Shortly after launching a campaign commercial blitz, Michele Bachmann announced overnight Wednesday that she will not seek a fifth term in Congress.
According to Bachmann, eight years is "long enough."
A nearly nine-minute video on her website explained the reasoning behind her decision to forgo representing Minnesota's 6th District for a fifth time. She opens by citing constitutional law that limits a president to a maximum eight years in office, and she believes eight years is long enough to serve a district as well.
The video can be seen here: http://michelebachmann.com/
BACHMANN V. GRAVES
"Be assured, my decision was not in any way influenced by any concerns about my being re-elected to Congress," Bachman said in the video. "I've always in the past defeated candidates who were capable, qualified and well-funded, and I have every confidence that if I ran, I would again defeat the individual who I defeated last year, who recently announced that he is once again running."
Bachmann was referring to Democrat Jim Graves, who already announced his plans to run for Congress again in 2014 after last year's narrow loss to the congresswoman. The hotel magnate from St. Cloud is the only Democrat who has come close to defeating her, losing by a single percentage point and a difference of 4,000 votes.
Jim Graves spoke to FOX 9 News following the announcement, which he said took him by surprise.
"Our messaging doesn't change one bit," Graves said about going forward. "We never were running against Michele Bachmann, but really running for the people."
Last year, Bachmann out-raised Graves by about 700 percent and spent $20 million to fight him off, and she was eventually able to claim a seat in the conservative district for the fourth time in 2012.
A POLITICAL FUTURE?
Bachmann did not outline her future plans, but did not shut the door on her political future.
"I want you to be assured that there is no future option or opportunity, be directly it in the political arena or otherwise, that I won't be giving serious consideration if it can help save and protect our great nation for future generations."
Now that she will not run for a seat in Minnesota's 6th District, she would have the opportunity to run for two statewide races. Gov. Mark Dayton is up for re-election in 2014 – however, two Republicans are already in that race, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson and investment banker Scott Honour. Senator Al Franken is also up for re-election in 2014. No Republicans have officially declared their plans to run for Senate.
Bachmann also addressed a recent ethics probe into her presidential campaign regarding alleged payments made to Iowa Rep. Kent Sorenson, who was recruited by Andy Parrish, former chief of staff for the campaign. A sworn affidavit from Parrish said that Bachmann knew and approved of the payments.
"Rest assured, 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 said in the video. "It was clearly understood that compliance will all rules and regulations was an absolute necessity for my presidential campaign, and I have no reason to believe that was not the case."
WHAT'S NEXT FOR GRAVES?
Graves does not know who his new opponent will be, but he will likely utilize his business know-how to sway potential constituents. Throughout his candidacy, Graves touted his business experience as a self-made hotelier who founded the AmericInn motel chain in the 1970s. He sold it in 1993 and now runs Graves Hospitality, a company that develops and manages hotels and restaurants, including the Graves 601 Hotel in Minneapolis.
"I wish Marcus [Bachmann] and Michele the very best," Graves said. "I think she got the same information that we received that it was going to be an uphill battle for her this time and she decided to get out of the race, but whatever she does going forward, I wish her the very best. She's passionate and she believes in what she's doing, it just doesn't parlay well into what we need in Congress right now, but I wish her the very best."