With a top Democratic recruit on board, Rep. Michele Bachmann's re-election will be one of the most closely watched contests of the midterm elections.
Minnesota hotelier Jim Graves announced Thursday that he will seek a rematch against the four-term House Republican. Graves lost by just a single point in their 2012 matchup, and national Democrats are in turn expected to expend far more resources there than last cycle.
(Read more about House races in Roll Call: Top 5 House Rematches to Watch)
In a statement, Graves said Congress today 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. I'm not interested in celebrity, only in solutions."
Bachmann sought the Republican nomination for president in 2011 but dropped out after a sixth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses. Her time on the road likely hurt the congresswoman in her first re-election after redistricting.
Since squeaking out a victory in November, Bachmann has shunned the cable TV spotlight that made her a national figure. Local Republicans — and Democrats — have noticed her new low profile and renewed focus on the concerns of the district.
(See also in Roll Call: Bachmann Seeks Redemption at Home)
In response to Graves' announcement, Bachmann spokesman Dan Kotman noted that voters already picked the congresswoman over the Democrat once. The statement included three references to the "Obama-Pelosi" agenda.
"The last thing Minnesota families need in Congress is another liberal politician rubber stamping the Obama-Pelosi agenda of higher taxes and runaway government spending," Kotman said.