Archive for the ‘Michele Bachmann’ Category

The DFL started setting up a phony storyline to propel them back into the majority in the Minnesota legislature during Gov. Dayton’s State of the State Address in 2011. At a time when nobody was thinking about a possible special session to pass the budget, Gov. Dayton asked the legislature to pledge not to shut government down.

By early May, it was clear that Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen were hoping for a government shutdown. At midnight, July 1, 2011, the Dayton/DFL shutdown became reality.

Along the way, the DFL and ABM started talking about the do-nothing legislature. What’s interesting is that the DFL legislature didn’t submit a budget nor did they submit a set of redistricting maps. The DFL won’t talk about that because that cost Minnesota taxpayers $188,000 in exchange for…nothing.

Here in Central Minnesota, the goal is to go 12 for 12 in ’12. The goal is to elect Jeff Howe, Jim Newberger, David Fitzsimmons and Nick Zerwas to their first terms in the House. We expect to re-elect Tim O’Driscoll, Steve Gottwalt, King Banaian and Sondra Erickson to the House. We expect to send Michelle Fischbach, John Pederson and Dave Brown back to the Senate while adding Mary Kiffmeyer to the Senate.

While I haven’t studied the entire state, a couple of races caught my attention. John Carlson is matched against Tom Saxhaug in SD-5. I’m picking Sen. Carlson to win by 8-10 points. Carolyn McElfatrick is paired against Tom Anzelc in HD-5B with Larry Howes matched against John Persell in HD-5A. I expect McElfatrick to win by 4-6 points. I expect Howes to squeak out a victory against Persell.

When the dust settles, I expect Republicans to keep control of the Legislature, mostly on the strength of their recent candidates. The fire-breathing zealots that Tom Bakk and Paul Thissen whined about will be returned to torture Mssrs. Bakk and Thissen. Republicans will have a 71-63 majority in the House and a 38-29 majority in the Senate.

As for the congressional races, John Kline, Erik Paulsen, Michele Bachmann and Chip Cravaack will win re-election. Rumors from Tuesday night that Alida Rockefeller-Dayton-Messinger is demanding Ken Martin’s head on a platter shouldn’t be taken seriously, though understanding why nobody’s heard of his whereabouts should be taken seriously.

The quality of the GOP legislative candidates will be a major reason why Republicans did so well. The leadership at the BPOU and congressional district levels, with a couple exceptions, will be a GOP strength, too.

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Jim Graves says he’s a new type of Democrat. Let’s remember that he was the guest of honor at a fundraiser hosted by Barney Frank. Likewise, Graves didn’t sound like a new Democrat in this video:

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When Melissa Harris-Perry asks him about GOP extremism, listen to what Graves says:

Let me ask you this question. We’re trying to figure out if the extremes that are often represented by the woman that you are running against, whether or not that is ultimately going to bring down the republican party in the short term or if not in the short term, —

No question about it. Michele Bachmann epitomizes everything that’s wrong on the women’s issues. She has engaged in a war on women. She would like to take women back 50 years, go back to a male dominant society, control women’s reproductive rights, control everything about women. Definitely it’s a war on women and it will definitely be a very important issue in this election.

HARRIS-PERRY: It’s interesting to hear you say that because clearly Michele Bachmann is a woman. So you have sort of a complicated thing going on here where you’re saying she herself is a woman and mother and yet her positions are positions that don’t lead to sort of greater equality, fairness for women in general, who would be your constituents if you won.

GRAVES: You look at the her voting record, she votes against reproductive rights, she votes against even women to have access to birth control. This is a woman that would like to take that entire half of our society back 50 years and go back to a male dominant society. This is really why I came out of my comfort zone. I’m a strong believer in freedom and equality for everybody. And when you see…she’s endorsed Akin. She is on the wrong side of this issue right across the board. No question about about that.

It’s apparent that Mr. Graves is a one trick pony. Actually, that isn’t true. He’s a totally unreliable one trick pony.

It’s apparent that Mr. Graves will say and do whatever Nancy Pelosi tells him to do if he gets that far. Michele, on the other hand, has stood up against the GOP when they got things wrong.

