The Washington Post

Jim Graves will run against Michele Bachmann again

Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R- Minn., speaks at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., Saturday, March 16, 2013. It may seem early, but the diehard activists who attended the three-day conference are already picking favorites in what could be a crowded Republican presidential primary in 2016.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Rep. Michelle Bachman (R- Minn.)  will face Jim Graves again.(Carolyn Kaster/Asociated Press)

Hotel magnate Jim Graves will run against Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) in 2014, setting up a rematch for the controversial lawmaker's seat.

Bachmann narrowly beat Graves last year, by a little more than 1 percent of the vote.

In a statement, the AmericInn Hotel chain founder took a veiled jab at his opponent's national reputation as a lightning rod. 

“These days, Congress is all about scoring political points rather than actually solving problems, and Minnesota’s 6th District – my home – is losing out because of that more than anywhere," he said. "I’m not interested in celebrity, only in solutions."

In response, Bachmann spokesman Dan Kotman called Graves "another liberal politician rubber-stamping the Obama-Pelosi agenda of higher taxes and runaway government spending."

Last fall, Bachmann's focus on a failed presidential bid  probably hurt her back home. The 6th district is home to some very conservative Minneapolis suburbs – voters there broke for Mitt Romney over President Obama by a 56 to 41 margin.

In 2014, Bachmann will be able to focus entirely on her reelection, but she faces other distractions. She is the target of a potential ethics investigation over campaign staff payment, as well as a lawsuit and a criminal complaint involving misuse of a homeschoolers' e-mail list.

Graves says he'll be helped by an early start.

"I think what happened last time is, we ran out of time and resources to reach out to everyone in the district," he told the Post. "We had very little support ... and yet we came very, very close."

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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