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.