Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., will be forming an exploratory committee to run for president in the next few months, CNN reports. This is the clearest sign yet that Sarah Palin will not be running, after her non-layoff by FOX News, which pushed some other potential 2012 candidates off their payroll.
There will be more than enough discussion of her probability of success in Iowa -- clearly her target state -- and the implications for Tim Pawlenty's campaign. But this will also have implications for redistricting as Minnesota Republicans seek to shore up the gains they made in last year's congressional elections. They will be drawing a new map and seeking to protect Rep. Chip Cravaack, R, whose Chisago County home is just north of Bachmann's district. If they can strike an incumbent protection deal with Gov. Mark Dayton, D, they can now draw him a much safer seat, with more voters in the Minneapolis exurb, and possibly even Bachmann's home.
If Bachmann tries to run both for president and her congressional seat, she may face more trouble than other candidates who have done so in the past. Her current district is Republican, but still more competitive than those of Reps. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Ron Paul, R-Tex. And importantly, she won't be running in the same district she holds now.