Without Bachmann to Challenge, Longtime Adversary Drops Out Too

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 31 2013 11:30 AM

Without Bachmann to Challenge, Longtime Adversary Drops Out Too

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Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., announced this week that she won't seek re-election in 2014.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrat Jim Graves lost a nail-biter to Michele Bachmann last November, falling fewer than 5,000 votes short of unseating the conservative congresswoman and scoring what would have been a cathartic victory for liberals everywhere. Now, with Bachmann's announcing she'll call it quits after her current term ends, Graves won't get a second chance to be the one to oust the Tea Party favorite. Without that dream to chase, it looks like the hotel magnate no longer has any interest in running for Congress. From the MinnPost, which broke the news:

As of today, Jim Graves is going to indefinitely suspend his campaign for Congress from the 6th District. Translation: He is not running. He is dropping out of politics to concentrate on his family and his business.
Later this morning he will circulate a press release to this effect. But he says he will not take questions about it today, nor is he particularly interested in hearing from various Democrats who might want to talk him into changing his mind.
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"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,' " Graves told the website. "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."

As Graves (not-so-kindly) suggests, it's hard to imagine Minnesota Republicans finding a more conservative candidate to run in Bachmann's stead. Given that, her decision to pack up her congressional office next year also likely cut Graves' chances of pulling off the upset in the dark-red district. In 2012, the district broke for Mitt Romney by nearly 15 percent while at the same time handing Bachmann her victory by less than 2 points.

This post has been updated with additional information.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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