by Dennis Dalman
Candidate Jim Graves announced he will suspend his second attempt at a congressional campaign less than a week after Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Stillwater) announced she would not file for re-election next year.
His decision, along with Bachmann’s, leaves next year’s election wide open for a new field of contenders from the two major political parties.
Graves, a Minneapolis businessman, had challenged Bachmann last year for the 6th-District seat in the U.S. Congress, but he lost the election by 4,200 votes, less than 1 percent of the total votes cast. Bachmann, a former tax attorney, is now serving her fourth two-year term.
Graves announced a month ago he would challenge Bachmann again for the seat in the November 2014 election and had begun raising money and support for that battle.
However, on May 31, the Graves campaign staff released the following press statement.
“After meeting with my closest family members, friends and supporters, we have decided to suspend Jim Graves for Congress indefinitely. This was never about Jim Graves; this was about challenging the ineffective leadership and extremist ideology of Michele Bachmann on behalf of those she represents. As of Wednesday, that goal was accomplished – and our supporters are and should be incredibly proud of that accomplishment. I will never be able to adequately express my gratitude for the tireless work of our fantastic campaign team and our legions of friends and supporters.”
That statement implies Bachmann decided not to run again because she wouldn’t want to lose to Graves, knowing current polling numbers give an edge to Graves in a 2014 race.
However, in her surprise May 28 video announcement to her supporters, Bachmann strongly denied her decision not to run had anything to do with an election challenge from Graves, whom she did not to refer to by name but as the “individual.” She also denied her decision was influenced by legal inquiries into her aborted presidential campaign in Iowa. Bachmann did not give a definite reason for her decision not to run again, but she did say that public service by anyone for eight years is long enough.
Minnesota’s 6th District includes an area from the northeastern Twin Cities all the way up to the greater St. Cloud area, which includes Sartell.