MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Memorial Day weekend is hardly campaign season so you may have been surprised to see that 18 months before voters go to the polls, Rep. Michele Bachmann is already running campaign ads.

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It’s an unusual move for any candidate much less one who is a nationally recognized figure.

So why is Bachmann running so hard?

Bachmann can certainly afford to run ads this early. In the House, the $14 million she raised in 2012 was second only to Speaker John Boehner’s reelection haul. Her ads come at a time when an investigation into her 2012 presidential campaign is heating up.

Both Congress and reportedly the FBI are looking into alleged campaign finance improprieties. Nationally, Democrats are already rallying around businessman Jim Graves, who came within a percentage point of beating her in 2012 and has already announced he will run again.

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Graves appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning.

“I think Michele Bachmann is starting early because she feels this is going to be a very tight race and she has a lot of ground to cover so she is doing the same thing she has always done, which is tooting her own horn,” Graves said.

Congresswoman Bachmann may have had a bumpy few months but she has recently gotten a significant boost with the revelation that the Tea Party she helps lead was targeted by the IRS.

Bachmann has jumped on the fact that IRS will play a major role in administering the President’s Health Care Reform plan — a plan she is trying to repeal. 2014 is also not a Presidential election year — so Democratic turnout is expected to be lower. And the 6th District remains the most conservative and republican in the state.

Congresswoman Bachmann said she is convinced she will be cleared of any wrongdoing. She was invited but was unable to appear on WCCO Sunday Morning.

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You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Matt Brickman every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Esme Murphy