Business executive Jim Graves said Thursday he will run again for Congress next year against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th District.
“Last year’s lesson is clear: If we compete with her from day one, we’ll win,” said Graves in a fundraising appeal to his supporters. “Voters have abandoned her. Republicans have abandoned her. This is ours.”
Last year then-political newcomer Graves came within 2 percentage points of defeating Bachmann.
Bachmann declined an interview request.
She has not formally said whether she is running for a 5th term next year. But in response to Graves’ announcement, the Bachmann campaign put out a video that portrayed Graves as a puppet who would serve as a rubber-stamp for President Obama and Democratic leaders in the House.
In a separate fundraising email, Bachmann predicted she could lose re-election in “one of the most expensive campaigns of our lifetime” unless she has the resources to fend off Graves.
The special interest group House Majority PAC lists Bachmann as its number one target in the next round of elections. Graves is the right candidate to defeat Bachmann next year, said the PAC’s spokesman Andy Stone.
“The strength of the candidate is crucial here. That means everything because you need a candidate that can convey a particular message about why Michele Bachmann is out of touch,” Stone said. “Clearly, Graves was able to make serious inroads last cycle and will be able to build on that this cycle.”
Last year the House Majority PAC spent $36 million dollars helping Democratic candidates, including $1.5 million in Minnesota’s 8th District where DFLer Rick Nolan defeated Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack.
Graves will be in a stronger position for his rematch than he was in 2012, said University of Minnesota political science professor Larry Jacobs. Bachmann’s standing has weakened because of investigations into possible ethics violations of her failed presidential campaign, according to Jacobs.
Noting that two other Democrats — Sen. Al Franken and Gov. Mark Dayton– will be running statewide in 2014, Jacobs said get-out-the-vote efforts from their re-election campaigns could help offset the non-presidential election year drop in voter turnout that often occurs.
“Bottom line here is that Jim Graves will probably be in a better position to beat Bachmann given her troubles, how close he came and the fact that it looks as if Democrats are going to be more mobilized then they usually are in mid-term elections that hurt them,” said Jacobs.