There were two surprise election developments this week, both involving the Sixth Congressional District. In an announcement released on YouTube at 3 a.m. on Tuesday of this week, Congresswoman Michele Bachman announced she will not run for reelection in the Sixth Congressional District. Bachman has represented the district for eight years. She has not ruled out a run for other political office stating that serving eight years for a specific Congressional district is long enough. The announcement took many by surprise in that Bachman had begun running reelection television spots as recently as last week.
Bachman has been the darling of the Tea Party with a brand of fiery conservatism and ability to charm crowds despite her outspoken and often controversial commentary. She started in the Minnesota State Senate, challenging a Republican incumbent in 2000. She ran for the Sixth District Congressional seat in 2006 beating well-known but political neophyte Patty Wetterling. In June, 2011 Bachman announced a run for President but dropped out by January, 2012. She won reelection to her seat in 2012 by a very narrow margin defeating DFL Jim Graves who had announced his candidacy for the seat in 2014 over a month ago.
However, in another surprise announcement, Graves today announced that he is suspending his campaign for the Sixth District seat, apparently feeling that other potential Republican candidates will be harder to beat than Bachman.
Many GOP names have popped up this week for the conservative district’s open seat. Some potential Republican candidates are: former gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, Big Lake state Senator Mary Kiffmeyer, President of the Minnesota Taxpayers League Phil Krinkie, state Senator Michelle Fischbach from Paynesville, state Senator Michelle Benson from Ham Lake, former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, state House members Peggy Scott and Tim Sanders, St. Cloud Mayor David Kleis and others.
Senator Al Franken will also be on the ballot in 2014 and a Republican businessman came forward this week to challenge him. Sunfish Lake resident Mike McFadden is the Co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market, an investment firm, and a political newcomer.
Meanwhile, Wayzata entrepreneur Scott Honour and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson are the announced Republican candidates for Governor against Mark Dayton who has said he will be seeking reelection in 2014. Other potential Republican candidates include state Senators Dave Thompson, David Hann and Julie Rosen as well as former House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Hennepin County Sheriff Rick Stanek.
Former Republican Senator Norm Coleman has announced that he will not be a candidate for Governor or Senator as have Republican Congressmen Erik Paulsen and John Kline.
In the Seventh Congressional District, twelve term incumbent Collin Peterson (DFL) has said he will wait until early 2014 before deciding on whether to run for reelection. Peterson has been the target of some early ads by the National Republican Congressional Committee.