In the end, Michele Bachmann provided no surprises in her post-presidential bid path:

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann announced Wednesday she will seek a fourth term in the U.S. House following her failed presidential bid.

Bachmann declared her plans in an interview with The Associated Press. The Republican congresswoman had been mum on her plans since folding her presidential campaign after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses earlier this month.

“I’m looking forward to coming back and bringing a strong, powerful voice to Washington, D.C.,” Bachmann said.

Bachmann will be a formidable candidate in Minnesota’s 6th District, where other Republican hopefuls had stood aside until she made a decision on running for re-election. She is a potent fundraiser, but faces uncertainty over how her Republican-leaning district will be reshaped by redistricting.

Bachmann won her last re-election bid against well-known Taryl Clark by twelve points, so redistricting is probably not a big concern for Bachmann.  Minnesota’s Congressional allocation did not change in the last census, although it only narrowly avoided losing a district.  The redistricting plan will likely shift the margins around a little, perhaps moving a few precincts of very liberal MN-05 (Keith Ellison’s district) into MN-06, but it’s doubtful that MN-06 will change dramatically enough to endanger Bachmann in 2012.

Besides, Bachmann raised her stature considerably during the presidential campaign.  She now has a broader base for fundraising, which builds on what had already been a strength for her in the past.  While her hyperbole on Gardasil hurt her in the campaign (and will almost certainly be revisited by the DFL in the district), her overall performance dispelled the “crazy eyes” image that the media had imposed on her during her rise in the House and with Tea Party grassroots.  Bachmann ended up presenting the most effective debate attacks on Rick Perry and then later Newt Gingrich, and was a formidable force in those encounters throughout the race.

Some had speculated that Bachmann would run against Amy Klobuchar for the US Senate.  Bachmann wisely understood that her strength in MN-06 does not translate statewide, a lesson that her predecessor Mark Kennedy learned the hard way against Klobuchar in 2006.  Bachmann might decided to take on Al Franken in 2014, but for now she has a pretty clear path to return to Congress and continue being a representative for the Tea Party agenda.  Expect Democrats to spend a lot of money in MN-06 for this reason, and expect it to be a waste of time, cash, and effort, as it was in 2008 and 2010.