ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Rep. Michele Bachmann’s announcement that she won’t seek a fifth term has her most recent opponent saying that she “read the tea leaves,” in an apparent reference to her Tea Party ties.READ MORE: Former Minneapolis Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson Fighting Stage 5 Kidney Disease
Jim Graves spoke with WCCO-TV political reporter Pat Kessler on WCCO This Morning just hours after Bachmann made her announcement on YouTube.
“People want a change. They want a businessperson who is rigorous with the facts and can deliver good representation in congress,” Graves said.
Graves ran on the Democratic ticket against Bachmann last November. Graves is a businessman who built his wealth in the hotel business.
He came just under 4,300 votes and just over 1 percentage point from winning that election, the closest Bachmann has ever come to being defeated in her four bids in Minnesota’s 6th congressional district.READ MORE: Ex-Soldier's Company Works To Provide Security, Peace Of Mind For Churches
Graves said he “respectfully disagrees” with Bachmann’s statement that she did not take the closeness of re-election bid in 2012 against Graves to heart in making this decision, and added he doesn’t believe the ongoing ethics probe into her presidential campaign played a factor.
Graves told Kessler that, though she was often a magnet for political controversy, “she was passionate, she worked hard, she believed in what she was doing. People give her credit for that.
“But I do think the times are changing,” he continued. “I think Congress is broken and she’s part of that problem in Washington. I think it’s a good decision for the people that she’s going to move on and do something different.”
Graves, who says he believes he would have won in a 2014 rematch against Bachmann, says he still plans on running again on the DFL ticket in the 6th district, though the district is rated the most Republican-leaning in the state by the Cook Partisan Voting Index.MORE NEWS: Police: Boy's Body Found In Trunk Of Car In Mound, 2 Arrested
“It isn’t about Michele Bachmann or Jim Graves,” he said. “It’s about the people. … I think they really did want a change.”