Rainier Ehrhardt, File, Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann swept aside doubts about her political future on Wednesday, declaring less than a month after ending her presidential bid that she will seek a fourth term in Congress.
Bachmann's decision ended speculation that she might be ready to move on from the House, perhaps leveraging her popularity among some conservatives into a career in talk media. Despite her high profile, Bachmann has been only a marginal player in Congress.
"I'm looking forward to coming back and bringing a strong, powerful voice to Washington, D.C.," Bachmann said in an interview with The Associated Press. She said a formal announcement would come later.
Unless redistricting radically changes Minnesota's Republican-leaning 6th District, Bachmann figures to be a heavy favorite. Other Republican hopefuls had stood aside awaiting her decision. No Democrats have yet declared for the race.
Bachmann is a potent fundraiser who brought in $13.5 million in her last House race, but she would likely start from scratch after the presidential campaign. A campaign finance report that would show how much money she can bring to the race isn't due until the end of the month.
Ken Martin, chairman of Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer Labor Party, said the announcement wasn't a surprise. He said Democrats would attack Bachmann for being absent from the district and for missing votes in Washington during months chasing the presidential nomination.
"Anyone who thinks that they're unbeatable is fooling themselves, and particularly once you hand us these issues on a silver platter," Martin said.
Martin said he's talked with several potential candidates who were waiting for a special redistricting panel to issue new maps late next month. He said some were also waiting for Bachmann's decision.
Bachmann captured some early momentum in the chase for the GOP presidential nomination by winning the Iowa straw poll in midsummer, but she eventually faded. Bachmann said she will not be working for any GOP candidate still in the race ahead of Minnesota's caucuses Feb. 7.
Bachmann also addressed President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech. As she did on the campaign trail, Bachmann criticized Obama for "doubling down on failures that didn't work."
She said she "chose to lay everything on the line this last year" because she saw a better way.
"I know how to create jobs and I am a job creator," Bachmann said. "I do have a formula for success. I have lived that formula. ... We need that voice here in Congress."
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