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Why Some Democrats Aren’t Happy About Bachmann’s Exit

Not every Democrat is happy about Bachmann's decision not to seek re-election. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)
Not every Democrat is happy about Bachmann's decision not to seek re-election. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

Not every Democrat is cheering Rep. Michele Bachmann’s upcoming exit from Congress — specifically the party’s bean counters.

The conservative firebrand’s decision not to run for re-election takes a lucrative fundraising tool off the table for Democrats.

“After Joe Walsh and Allen West were defeated, she was by far the most lucrative voice for Democrats in the GOP caucus,” said one top Democratic operative who has worked at a committee. “Direct mail writers are going to have to cultivate new villains.”

The Minnesota Republican’s controversial statements and her mantle as one of the tea party’s loudest advocates on Capitol Hill made her the perfect foil in fundraising solicitations from Democratic campaign committees and candidates. She was among a select crew of rank-and-file GOP House members with national profiles and names capable of prompting Democratic donors to give.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee quickly kicked off the search for a new fundraising foil. In a statement Wednesday morning, DCCC spokeswoman Emily Bittner said Republicans in Congress would now begin competing “over who can be the most extreme and most radical to take Bachmann’s place pushing forward their extreme agenda.”

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Executive Director Guy Cecil added this about Bachmann’s departure:

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Beyond the fundraising implications, Bachmann’s Republican-leaning 6th District will likely be more difficult for Democrats to win without the incumbent on the ticket. Her exit leaves hotelier Jim Graves, who came within a point of Bachmann in 2012, without a clear target to focus on.

Still, some Democratic operatives reached Wednesday morning were clearly happy to hear the news. They named Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Steve King of Iowa as potential fill-ins for Bachmann in fundraising emails and mail.

“Just wait another couple of minutes and we’ll hear someone else say something nuts,” one operative said. “The immigration debate is bound to give us more than a handful new Bachmanns.”

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