The bottom line is this: Jim Graves sounds like a new Democrat when nobody’s paying attention. Otherwise, he’s just another DFL chanting points machine.

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Six days ago, KSTP announced that Michele Bachmann led her opponent by 9 points:

In an election today for the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, high-profile incumbent Republican congresswoman Michele Bachmann is re-elected, defeating DFL challenger Jim Graves 50% to 41%, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted for KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities.

This morning, the Star Tribune’s poll shows Michele Bachmann leading by 6 points:

Bachmann, who is waging one of the most expensive House campaigns in the nation against a political newcomer, is favored by 51 percent of likely voters in Minnesota’s sprawling Sixth Congressional District, which stretches from west of St. Cloud into Woodbury. Another 45 percent would choose Graves, a St. Cloud native and owner of Graves Hospitality Corp., an expansive hotel chain. Four percent of voters are undecided.

It’d be foolish to say that this race is over. It isn’t foolish to say that Michele’s opponent is facing an increasingly uphill fight, though.

Michele is getting over the magical 50% mark, which definitely puts a smile on Michele’s campaign manager’s face. It doesn’t mean Chase Kroll’s life is all peaches and cream. It just means his client’s is in a positive position.

With closing arguments starting, and with Michele’s lead solidifying, it’ll be difficult for Michele’s opponent to get the traction he’d need to mount an effective rally.

This information is welcome news for Michele’s campaign:

The Graves campaign has been hitting Bachmann on economic issues, including the recent shutdown at the Verso Paper Corp. mill in Sartell, and working to cast Graves as the pro-business candidate in the race. But when asked which candidate would be more effective at working to improve the economy and create jobs in the district, 49 percent of poll respondents named Bachmann, 43 percent picked Graves and 7 percent were undecided.

This was supposed to be the logic behind Graves’ campaign. Instead, Michele’s viewed as the better choice for business. That’s probably because she’s vowed to work on fixing everything that’s fatally flawed with Dodd-Frank but it’s mostly because Michele’s promising to repeal the AHCA.

The strategy could resonate in a district where 55 percent of voters have said they wanted to see the Affordable Health Care Act repealed and only 38 percent want to keep it in place.

In short, Michele’s positioned herself well for her district. Her opponent, on the other hand, isn’t saying what he’s for. That’s why it’s impossible to tell whether he’s positioned himself well on the issue in the Sixth District.

With a little more than 2 weeks left in the campaign, Michele’s in a solid position. Defeating isn’t impossible, though it’d take an act of God to defeat her.

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People for the American Way, one of DC’s most liberal special interest groups, is trying to kick Michele Bachmann off the House Intelligence Committee with trumped up charges. Here’s what they’re saying:

In an Oct. 3 paid message in The Nation magazine, People for the American Way said “these fringe conspiracy theories and McCarthyite fear tactics have no place in Congress and especially have no place on the House Intelligence Committee.”

Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, Lynn Westmoreland, Tom Feeney and Trent Franks asked the IGs of several cabinet departments to investigate whether the Muslim Brotherhood was gaining undue influence on US foreign policy. That’s what PFAW characterizes as “fringe conspiracy theories and McCarthyite fear tactics.”

PFAW is nothing more than another fringe lefty organization. They’ve got a patriotic-sounding name and a radical leftist agenda. PFAW’s board of directors reads like a who’s who of committed leftists. Alec Baldwin, Mary Frances Berry, Julian Bond and founder Norman Lear are the highest profile board members. This key paragraph from PFAW’s statement on John Roberts’ confirmation as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court speaks volumes:

We are disappointed with those Democrats and moderate Republicans who chose to support Judge Roberts, despite his long record of working to undermine rights and legal protections, his evasive answers to the Senate, and the Bush administration’s continued refusal to release key documents that would have illuminated his record and approach to the Constitution.

That’s BS. John Roberts was a judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals for 2 years before his confirmation as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s impossible to accumulate a “long record of working to undermine rights.”

Now PFAW is criticizing Michele Bachmann, arguing that she’s using McCarthyite fear tactics.

