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Bachmann may face tough reelection battle

Bachmann: From presidential front-runner to out of Congress in 14 months? It could happen.
Bachmann: From presidential front-runner to out of Congress in 14 months? It could happen.

Though it won't be for the office she was hoping for, Michele Bachmann may still face a tough election fight this November.

Sometime between now and early June, Bachmann must decide whether to seek reelection to the House of Representatives. Her decision is complicated by the fact that she probably won't know what congressional district she's living in until a panel of judges issues redistricting maps late next month.

The DFL's redistricting plan would place Bachmann's Stillwater residence in the 4th congressional district, setting up what would be a tough election battle with longtime St. Paul representative Betty McCollum.

To date, Bachmann has not said whether she'll seek a fourth term in Congress. A Huffington Post report published just after her January 4 decision to drop out of the presidential race speculates that she might leave Congress to pursue a career as a media pundit or public speaker.

If she does decide to run again, her chances of being reelected seem to hinge in large part on the ongoing redistricting process. McCollum has never received less than 59 percent of the vote during her tenure as 4th district representative and would present a tough challenge for Bachmann, who barely defeated Democrat Elwyn Tinklenberg in 2008 before trouncing Democrat Tarryl Clark in 2010.

As the Star Tribune reports, however, a showdown with McCollum is far from a certainty:

Betty McCollum could square off against Michele Bachmann in a battle of Minnesota's only two female representatives.
Betty McCollum could square off against Michele Bachmann in a battle of Minnesota's only two female representatives.
The map that would put [Bacmann and McCollum] in the same district is but one of several proposals being considered by the five-judge panel. If DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled Legislature do not reach an agreement on new district lines, the panel will issue their maps by Feb. 21.

For their part, Republicans prefer congressional maps stretching districts east-to-west, which would presumably preserve the suburban-exurban character of Bachmann's district while keeping McCollum's in the city.

So, depending on how the panel's work turns out, Bachmann's spectacular fall from grace may not be through yet. From Republican presidential front-runner to out of Congress within 14 months? It could happen.


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