Her retirement has significantly increased the GOP’s chances of keeping her seat:
Yes, it’s odd to argue that a party is better served by an incumbent retiring rather than running for another term in an institution where more than nine in 10 members who run for reelection are reelected, but Bachmann is no ordinary incumbent. The suburban Twin Cities Republican has always been controversial, and her image as the “Queen of the Tea Party” (as dubbed by the Weekly Standard) has proven to be a liability even in MN-6, the most Republican district in Minnesota. Only four Republican members of the House ran further behind Mitt Romney in their districts in 2012: three freshmen members and two-term Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R, TN-4), another incumbent with problems. Bachmann barely won reelection last year against wealthy Democratic businessman Jim Graves in 2012, and she was in for a tough rematch this time, particularly because she now has ethical and legal questions to go along with her highly polarizing image.
Silver agrees that Republicans’ fortunes have improved:
The Democrats’ chance of winning the Minnesota seat might now be on the order of 5 to 10 percent, versus perhaps 40 percent with Mrs. Bachmann on the ballot.
Update from a reader:
I found it interesting that Michele Bachmann’s one bill reported by committee was H.R. 850 in the 112th Congress. If passed, the bill would have authorized the construction of an “extradosed bridge” across the St. Croix Wild and Scenic River. In other words, had it passed, Bachmann’s one accomplishment would have been to make a designated “wild and scenic” river less “wild and scenic.” Good riddance.
Her own bridge to nowhere. Update from another reader:
That “bridge to nowhere” that your reader derided is being built, to the region’s benefit.
It’s taking the role of the Stillwater lift bridge, the next major road crossing between Minnesota and Wisconsin, North of I-94 (which runs east from the Twin Cities). The lift bridge had been closed to traffic for long periods following the collapse of 35w, severing a major but ill-suited artery for the Twin Cities’ economy. The lift bridge sends commuters through the narrow streets of Stillwater’s historic downtown and is falling apart. The new project passed the Senate 99-0 after Senator Klobuchar lobbied vigorously for it.
I don’t know why it shows up in that table the way it does. I’m a liberal who’s been praying for Bachmann’s electoral defeat for years, but that bridge is a real accomplishment and I’m glad it’s happening. Good riddance to her, though.