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Ear to the Ground

The Democrat Who Could Unseat Michele Bachmann

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Posted on Oct 23, 2012
Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-ND)

Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, who represents Minnesota’s 6th District in Congress, faces a serious challenge in her re-election bid. His name is Jim Graves, and polls show that he is neck and neck with the tea party favorite. This despite the fact that he’s been outspent by Bachmann and her supporters by a margin of 10-to-1.

The Daily Beast:

Bachmann’s bizarre presidential run only highlighted what an awkward fit she is for the common sense civility that characterizes “Minnesota Nice.”

But she’s never faced a truly competitive opponent, despite a string of narrow wins—and that’s changed this time around.

...Polls show the race is now neck and neck—with 48 percent for Bachmann and 46 percent for Graves and the remaining still undecided, according to a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll (outside polling also shows Graves close behind, within single digits). Crucially, independent voters now lean toward Graves by a 15-point margin. Now the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is backing Graves in his campaign, showing it is very much in play.

But this is the most conservative district in Minnesota, compounded by redistricting. Moreover, Bachmann has been a successful conspiracy entrepreneur—raising millions of dollars in campaign donation by throwing out extreme statements—such as questioning how many fellow congressmen have “anti-American” views (to use one mild example)—and then fundraising off it by playing the victim.

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The onetime Republican presidential candidate easily defeated her Democratic challenger, Tarryl Clark, in 2010. In 2008, however, she narrowly won re-election, beating Democrat El Tinklenberg by just three percentage points.

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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