“Rep. Bachmann’s reckless behavior is an abuse of her sensitive position on the committee, a threat to our national security, and an discredit her office and to our great nation ….I think the time has come for her to be removed from Congress once and for all.”

Graves’ statement sounds awfully similar to PFAW’s statement. That’s proof he isn’t the new Democrat he’s said he is.

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Though recent polling shows Michele Bachmann with a solid lead, the DCCC has decided to assist Jim Graves:

Buoyed by internal polling that shows hotel magnate Jim Graves within striking distance of tea party favorite Michele Bachmann, House Democratic leaders are set to pump resources into the race to help the Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate knock the three-term incumbent off her perch.

The DCCC’s definition of “within striking distance” is interesting:

Israel cited internal poll numbers from Graves’ campaign showing he trails Bachmann, a former presidential candidate, by just two percentage points. The poll also shows Bachmann with a 57 percent unfavorable rating and a 20-point swing against her among independent voters.

“Voters are experiencing buyer’s remorse with Congresswoman Bachmann and her relentless desire to put ideology over solutions,” Israel said.

A KSTP-TV poll released Monday suggests Graves still has some ground to make up between now and Nov. 6. The poll conducted Oct. 9-11 of 598 likely voters shows Bachmann up 50 percent to 41 percent, with 9 percent undecided. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percent.

Graves has talked endlessly about being competitive. The KSTP-SurveyUSA poll shows what’s reality. When Graves attended a fundraiser hosted by Barney Frank, he lost 2-4 points in the polling. That’s because people know that Frank is the man who brought the housing market to its knees.

The KSTP-SurveyUSA poll is an extremely reliable poll. In 2010, their final polling showed Tim Walz with a 9 point lead and Jim Oberstar with a tiny 1 point lead. Walz won by 9 and Oberstar lost by 4,000 votes. In 2006, they predicted a 9 point victory for Rep. Bachmann. Michele won 50-41 against Patty Wetterling.

Let’s dispel some myths about the internal polling. First off, the 57% disapproval rating for Michele is utter myth. Thanks to redistricting, the district is more conservative this time than 2010, when Michele won with 53% of the vote. Michele’s supporters are just as committed today as they were in 2010.

For the 57% figure to be true, Michele’s approval would have had to drop 10-12 points in 2 years. That’s BS. The business community is just as solidly behind her this time as they were 2 years ago. She’s still the TEA Party’s darling. Those two groups comprised 90+ percent of Michele’s support.

Second, independents aren’t as big in the Sixth as in other districts. A 20-point swing of independents isn’t as big a swing of actual votes as it would be in the Third, Seventh or Eighth.

Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, announced Monday the DCCC has elevated Graves’ campaign to its “Red-to-Blue” program, which targets the most highly competitive challenges to Republican-held seats.

That’s pure spin from Rep. Israel. A 9-point Bachmann lead isn’t competitive, especially when she’s reached the magical 50% mark. In 2010, Michele campaigned hard in the district. This year, she’s campaigning harder this time around.

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The content of this article is disgusting from the standpoint that it questions documented fact. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Lyle Fleck doesn’t appreciate being called a liar.

That was Tuesday’s message from the president of the union for workers at Sartell’s shuttered Verso paper mill and other mill workers who appeared in a recent campaign ad for congressional candidate Jim Graves, DFL-St. Cloud.

The ad criticized Graves’ opponent, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., for what the workers call her failure to personally reach out to them after an explosion halted most mill operations on Memorial Day. Verso announced in August that it would permanently close the century-old paper mill, leaving more than 250 employees out of work.

At Tuesday afternoon’s event, the mill workers in attendance reacted to Bachmann labeling the Verso ad “a lie” in an interview with the Times last month.

Mr. Fleck needs to wise up. KSTP put Mr. Graves’ ad through their Truth Test to see if the claims in it were accurate. KSTP’s final grade for the ad was a D:

“Bachmann was in the district on Memorial Day weekend in Stillwater attending events when the explosion happened but didn’t go to the scene. However, a Bachmann staff member was there within an hour.

The ad said Mrs. Bachmann didn’t care about the workers. That’s verifiably false. Mr. Graves knows it’s verifiably false. Mr. Fleck knows that’s verifiably false.

