(CNN) - Tea-Party favorite and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann dropped out of the race for House Republican conference chair Wednesday night, avoiding what could have been a divisive bid against Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling for the No. 3 spot in the House GOP leadership.
Rep. Bachmann, the chairwoman of the Tea Party caucus who had hoped to use her popularity in the influential movement to gain a leadership post, ultimately voiced her support for establishment-backed Hensarling Wednesday in a statement.
"Jeb Hensarling has my enthusiastic support for his candidacy to become Republican House Conference Chair," Bachmann said in a statement. "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."
Hensarling accepted the endorsement and praised Bachmann.
"Michele Bachmann is a committed movement conservative whose effective voice played an important role in America's decision to trust House Republicans once again," Hensarling said in a statement. "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."
The House Republican Conference serves as the organizational body for all GOP House members, and is responsible for electing party leaders at the beginning of each Congress.
Bachmann and Hensarling have been jockeying for support within the party in recent days, though Hensarling seemed to garner more widespread support from his Republican colleagues. Prominent GOP leaders including House Minority Whip Rep, Eric Cantor of Virginia, and current conference chair, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence both endorsed Hensarling shortly after he announced his intention to seek the chairmanship last week.
One of the most outspoken critics of President Obama and the Democratic Party, Bachmann is a popular figure among the party's most faithful. But it remains unclear how much further her popularity extends beyond the most conservative wing of the GOP.
- CNN's Deirdre Walsh and Evan Glass contributed to this report