Bachmann's failed bid pitted her against Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling, and her entry into the race generated a cool reaction from Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner's lieutenants. Bachmann announced her endorsement of Hensarling on Wednesday evening.
"Jeb Hensarling has my enthusiastic support for his candidacy to become Republican House Conference Chair," Bachmann said. "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," she continued. "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."
In a statement, Hensarling announced that he is "humbled to earn" Bachmann's support for the GOP Conference Chair post.
One possible reason for Bachmann's failure to win the position, as HuffPost's Ryan Grim wrote last week, is that she was known as stingy with her campaign war chest:
Though the Minnesota firebrand has a phenomenal ability to raise money from the Tea Party base, she has been fairly parsimonious with it. A review of her campaign's giving the past cycle reveals she only donated to 41 Republican House members and challengers, far below what would assist a real bid. The typical contribution was just $1,000, well under the maximum $2,400 she could have given. October 11th is the last date of any contribution, so there may have been a flurry of generosity that hasn't yet been reported, but Bachmann raised more than $11 million and with two weeks left in the campaign still had $2.5 million on hand. Were she making a real bid for leadership, she'd have unloaded that money. Her spokesman has released a statement saying that she has been encouraged to run by colleagues and is weighing doing so, but has yet to make a decision. A GOP aide notes that Hensarling is as conservative as Bachmann but has given much more to and worked harder on the campaign trail for fellow Republicans, an assertion that a review of Hensarling's FEC files confirms, though he raised only $1.6 million.
Hensarling's full statement:
"Michele Bachmann is a committed movement conservative whose effective voice played an important role in America's decision to trust House Republicans once again. She is a dear friend, and I am humbled to earn her support. I look forward to her energetic leadership in a united House Republican Conference during the 112th Congress.
"My campaign to serve as Chairman of the House Republican Conference is not complete. I am committed to reaching-out to every Republican Member-elect and current House Republican before Wednesday's vote to seek their counsel and support. If elected, I look forward to working with other Republican leaders to demonstrate that we heard a very clear message on Election Day. Americans want us to focus on principle-based approaches to job creation and cutting the out-of-control spending that is threatening our children's and grandchildren's futures with a tsunami of red ink.
"Our nation is at a tipping point. The days ahead will be full of opportunities and challenges. If House Republicans remain committed to the values of faith, family, free enterprise, and freedom, and if we remain both courageous and smart, together we can preserve the torch of liberty for the next generation."