Bachmann 2.0 the GOPs Minnesota Problem
Republicans exhaled this week when vulnerable Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., announced her retirement from the otherwise reliable GOP district.
Their relief might not last long. In Minnesota, some Republican strategists fret that the state party’s quirky endorsement process could yield a “Bachmann 2.0” candidate — and put the seat in play again.
“The wrong candidate could lose this for Republicans,” said former Rep. Mark Kennedy, the Republican who preceded Bachmann in the 6th District. “And that would be a key concern for whether the endorsing process delivers the right candidate.”
In Minnesota, state parties endorse a candidate via a series of unpredictable caucuses and conventions. When Bachmann won her first term in 2006, she picked up her party’s endorsement by corralling far-right, conservative Christian delegates around her bid through this process.
Today, the weeks-long, costly endorsement process is maligned by many local Republicans. They argue that the convention’s time commitment means a skewed activist pool often endorses a candidate who does not always represent the area’s political leanings.
The endorsements are non-binding, but most candidates in the state adhere to the party’s choice and drop out of the race if they do not garner the needed support. If the non-endorsed candidates do not drop out, they face several more months of an expensive primary with the endorsed candidate through the end of the summer.