AP file photo of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) - Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann, a conservative Republican who ran for president last year, made a surprise announcement Wednesday and said she will not seek re-election to a fifth term in Congress.
The Minnesota congresswoman was facing inquiries into her presidential campaign and a potential rematch with Democrat Jim Graves, a wealthy hotel executive who came within about 4,300 votes of defeating her in November.
"My decision was not influenced by any concerns about my being re-elected," Bachmann said.
Bachmann also said, "This decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign." In January, a former Bachmann aide filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, claiming Bachmann made improper payments to an Iowa state senator who was the state chairman of her 2012 presidential run. The aide, Peter Waldron, also accused Bachmann of other FEC violations.
Bachmann, 56, made a name for herself in Congress by staunchly opposing President Obama's health care law. She tried to tap into her support from Tea Partiers who agreed with her Constitution-first mantra to win the GOP presidential nomination, but dropped out shortly after the Iowa caucuses last January.
She promised to "continue to work overtime for the next 18 months in Congress defending the same Constitutional conservative values we have worked so hard on together."
As for her plans beyond Congress, Bachmann said, "There is no future option or opportunity, be it directly in the political arena or otherwise, that I won't be giving serious consideration if it can help save and protect our great nation."