Rep. Michele Bachmann will not run for re-election for Congress while she is campaigning for president. The Minnesota Republican said Tuesday in a press release that she has "suspended" her Congressional campaign, one day after announcing her long-expected White House bid during the GOP debate.
If Bachmann fails to do well in the early GOP primary contests in the first months of 2012, she would have plenty of time to jump back into the race for her seat in the North Star State’s 6th district. A spokeswoman for the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office told Roll Call that the filing period for Congressional candidates ends June 5, 2012.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is the only other House Member seeking the presidency. It is rare for a politician to look at a White House run while keeping their options open. In 2008, then-Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) said he would be retiring from his seat regardless of his performance in the GOP presidential primary. However, there have been exceptions on the Senate side. Both vice presidential nominees Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Joseph Biden (D-Del.) won re-election to their respective Senate seats the years that they were on the presidential ticket.
Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Tony Sutton said he wouldn’t be too hasty in considering Bachmann’s district an open seat.
“I respect the fact the Congresswoman Bachmann is running for president, but I think it would be premature, until we see how the presidential campaign goes,” he said Tuesday in an interview. “She may, depending on how things go, decide she wants to run for Congress, if things don’t go as she plans.”
Sutton said there were a number of people who might be interested in running for the seat. He said the list of GOP politicians living in the district is long: Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, Senate President Michelle Fischbach, 2010 Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer and Anoka County Board Chairwoman Rhonda Sivarajah.
A court is very likely to redraw the state’s Congressional districts since a map passed by the Republican Legislature was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton (D). Minnesota insiders say that process will be complete by next February.
A recent Gallup poll showed Bachmann with 62 percent name identification among Republican voters across the U.S.