Tea Party Rep. Michele Bachmann has announced that she will not seek re-election in 2014. She denies that the decision has anything to do with allegations of financial impropriety during her failed presidential bid.
Bachmann, who has long been a lightning rod of controversy for the mostly blue state she represents, is best known for her staunch anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ stances in the state legislature, positions that she took to the extreme once elected to Congress. Some of her biggest controversies involved suggesting politicians should be investigated for “anti-Americanism,” claiming the vaccine that prevents many strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) causes mental retardation, and calling Planned Parenthood the “Lenscrafters of Big Abortion.” She’s also known for her devotion to President George W. Bush during his time in office, which had a nearly star struck quality.
Although Bachmann was beloved among the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party, that support didn’t carry over in her failed 2012 presidential bid; she won the Iowa Straw Poll, an event that kicks off the primaries and is usually favorable to the eventual winner, but she failed to follow that up with other wins in needed early primary and caucus races. Bachmann dropped out of the race early, returning to focus on her Congressional campaign in a newly redrawn, less conservative district where she barely eked out a win over her rival, Democrat Jim Graves.
Since then, Bachmann’s presidential run has been investigated for illegal campaign coordination and financial misuse, an accusation Bachmann denies even in her speech announcing her retirement. “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 a video announcing the news. “My decision was not in any way influenced by any concerns about my being re-elected to Congress. If I ran I would again defeat the individual who I defeated last year.”
Bachmann will have served four terms in the U.S. House, from 2006 to 2014.