First, a Bachmann office staffer there in less than an hour on a Sunday morning of Memorial Day Weekend. Second, that was just the first of many contacts between Rep. Bachmann’s office and plant workers:

“Meanwhile, the Bachmann staff member said she attended meetings at Sartell City Hall focused on the Verso plant on June 4th and June 11th. On August 2, Verso announced that it wouldn’t re-open. Later that day, Bachmann issued a press release offering assistance to the city and workers.

Within hours of Verso announcing their decision, Rep. Bachmann issued a statement offering assistance to the city and the workers. Mr. Fleck insists this was a PR stunt:

Fleck called that meeting “an orchestrated photo-op” and said he and other mill workers were miffed that union officials weren’t invited. “The whole thing seemed staged, too little, too late,” Fleck said.

If Fleck is truly upset with politicians doing photo ops, then Sen. Klobuchar should top that complaint list, not Rep. Bachmann. I know the staffers in the Bachmann congressional office. I’ve attended some of their meetings with the community.

They’re detail-oriented and thoughtful. They stay at the event or meeting until the last question is answered. In short, they’re consummate professionals.

Mr. Fleck needs to get his head screwed on straight. Rep. Bachmann didn’t call him a liar, as he insists. Rep. Bachmann simply agreed that many of the statements in Mr. Graves’ ad weren’t accurate. That’s a far cry from calling Mr. Fleck a liar.

It isn’t a stretch to wonder if Mr. Fleck and/or Mr. Graves are engaging in a bit of political gamesmanship. Graves certainly has the motivation after having his content ad given a D for content. Mr. Fleck certainly has ample motivation for such a PR stunt because unions have frequently fought with Rep. Bachmann because she didn’t hesitate in saying she wouldn’t support EFCA, aka Card Check. Card Check was the unions’ highest priority in a generation or more.

Finally, it’s interesting that this is the first complaint I’ve heard about Rep. Bachmann’s attentiveness to constituent services. Purely by coincidence, the first complaint about Rep. Bachmann’s office is part of a paid political ad by her opponent.

What are the odds?

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Monday night, Michele Bachmann celebrated the grand opening of her St. Cloud Victory Office with 75-100 of her most passionate supporters. After Rep. Bachmann’s brief speech, several veteran activists were asked about the growing storyline that Rep. Bachmann is losing support.

The Bachmann supporters unanimously said that they haven’t seen proof that that’s happened. They did say, though, that they’ve seen the stories. One supporter said that he enthusiastically supported Rep. Bachmann because “she’s never abandoned her principles.” Another supporter said that it wouldn’t surprise anyone if this was part of a DFL whispering campaign.

Another supporter identified himself as a local businessman. He said Mr. Graves hurt himself badly by attending a fundraiser hosted by Barney Frank. This businessman said that that event would probably cost Graves 5 points of support with Sixth District voters.

The businessman said that Graves’ biggest selling points prior to the Frank fundraiser were his claim that he isn’t a cookie-cutter Democrat and his business background. Those vanished when he attended Frank’s fundraiser because Franks, in the minds of most businessmen, is the man who caused the credit crisis that’s still hurting the housing market.

He’s also seen as one of the most liberal congressmen in DC.

Neither of those things will help Graves with Sixth District voters. Bachmann defeated a liberal Tarryl Clark in 2010 by a 53%-40% margin. This year, Jim Graves is portraying himself as a moderate, just like Sen. Clark did. This year, the Sixth District is more conservative than in 2010, keeping this an uphill climb for Michele Bachmann’s opponent.

That was a plausible argument prior to his fundraiser with Frank. Now that argument isn’t plausible.

During her brief rally speech, Bachmann touted the campaigns of local legislators like Sen. John Pederson, Rep. King Banaian and House District candidates Jim Newberger and Jeff Howe. Howe is a retired military veteran running in an open seat created by Rep. Larry Hosch’s retirement. Newberger is running in a new district created by this year’s redistricting.

Rep. Bachmann wasn’t bashful about her goal of making the Sixth District a “DFL legislator-free district.”

