office of Congressional Ethics related to her failed presidential run. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has reported that her former chief of staff would testify to an Iowa legislative panel that her campaign made improper payments to its state chairman there.
"It was clearly understood that compliance with all rules and regulations was an absolute necessity for my presidential campaign, and I have no reason to believe that that was not the case," she said in the video.
That video goes on for nearly nine minutes, with Bachmann making a full-throated defense of her conservative views. It could be an audition, of sorts, for a more lasting role as a spokeswoman for the tea party movement or as a paid media personality.
During the rest of her term, Bachmann said, "I will continue to work 100-hour weeks, and I will continue to do everything that I can to advance our conservative constitutional principles."
"I want you to be assured that there is no future option or opportunity … that I won't be giving serious consideration if it can help save and protect our great nation," she added.
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