For Graves, is it tougher without Bachmann in race?

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It's barely been a day since Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., announced she would not seek re-election next year, but prognosticators are lining up to forecast who might be the Sixth District's next representative in the U.S. House.

Whoever jumps into the race, the campaign might actually be more difficult for Graves without Bachmann as a foil, MinnPost reports.

Bachmann is a nationally known figure and one of the very top fundraisers in Congress. But the DFL Party had used the polarizing Bachmann as a sort of lightening rod to attract campaign money and energize voters, and DFL leaders had hoped that, after a very close 2012 race, that 2014 would be the year the Democrats finally pick up a seat in the right-leaning district.

“Having Michele Bachmann in the race is better than not having her in the race,” Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin acknowledged, MinnPost reported. “She probably was the best candidate for Jim Graves to run against.”

A more moderate, low-profile Republican may have a better chance of retaining Bachmann's seat for Republicans, some observers are saying. In a long examination of the political ramifications of Bachmann's announcement, The Hill newspaper quoted one GOP source who said it was a bad day for Democrats.

Speculation is swirling about who might jump into the race for the GOP. MinnPost has a list of 12 possible contenders. KARE 11 has a list of eight. The Star Tribune says a "scrappy and ambitious collection of Republicans" have a good shot at winning a major political office after a string of demoralizing DFL victories in 2012.

Meanwhile, media coverage of Bachmann's announcement has been extensive.

Reporters flocked to Bachmann's district to collect reactions from voters. FOX 9 has six comments from the Sixth.

In another story, FOX 9 quotes former Bachmann aide Andy Parrish, who says, "Whatever it is that she's going to do next, she's going to do it big, she's going to do it well, and I look forward to seeing it."

The Star Tribune has assembled political cartoonist Steve Sack's Bachmann-related cartoons into a slideshow.

MPR has an audio collection of Bachmann quotes.

MinnPost's Eric Black is garnering attention for calling Bachmann's decision on April 22.

Among those mourning the loss of Bachmann are fact-checkers, MPR reported.

One Washington Post blog puts the "rise and fall" of Bachmann in one chart.

What's next for Bachmann herself is also generating much speculation. The Christian Science Monitor examines her many opportunities. The New York Times notes she has a variety of options, many of them lucrative, including opportunities in talk radio, television, advocacy for conservative causes and the speaking circuit.

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