Reporting Esme Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Congresswoman Michele Bachmann campaigned at a Lino Lakes gas station on Tuesday, calling for a dramatic expansion of domestic oil drilling to bring relief at the pump.
At about the same time, a new challenger to Bachmann came forward.
Businessman Jim Graves announced Tuesday he will be running as a democrat in the Sixth District. While he may not be a household name, many people are familiar with the Graves 601 hotel in downtown Minneapolis.
The Graves 601 Hotel is one part of the very successful Graves Hospitality Corporation, which Jim Graves founded.
He is a highly regarded business leader who said he wants to take on one of the nation’s best known members of Congress. After pumping gas at the Fast Track Gas station in Lino Lakes Tuesday, Rep. Bachmann said if the nation expanded domestic oil production, gas can be $2 a gallon again.
“If we legalize American energy production we will have the resources that we need and at a price people can afford,” Bachmann said.
Meanwhile at a St. Cloud hotel he owns, Graves announced he will be running against Bachmann.
“I guarantee I am going to be out there working for you every minute of every day,” Graves said.
Graves said he will run on a record of creating thousands of jobs and he wasted no time in taking a swipe at the Congresswoman’s presidential run.
“If you don’t show up for work at Graves Hospitality you get fired. Where has she been, where has she been? She has been running a campaign in Iowa, we are here in the sixth district working,” said Graves.
New redistricting lines mean Bachmann now lives outside the Sixth District. Graves, who grew up in St. Cloud, also lives outside the district but he plans to move back to the district soon. Political experts wonder what chance any Democrats have in the new very conservative Sixth District.
“This is almost a perfectly drawn district for Michele Bachmann so for any Democrat no matter how good they are it would be a very tough district to run in,” said Hamline Professor and Political Expert David Schultz.
During Tuesday’s news conference, “Unite Here,” a hospitality workers union, announced they are endorsing Graves. Two other democrats are running against Bachmann. They are St. Cloud attorney Anne Nolan and Brian McGoldrick of May Township.
The DFL nominating convention will be held this coming weekend. Graves said he will decide Saturday if he will abide by the nominating conventions decision or if he will run in the primary in August.