With Michele Bachmann stepping down at the end of her fourth term in Congress, Jim Graves said Friday he is suspending his campaign indefinitely.
Graves said simply having Bachmann out of Congress is "mission accomplished." The St. Cloud Democrat's decision was first reported by MinnPost columnist Eric Black, after Graves reached out to him exclusively Thursday night.
"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," Graves said. "There's no way anyone could run and win who would be worse than Michele Bachmann. So we accomplished that task."
Read the full MinnPost interview: http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2013/05/bachmann-not-running-jim-graves-pulls-out-6th-district-race
Graves said he is ultimately a businessman, not a politician, and dropping out of the race for Minnesota's 6th District will allow him to focus on his work and family.
Jim Graves is the only Democrat who has come close to defeating Bachmann, losing by a single percentage point and a difference of 4,000 votes last November.
WHO WILL WIN THE 6TH?
Former gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer sent out an email saying he's strongly considering a run. Reps. Matt Dean and Peggy Scott, Sens. Michelle Benson, John Pederson and Mary Kiffmeyer and former Rep. Phil Krinkie are also being mentioned as Republican successors to Bachmann's seat.
"I have every confidence will have a strong list of candidates that will appeal to the mainstream voter in the 6th District," Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey said.
WHAT ABOUT THE DEMOCRATS?
Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin said the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee supported Graves, and the decision wasn't motivated by money or polling. But the latest campaign filing at the end of March showed Bachmann with $683,000 in the bank and Graves with just $2,000.
Martin released the following statement Friday:
"While I am disappointed that Jim Graves has dropped out of the race for Congress, he ran a good campaign in 2012 and has laid the groundwork for another DFL candidate in 2014.
"It's not often an open seat becomes available for a seat in Congress. Although it's a conservative district, with the right candidate this is a great opportunity for Democrats. Residents of the 6th CD haven't had someone in Washington D.C. working on their behalf in eight years. They understand that if Republicans put forward another far-right, Tea Party candidate, it will be politics as usual for them.
"Within the next days and weeks we'll see Democrats announce their intention to run and in 2014 we'll have a strong candidate who will connect with voters."
JIM GRAVES' LETTER TO SUPPORTERS
This is the most difficult message I've ever had to write.
A year ago, we set out on a mission: To restore civility, functionality and honesty to Washington by removing Michele Bachmann from office. Her hateful rhetoric and dangerous policies fueled an extremist movement unlike anything we'd seen in a long time. The tone it created was a poison pill that crippled Congress, preventing government from performing its most basic duties, like passing a budget.
Over this past year, I've never been more inspired. Thousands and thousands and thousands of you stepped up to the plate and sacrificed – your time, your money, your energy – to make our country a better place. Your passion will be etched into my memory forever.
This week, we learned that we succeeded. We set out to defeat Rep. Bachmann, and that has been accomplished. You should feel incredibly proud. After all, it was the grassroots movement you built that forced Rep. Bachmann from her seat in Congress.
I'll never be able to thank you enough for being part of this team. But after struggling with this decision – agonizing over it with my friends, supporters and family, I've decided to suspend my campaign indefinitely.
As I said, I've never faced a more difficult decision. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your support and dedication.
Your friendship means the world to my family and me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
MORE BACHMANN / GRAVES
- 6 reactions from 6th District on Bachmann's decision: http://bit.ly/17EfOig
- Fmr. Chief of Staff: Michele Bachmann 'going to do it big': http://bit.ly/10NiHVW
- Graves vows to run again (Apr. 11): http://bit.ly/YQiGCY