Michele Bachmann is done. The outspoken conservative lawmaker will not seek a fifth term for the 6th district of Minnesota. She announced that she’ll be stepping down from her post, after this two-year cycle, in an 8 minute gauze-filtered YouTube video early, Wednesday morning.
Some speculated that her departure is related to the current investigations by the Federal Election Commission into her 2012 presidential campaign, as well as the investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics and the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee, regarding allegations that the same campaign hid payments to an Iowa state senator who worked for the campaign. She has denied any such causality even suggesting she would win re-election and beat Jim Graves who came within a point of beating her in 2012.
In the wake of Bachmann’s move, Mr. Graves himself has decided to suspend his campaign for the district’s house seat. “Basically, after all that’s gone on, and with Michele Bachmann now stepping down, I’ve been talking to my friends and family and frankly, the feeling is, ‘Mission Accomplished,’” Graves said in an interview with the MinnPost. “She wasn’t representing the people of the 6th District appropriately, and now she won’t be representing them. There’s no way anyone could run and win who would be worse than Michele Bachmann. So we accomplished that task.”
Though the probability of a Graves win in 2014, was better-than-decent, he isolated family and business interests as reasons for suspending his campaign. “After meeting with my closest family members, friends and supporters, we have decided to suspend Jim Graves for Congress indefinitely,” hotel magnate Graves shared. “This was never about Jim Graves; this was about challenging the ineffective leadership and extremist ideology of Michele Bachmann on behalf of those she represents.”
Michele Bachmann rode the energetic and well-funded Tea Party wave to relevance, ever-espousing more conservative, and sometimes extreme positions. It seems that force of energy climaxed for her after the 2010 midterms, but Bachmann didn’t enjoy the spoils of that house seat swing and didn’t emerge with a key appointment.
Tea Party Patriots co-founder, Jenny Beth Martin was furious, suggesting that Bachmann, a former tax lawyer, should have been chosen for a position on the House Ways and Means Committee. She was defeated for Republican Conference Chairman, as well. Her marginalization might not have been personal, and had more to do with civil war within the GOP that saw traditional neo-cons fighting for turf with a new and invigorated Tea Party insurgency.
During her time in office, Bachmann had gone from a rank and file member from Minnesota, to a conservative firebrand who made a name for herself with increasingly outlandish, and often times inaccurate assertions ranging from birth control to religion. Her Tea Party response to the State of the Union that saw her defeating the purpose of a teleprompter by looking off camera, seemed like the last straw in her bid for national relevance. Her off-base quotes, and video clips made her a poster-child of right-wing nuttery for the left, but a fundraising master on the right.
Bachmann entered the national stage as an ideological sister-in-arms to Sarah Palin; a northern light of neoconservative dogma in a time that saw the country elect and re-elect the first African American president. Her star burned bright, yet recently, faded in relevance to new male stars like Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. We’ll see what these last months of her political life will bring. If history is any indication, she will not disappear quietly into her private life.