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Franken vs. Bachmann in 2014?

February 8, 2013

Politically, 2012 was not exactly a banner year for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.

In January, the Tea Party-backed Republican finished a distant sixth in the Iowa presidential caucuses, garnering just 1,223 more votes than she did in winning the Ames Straw Poll less than five months earlier.

Bachmann ended her White House bid the next day and set to work on winning a fourth term in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District. For that effort, she netted a massive, small-donor-fueled $14.4 million, breaking the House race fundraising record that she had previously set in 2010.

Though widely expected to win comfortably in her state’s most conservative district, Bachmann instead eked out a less-than-5,000-vote victory over Democratic businessman Jim Graves, who had made it close in part by raising doubts about his opponent’s commitment to her district.

But despite that presidential fade-out and close call back home, Bachmann is again being mentioned as a candidate for higher office -- this time as a potential challenger to first-term Democratic Sen. Al Franken in 2014.

Bachmann has not signaled publicly her interest in such a race, but her advisers do not deny that she might consider it down the road.

"Congresswoman Bachmann is focusing her time and energy on serving her constituents and holding listening sessions across Minnesota's Sixth District, not on 2014,” Bachmann Communications Director Dan Kotman said in a statement to RCP.

Franken won his Senate seat in 2008 after prevailing in a recount, besting GOP incumbent Norm Coleman by 312 votes. The Democrat has spent the last four years seeking to shed his image as a “Saturday Night Live” jokester and liberal provocateur by keeping a relatively low profile on the national stage.

For the most part, that strategy appears to be working. In a Public Policy Polling (D) survey conducted last month, 52 percent of state voters approved of Franken’s job performance, while 42 percent disapproved.

In the same poll, Franken also topped Bachmann by a 54 percent to 40 percent margin in a hypothetical general election matchup -- an early indication of the uphill climb the congresswoman would face in a statewide race.

Still, Bachmann would almost certainly be a strong contender to win a contested primary, and political opponents have underestimated her strengths in the past.

“I think if Bachmann decided to run, she’d be the favorite to win the nomination,” said Minnesota political analyst Larry Jacobs. “Whether she can win statewide is a bigger question and the question she will be thinking hard about.”

Despite her reputation as a conservative flame-thrower with a penchant for attention-grabbing gaffes, Bachmann is widely regarded among Minnesota political watchers as a savvy operator. And no one doubts that she could again raise enormous sums of money in a personality-driven general election battle that would draw tremendous attention outside the state.

But the congresswoman’s more immediate concern -- holding onto her House seat -- might cause her to think twice about mounting another underdog bid.

The House Majority PAC, one of the Democrats’ biggest outside spending groups, announced last week that it planned to target Bachmann’s House seat in 2014. And so, given her difficult 2012, she may now be inclined to follow a more cautious path.

“Michele Bachmann understands she’s probably more conservative than the state, so she needs to figure out a way that a candidate who’s more conservative than the state can win,” Jacobs said. “It’s not impossible, particularly if the Democrats have a fall in turnout, like in 2010.”

(More at link:)

by Anonymousreply 2102/09/2013

Oh, bring. it. on. I'd pay big money to see a Franken/Bachmann debate!

by Anonymousreply 102/09/2013

I think they originally had big plans of getting Bachmann into the Senate some day, but the events of the last year have probably changed that. Her run for the Republican nomination last year was humiliating, and then she almost lost her Congressional district to Democrat Jim Graves in November.

Considering that she's not even that popular in her own conservative district, it's unlikely she could win statewide with the entire population of voters.

by Anonymousreply 202/09/2013

Please please please. Bachmann will go down in flames.

Anything to get her out of Congress.

by Anonymousreply 302/09/2013

Didn't she recently get Swiss citizenship?

by Anonymousreply 402/09/2013

Too funny. What a comedy dream team. Who's the straight man? Is Bachmann nasty as Bud Abbott, dashing as Dean Martin, or prim as Sheen?

by Anonymousreply 502/09/2013

No, R4. I think she dropped that very quickly last year when she realized her conservative base would consider it an insult to American patriotism to take out citizenship in another country.

by Anonymousreply 602/09/2013

If Bachmann does this, Senator Franken will crush her.

Also, Franni will crush Marcus.

by Anonymousreply 702/09/2013

I'm always amazed at how little scrutiny the Bachmanns have gotten from the press.

by Anonymousreply 802/09/2013

Would she even be able to win a primary?

by Anonymousreply 902/09/2013

She could, yes, R9, according to the article. The Republican field is so thin in Minnesota right now that she would be the biggest name.

by Anonymousreply 1002/09/2013

Damn. There goes my Republican dream ticket of Santorum/Bachmann in 2016.

With those two running, the Dems could run an alcoholic and a junkie against them and they'd win.

by Anonymousreply 1102/09/2013

I don't think Bachmann will run for President again, R11, but Santorum is expected to run again in 2016 since he was the runner-up in 2012.

by Anonymousreply 1202/09/2013

Some people have a lot of balls. She barely won in her own district in 2012 and now she's setting sights on a Senatorial bid? She has as good a chance of winning as Santorum does in the general election.

by Anonymousreply 1302/09/2013

She actually hasn't shown any interest in doing this. The Repugs in her state because they don't have anyone they think is big enough to beat him.

by Anonymousreply 1402/09/2013

R14, I think that may be true. Bachmann originally had higher ambitions, but because of the slapping she received last year, she might not want to risk trying to go any higher right now.

But because Former Senator Coleman has decided against a re-match with Franken and because others like Former Governor Pawlenty have also said no, the GOP is having trouble finding someone high-profile to run against Franken.

by Anonymousreply 1502/09/2013

[quote]Bachmann ended her White House bid the next day and set to work on winning a fourth term in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District. For that effort, she netted a massive, small-donor-fueled $14.4 million, breaking the House race fundraising record that she had previously set in 2010.

And she achieved this feat by lying (no surprise there). Her campaign appeal letter, which was posted online, specifically said that the redistricting threatened the safety of her seat when, in fact, she, like Aaron Shock, was redrawn into a safer, more conservative district.

by Anonymousreply 1602/09/2013

She's such a liar, R16. And she and her husband both receive subsidies from the government and live off the public purse despite the fact that she says she is against things like that.

by Anonymousreply 1702/09/2013

That massive campaign fund could be her undoing. I'll bet dollars to donuts that well over half of that came from out of state. Does she have to declare that sort of thing? I don't think MN voters would be thrilled with that.

by Anonymousreply 1802/09/2013

R18, because she is a national Tea Party figure, I think you're right that a lot of those donations probably come from outside the state. There aren't enough supporters in Minnesota for it all to come from within the state.

by Anonymousreply 1902/09/2013

Franken? Sounds like a Muslim name to me.

by Anonymousreply 2002/09/2013

It's interesting how fast the Republicans changed their tune on Franken. Back in 2008 they considered him a joke from Saturday Night Live. Now after his first term in the Senate they are struggling to find someone to run against him.

by Anonymousreply 2102/09/2013
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