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Birthdate: Sept. 27, 1953
Birth Place: St. Cloud, MN, United States
Residence: St. Cloud, MN
Jim Graves was born and raised in St. Cloud, Minn., where he currently resides. He received a bachelor's degree from St. Cloud State University after working as a professional folk musician while a student.
Graves became a teacher before starting a small business in his basement. In 1979, he founded the AmericInn motel chain. The company grew into Graves Hospitality Corp., a privately held business that develops and manages independent luxury hotels, including the flagship Graves 601 Hotel in Minneapolis.
Graves and his wife, Julie, have three sons and seven grandchildren.
Jim Graves, making his first bid for public office, is trying to oust one of the country's top conservatives, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, a tea party favorite and 2012 presidential candidate.
In the race for Minnesota's 6th Congressional District, the Democratic challenger is painting Bachmann as out of touch with the right-leaning district, which runs through the northern and western Twin Cities suburbs to St. Cloud, where he is from. He charges Bachmann with neglecting the district in favor of her national reputation as a tea party favorite and former presidential candidate.
It's a charge Democrats have thrown at her before, without it sticking. Graves hopes this year will be different.
A hotel chain owner, he is emphasizing his business background as a selling point for creating jobs, a top priority of his campaign. He is running on the slogan, "Getting back to business."
In 2008, The New Yorker reported that then-presidential candidate Barack Obama had his future running mate, then-Sen. Joe Biden, smuggled into the chain's flagship Graves 601 Hotel in Minneapolis for a talk about joining the Democratic ticket.
Graves has dabbled in politics, mostly as a donor to Democratic causes. He launched his campaign to unseat Bachmann in April 2012, quickly winning the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party's endorsement. He also reached out to the Independence Party to clear the field for his challenge to Bachmann. For the first time since Bachmann won her seat in 2006, she will face a Democrat in a head-to-head matchup.
It's unclear if that will be enough to help Graves win in the solidly conservative district. Political observers give Bachmann the advantage as she seeks a fourth term.
Even though he's digging into his own pocket, Graves has been way behind Bachmann in fundraising. He dipped into his personal finances to offset some campaign costs, putting in $250,000 of his own money by midsummer. But Bachmann relies on a small-donor base to pile up millions for her campaign.
After the Supreme Court upheld the 2010 health care reform bill in June 2012, Graves issued a statement saying it was time for the country to move forward and work toward bipartisan solutions regarding health care. He criticized Bachmann for politicizing the health care issue.
Source: Associated Press
113th Congress on Twitter
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