Ending weeks of speculation, former representative and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has declared that she will not run for the Minnesota Senate seat that was until recently held by Democrat Al Franken.
Franken resigned on Jan. 2 after a wave of women accused him of inappropriate behavior. Minnesota governor Mark Dayton appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to take Franken’s seat until November, at which time a special election will be held to determine who will serve out the remaining two years of Franken’s term.
Since Franken announced his planned resignation, Bachmann has mused about the possibility of running, telling the Jim Bakker show on Dec. 27 that she was “asking God” if she should run for the seat.
On Monday morning, however, she told Minnesota radio host Jan Markell that she “wasn’t hearing any call from God” to run for the seat, and accordingly would not throw her hat in the ring.
Bachmann served four terms in the House of Representatives before retiring from Congress at the end of 2014. She ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, winning the then-influential Ames straw poll, which briefly catapulted her to an early polling lead in the Iowa caucuses. However, she ultimately finished sixth in the Iowa caucus voting and faded from contention.
Republicans are still without an obvious consensus candidate in the special election, which promises to be an uphill battle in a state that has recently favored Democrats in statewide elections. The two most obvious establishment candidates, former Sen. Norm Coleman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, have both announced that they do not intend to run for the seat.