Quick Hits: Volume CLIX

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- Now that Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has officially stepped aside, more speculation continues as to whom the GOP will field for the 2018 special election to fill out the remaining two years of Franken's term.

Michele Bachmann, the deeply conservative former congresswoman and one-time presidential contender, said she is considering running for Al Franken’s former Senate seat in Minnesota.

Bachmann recently told televangelist Jim Bakker that she has been praying about the decision since Franken announced plans last month to leave the Senate amid sexual misconduct allegations. Franken, a Democrat, officially resigned on Tuesday.

“I’ve had people contact me and urge me to run for that Senate seat,” Bachmann said during Bakker’s TV show on Dec. 27. “Am I being called to this now? I don’t know.”

Let's get rid of the wiggle room: Aside from literal divine intervention, Bachmann has zero chance to win a statewide race in Minnesota. After serving three terms in the most conservative Congressional District in the state (MN CD6) Bachmann had to spend way more than was necessary for a political righty to win a fourth term by less than a point.

As much as I admire Bachmann's passion (when she isn't employing the ready-FIRE-aim speaking strategy) and am aligned with her on most political issues, I'm hoping she doesn't feel the pull to jump in this race. It would be a colossal waste of time and money.

- Speaking of U.S. Senate seats up in 2018......

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch announced Tuesday that he won't seek re-election this year, clearing the way for Mitt Romney to return to the national stage by running for his seat.

It's happening!!!

- As emcee of the annual Miss Minnesota Scholarship pageant (an official preliminary to the Miss America pageant), I am thrilled by the news of a new member of the Miss America board.

Gretchen Carlson (no relation - ed.) was elected to lead the Miss America pageant after its CEO and previous chairman resigned amid a sexist email scandal, the organization said Monday.

In a statement, the Miss America Organization said that Carlson, who won the pageant in 1989, would take over the role immediately.

“Everyone has been stunned by the events of the last several days, and this has not been easy for anyone who loves this program,” Carlson said, according to the statement. “In the end, we all want a strong, relevant Miss America and we appreciate the existing board taking the steps necessary to quickly begin stabilizing the organization for the future.”

Carlson, a former Fox news anchor, sued the network’s parent company in July 2016, alleging that then-CEO Roger Ailes “sabotaged” her career after she refused his sexual advances. Ailes resigned days after she filed the suit, which was settled two months later for a reported $20 million.

Former Miss America CEO Sam Haskell, COO Josh Randle and Chairman Lynn Weidner resigned last month after HuffPost reported that Haskell and other leaders at the organization spoke derisively about previous Miss America contestants.

The Miss America organization is the top provider of scholarship funds to young women. The fact that Carlson is available to head it up pro bono immediately boosts morale (thanks to her tireless advocating for harassment victims) as well as reduces the costs associated with running it under Haskell (who reportedly took a $500,000 annual salary).

Now let's hope the Miss America pageant itself remains on network TV (it's been on ABC since 2011) and not banished to an obscure cable channel.