Democrat Jim Graves plans to run for U.S. Congress again in 2014, an encore to last November's fierce challenge of Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota's 6th District.
Graves' campaign manager, Aaron Wells, confirmed the news Thursday morning to the St. Cloud Times, and Graves spoke with FOX 9 News about his decision to give it another go.
The narrow margin of defeat in November 2012 -- a single percentage point and a difference of 4,000 votes -- and a longer campaign period were factors in Graves' decision to run again.
"I think that the people of the district need representation," Graves told FOX 9 News. "I think it's lacking right now, and that's why I'm running."
Graves is the only Democrat to come close to unseating Bachmann, and he said he believes a little extra time is all he needs to convince voters he's the better candidate in what is certainly a formidable field.
"We looked back at what happened in 2012 and we came to the conclusion that we didn't have enough time to get out through the district to get the message out -- who I am, what I stand for," Graves said. "We don't want to short-change that process."
Bachmann spent nearly $20 million to fight-off Graves and secure her fourth term in Congress -- an unbelievable amount of money for a congressional seat. Bachmann won by a slim margin after out-raising Graves by 700 percent, but the political newcomer handled the defeat with respect.
"If Michele and Marcus have the vote, then we're going to wish them the best going forward," Graves told FOX 9 the morning after the election.
In choosing to run again, the race for the Sixth District seems like it will pick up where it left off, pitting a national-known conservative against a successful hotel entrepreneur. Yet, by announcing early, Graves believes he will give his campaign more time to define himself and raise money. In light of Bachmann's fundraising finesse, he may need it.
For her part, Bachmann seemed prepared for a challenge. During an appearance at the Minnesota Capitol this week, she acknowledged she's a national target for Democrats. In fact, she's No. 1 on the House Majority PAC's Top 10 list of Republicans to defeat in 2014.
"I'm being targeted," she said.
She's also ready, even strategically anticipating Graves' announcement. On Thursday, she released a highly-produced YouTube video portraying Graves as a puppet for President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi -- a claim Graves quickly denied.
"As far as being a 'rubber stamp' to Pelosi or Obama, the fact of the matter is: I have no problem standing up to anybody if they're on the wrong side of an issue and I have no problem standing with somebody, whether it's John Boehner or anybody else, if they have the right solution," Graves told FOX 9 News.
Throughout his candidacy, Graves touted his business experience as a self-made hotelier who founded the AmericInn motel chain in the 1970s. He sold it in 1993 and now runs Graves Hospitality, a company that develops and manages hotels and restaurants, including the Graves 601 Hotel in Minneapolis.