WASHINGTON — Rep. Michele Bachmann dropped her leadership bid late Wednesday, endorsing her former challenger Jeb Hensarling for the chairmanship of the House Republican Conference.
The move ended the House Tea Party Caucus founder’s week-long campaign for the No. 4 spot in the House GOP leadership and came hours after a report that Hensarling was close to securing the votes needed for the job.
“Jeb Henserling has my enthusiastic support for his candidacy to become Republican House Conference Chair,” Bachmann said in a statement. “Jeb has demonstrated his commitment to limited government, reduced spending and lower taxes and he will be a strong voice for the Tea Party’s call for these values.
“I look forward to continuing my consistent support of the Tea Party. I plan to advance the Tea Party ideals through their listening arm, the Tea Party Caucus. It is my wish to bring new faces to the caucus, including freshmen members.”
Hensarling, meanwhile, called Bachmann a “dear friend” and promised to promote a rock-solid conservative agenda in the 112th Congress that focuses on job creation and cutting spending.
“Michele Bachmann is a committed movement conservative whose effective voice played an important role in America’s decision to trust House Republicans once again,” Hensarling said.
House Republican leaders had been quick to line up behind Hensarling and sent strong signals that their decision was not only about who they wanted, but who they didn’t want. In her statement, Bachmann attempted to patch any cracks in the relationship by endorsing likely Speaker John Boehner by name:
“The new Congress will have great opportunities to lead our country into the direction our founders intended. I spoke with Mr. Boehner and other members of leadership and I am convinced they will wholeheartedly work towards the issues the American people are calling for such as fiscal responsibility, ending the bailouts and repealing Obamacare.”