Less than a year ago, Rep. Michele Bachmann was traveling the country, making her case to be the Republican Party’s presidential nominee. Today, six weeks out from that long-awaited election, she’s caught in an unexpectedly tight race to keep her seat in Congress.
Bachmann’s challenger, Minnesota hotel magnate Jim Graves, 58, entered the fray in early April, quickly rallying state Democrats to his side and, perhaps more importantly, convincing Independence Party leaders and candidates to stay out of the mix, putting as much as 10 percent of the electorate up for grabs.
In two of Bachmann’s three races, the vote tally for the Independence candidate has exceeded her margin of victory.
“This district has the most independents in the state,” Graves told ABC News. “So we went to the Independence Party and asked, ‘Can you guys help us out a little bit?’ Well they said, ‘We like you, Graves, we’ll support you.’”
Though he hasn’t received an official endorsement from Minnesota’s largest “third party,” their decision to stand down has allowed him to focus exclusively on the incumbent.
So the long and short here is that Bachmann’s benefited from third-party candidates until now — and without one, things suddenly get competitive for Shelly. ABC reports, “A recent poll commissioned by the Democrat shows Bachmann with a two-point lead (48-46 percent), within the margin of error.”