Congresswoman Michele Bachmann dropped the bombshell that she's not seeking a fifth term in a YouTube video, before jumping on a plane to Russia.
The announcement left everyone to wonder, "Why?" and "Why now?"
"And rest assured, this decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign or my former presidential staff," she said in the video, posted at 2 a.m. Wednesday.
Andy Parrish is Bachmann's former Chief of Staff, who some say threw her under the bus. He told the FBI he knew about alleged illegal payments to an Iowa state lawmaker during her presidential campaign, payments Parish said he and Bachmann thought were legal.
"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," Parrish said. He doesn't think Bachmann is running from anything, but rather, there's more to come from the congresswoman.
Bachmann is still a Tea Party darling, with the ability to raise millions of dollars with an email blast.
For others, she became a punch line, playing fast and loose with the facts.
Bachmann's former political director says she'll always have her true believers, and yet the timing of the decision even took her political opponent, Democrat Jim Graves, by surprise.
"She had just engaged in a very aggressive TV campaign, she's been doing robo calling up until Thursday of last week [and] she was in the district all weekend working the crowds," Graves said.
Ironically, Graves may have the most to lose, because Bachmann was a polarizing figure in a heavily Republican district. Anyone else looks moderate by comparison.
For Democrats, Bachmann was the gift that kept on giving.
"They don't have Michele Bachmann to kick around anymore," said Republican analyst Brian McClung. "She was a great fundraising tool for Democrats and they were able to run against her and the things she said over the years."
Right out of the gate, any Republican in the historically conservative 6th District is going to be a 10-point favorite, and the candidates are coming out of the woodwork.
Former gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer sent out an email saying he's strongly considering a run. Reps. Matt Dean and Peggy Scott, Sens. Michelle Benson, John Pederson and Mary Kiffmeyer and former Rep. Phil Krinkie are also being mentioned.
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