Newberger and Howe are expected to help with making Rep. Bachmann’s goal a reality.

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Thursday afternoon, congressional candidate Jim Graves visited the KNSI studio to be interviewed by afternoon talk show host Dan Ochsner. During his interview Ochsner asked Graves for his take on Wednesday night’s presidential debate.

Graves said that it was obvious Mitt Romney won, noting that “Romney was really on top of his talking points.”

That’s a rather condescending way of saying that Mitt Romney had a thorough understanding of everything President Obama threw at him. As I wrote here and here, Mitt’s answers, whether it was on tax or regulatory policy, energy or Dodd-Frank, were outstanding and detailed.

Speaking of Dodd-Frank, Ochsner asked Graves about his thoughts on banking regulations and the role of government. Graves said his rule of thumb was that government shouldn’t do anything that people can do for themselves, citing law enforcement, public safety and transportation as examples for things governmental responsibilities. Graves then said that Dodd-Frank added difficult capitalization burdens on smaller banks, noting that it’s easier for bigger banks to raise capital than it is for smaller banks.

That’s an accurate description of one of Dodd-Frank’s onerous regulations.

What’s odd is that Rep. Barney Frank, the Frank in Dodd-Frank, hosted a fundraiser for Mr. Graves in Minneapolis Wednesday night as part of a debate-watching party.

Frank is the man who infamously said that Fannie and Freddie, which caused the financial meltdown:

Here’s part of what he said at a congressional hearing in 2003:

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not in a crisis. The more people, in my judgment, exaggerate the threat of safety and soundness, the more people conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the treasury, which I do not see — I think we see entities that are fundamentally sound that could withstand some of the disaster scenarios, and even if there were a problem, the federal government wouldn’t bail them out.

Why would a businessman who’s touting himself as not being in lockstep with Nancy Pelosi then accept fundraisin’.g help from one of the chief architects of the financial meltdown?

It suggests that Graves’ political policies wouldn’t reflect his policy preferences as CEO in the private sector.

Michele Bachmann warned against Dodd-Frank. In fact, she’d like to repeal it, then get the regulations right. That includes eliminating the too-big-to-fail classification of the five biggest banks that are part of the bill.

Thanks to his associations with the architect of the financial collapse, we aren’t certain Mr. Graves would eliminate those reckless regulations.

That’s something Minnesotans, especially those who want to get a home loan, can’t afford.

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Barney Frank is coming to Minneapolis to host a fundraiser for Jim Graves. They’ve picked the night of the first presidential debate to hold the fundraiser. Here’s the invitation:

Dear friends,

It’ll be a big night in politics indeed! And, I hope you’ll be there to enjoy the evening with me.

Congressman Barney Frank will be there too. He called last week, asking to host an event simply because he’s joined the legions of people across the nation who support me and my mission to restore sanity to American politics.

For fun, we’re timing his visit with abig-screen viewing of the first presidential debate in Cosmos at the Graves 601. It’ll be a lively evening, with drinks, great food and engaging discussions.

Did I mention that I sincerely hope that you’ll be able to join us?

The race against Michele Bachmann is polling within 2 points. I sincerely believe we’re going to win this thing, but she’s eons ahead of us in fundraising. We need to make sure we can get my message out – because it resonates with the voters!

The invite is below. Please do me a favor and pass it along to any friends and family you think may be interested as well.

If you can join me on October 3rd, simply RSVP to the email address on the invitation. (If you can’t, you’ll be missed but you can still go to [a deleted url] and make a donation).

Your support is deeply appreciated.

The thought that Barney Frank, one of the most unapologetic liberals in Congress the last 20+ years, is hosting a fundraiser for Jim Graves is like manna from heaven for Michele. She’s probably thinking that she just hit a Powerball jackpot.

First, Barney Frank is one of the chief culprits behind the credit/Fannie/Freddie meltdown. Michele voted against it. The odds of her putting an ad together on this topic are 100%.

Next, Barney Frank is one of the most divisive, combative congressmen in recent history. The thought that Frank thinks Jim Graves will “restore sanity to American politics” is laughable. Frank couldn’t find sanity if his life depended on it.

