Representative Michelle Bachmann’s (R-MN) biggest threat to re-election, Jim Graves, decided on Friday morning to indefinitely suspend his campaign for her seat in Minnesota’s 6th congressional district. Bachmann announced late Tuesday night that she would no longer be seeking a fifth term.
Graves told the Minnesota Post, “Basically, after all that’s gone on, and with Michele Bachmann now stepping down, I’ve been talking to my friends and family and frankly, the feeling is, ‘Mission Accomplished.’ She wasn’t representing the people of the 6th district appropriately, and now she won’t be representing them. There’s no way anyone could run and win who would be worse than Michele Bachmann. So we accomplished that task.”
For a district that favored former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election with 56 percent, the congressional results uncomfortably close for the Bachmann campaign — she barely won the district with 50.5 percent of the votes; Graves trailed closely with 49.3 percent.
In her video announcement, Bachmann didn’t explain her decision to leave Congress. She did state that since a president can serve for no longer than eight years, “eight years is also long enough for an individual to serve as a representative for a specific congressional district.” She continued, “Be assured my decision was not in any way influenced by any concerns about my being re-elected to Congress. I’ve always in the past defeated candidates who were capable, qualified, and well funded. And I have every confidence that if I ran, that I would again defeat the individual who I defeated last year.” Despite claiming that she wasn’t concerned about not being re-elected, that seems to be exactly what she was afraid of. Just recently, over Memorial Day weekend, Bachmann was campaigning in her home district. Additionally, she is currently the subject of campaign ethics investigations.
Public Policy Polling released poll data that pointed to what could have been a difficult re-election for the congresswoman. Only 34 percent of Minnesota voters have a favorable opinion of Bachmann, and 60 percent unfavorable.
While Graves didn’t specify a reason for the decision to suspend his campaign, even as a moderate Democrat he too may have faced a difficult election in a predominantly conservative district against anyone but an ultra right-wing, Tea Party candidate like Bachmann. “I was just the guy who was running against her,” Graves told the Post. “I’m humble enough to realize that.”