Bachmann appears to have fended off tough challenge from Graves

It appears Rep. Michele Bachmann has turned away a strong Sixth District charge from DFL challenger Jim Graves’ to notch fourth term in Congress.

With 279 of 280 precincts reporting, Bachmann has 179,653 votes or 50.41 percent of the vote compared to 175,716 votes or 49.31 percent. There were 980 write in votes.

Early Wednesday, the Associated Press called the race for Bachmann, after she led by slightly more than 1 percentage point with 98 percent of the precincts reporting.

Shortly after 5 a.m., Bachmann’s campaign declared victory in a news release.

“It has truly been an honor and a privilege to represent the people of Minnesota’s Sixth District in Congress, and I am humbled that they have placed their trust in me for another term,” she stated in the release.

The margin that Bachmann leads by would put the race outside the range for an automatic recount, but Graves could still seek and pay for one.

Minnesota news organizations began reporting Bachmann’s 51 percent to 49 percent margin of victory shortly after 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Unofficial results reported shortly after 4 a.m. Wednesday and posted on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website showed Bachmann with a narrower lead. Bachmann had received 176,284 votes (50.40 percent) to Graves’ 172,553 votes (49.33 percent) with 274 out of 280 precincts reporting.

Graves, an independently wealthy businessman and hotel developer from St. Cloud who cast himself as a pro-business candidate, directly challenged Bachmann’s conservative grip on the Sixth District.

Throughout a long election night, the margin between the two candidates remained razor-thin as election returns trickled in from throughout the district.

The tight race surprised Chase Kroll, Bachmann’s campaign manager, but he remained confident Bachmann would emerge victorious. “I did not think it was going to be this late, but I still think we are going to win,” he said. Kroll predicted that unreported results in Sherburne County and Wright County would push Bachmann to an early morning victory. “We are still looking at the vast majority of Sherburne County,” Kroll said shortly before 1 a.m. “Sherburne County will create a very wide margin for Michele. Kroll didn’t think the possibility of a recount was likely. “I don’t think it’s going to happen,” he said. Additionally, Kroll said Bachmann would not speak with reporters until later Wednesday or after the Associated Press officially called the Sixth District race.

Campaign Manager Adam Graves said Wednesday morning shortly before 5 a.m. the Graves campaign would issue a later statement but wasn’t willing to concede the race.