The fact that Graves thinks Frank is a plus for him give us insight into Mr. Graves’ thinking. The fact that he’s hosting the event in Minneapolis indicates he’s targeting the richest liberal fatcats in the state. The people who are likely to attend will have the ability to write checks with lots of zeros in them.

There’s nothing wrong with that. God bless free speech.

It’s just that it’s an indicator that Graves can’t get contributions from the richest liberal fatcats on Tuesday night, then tell Sixth District voters that he’s a centrist who’s bringing people together Wednesday morning.

That dog won’t hunt in the Sixth District.

Seriously, Michele must’ve thought Christmas came early when she heard about Barney Frank hosting a Jim Graves fundraiser.

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The mistake that Jim Graves is making in his campaign against Michele Bachmann is that he isn’t saying what he’s for. His first TV ad was biographical. Graves’ second TV ad featured a bunch of former Verso employees who said that Michele Bachmann hadn’t personally reached out to them.

It’s easy to empathize with their situation, though they’re less sympathetic when they’re used in a political attack ad. (See Joe Soptic about that.) It isn’t easy identifying with a guy who thinks people in the Sixth District will be persuaded to switching their votes by playing on people’s heartstrings.

A real candidate would offer specific solutions to the district’s, and the nation’s, biggest problems. It’s been 4 months since he won the DFL endorsement but he still hasn’t offered solutions to things like lowering people’s electric bills, gas prices or grocery prices.

He hasn’t proposed policies that would create jobs. The only thing he’s done is said he would’ve voted for President Obama’s stimulus bill. That’s the bill that created trillion dollar deficits but didn’t create many jobs.

Michele Bachmann has proposed repealing the ACA, the biggest job-killing bill in U.S. history. Thanks to the ACA, small businesses that would otherwise expand are choosing not to.

Graves, a hotel and restaurant developer from St. Cloud, said in a statement that Bachmann’s ad is using “falsehoods to distract voters from her record of reckless spending in Congress and her failure to represent the people of her district.

The first point in Michele’s ad attacks Graves for supporting President Obama’s “failed stimulus bill.” Tom Hauser said that Graves supported the bill. He then said that it’s opinion that the bill is a failure. The next point in Michele’s ad was that Graves supported TARP. Again, Hauser said that that’s accurate.

The third point in Michele’s ad said that Graves supports the trillion dollar tax increase in the ACA. Hauser said that Graves supports many parts of the ACA but that he didn’t support other parts. When I talked with him at a Townhall Tuesday event, he said that the ACA was based on free market capitalist principles.

That means it’s likely Graves would’ve voted for final passage of the ACA. Whether he liked the tax increases initially or not, he would’ve voted for tens of billions of dollars of middle class tax increases. That part is indisputable.

In other words, everything Michele Bachmann said in the ad is accurate. That’s why KSTP gave it a B- in accuracy. That’s one of the best grades you’ll see this year.

“You found time to participate in 15 debates during your run for President. During that time you missed 320 votes over 40 days in which you were campaigning outside of Minnesota,” Graves wrote in a letter to Bachmann on Thursday, Sept. 20. “You found a way to make yourself available for voters in Iowa and South Carolina and New Hampshire. And yet when it comes to your own constituents, the people who actually pay your salary, you refuse to give them the same time and attention.”

Every weekend, Michele Bachmann meets with her constituents in the district. She’s told them where she stands on all of the important issues of the day, whether it’s energy policy, taxes, spending, regulatory reform or repealing the ACA.

Michele’s constituents don’t know Mr. Graves’ positions on the important issues. It’s quite possible they don’t care. I haven’t seen any proof that her base of support has weakened since 2010, when she won by 13 points.

If Graves wants people to know about him, he can open his wallet buy the advertising he needs to introduce himself to the Sixth District. Candidates that want inordinate amounts of debates are usually trailing candidates who need a dramatic moment to upset the incumbent. (Think Jim Oberstar at the DECC.)

In terms of funding, Mr. Graves is a top-tier candidate. In terms of being a good fit for the district or being sharp on the issues, Mr. Graves isn’t a top-tier candidate.

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