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. [...]
Graves cites a "downdraft" created by Bachmann's controversial letter-writing mission to remove alleged "Islamist" infiltrators from U.S. government positions as another development breaking in his favor.
"I think it was a ploy to raise money and bring out the base," he said. "Even her own party came out against her. Senator McCain, Speaker Boehner… fearmongering is not going to bring jobs to this economy." [...]
It's all added up to a closer race than anyone could have expected. In recent weeks, the Rothenberg Political Report shifted their characterization from "Safe Republican" to "Republican Favored."
Graves is certainly not a shoe-in, because redistricting shored up Bachmann's suburban base and moved much of the more liberal, urban St. Cloud out. But any way you slice it, Graves is giving Bachmann a very real challenge. Witness the fact that the Bachmann campaign hasn't responded to Graves' release of internal polling showing the incumbent with just a two-point advantage, 48-46. It's been radio silence from her campaign (except, of course, for urgent fundraising appeals) which also refused comment on this ABC story.
With the large bloc of Independence Party supporters in the district up for grabs, with the top of the Republican ticket floundering, and with an energized Democratic challenger, this race has gone from a fun long-shot for our side, to a potential steal.
Let's give it a solid boost of grassroots, netroots support. Please donate $3 to Jim Graves.