- The Washington Times - Friday, May 31, 2013

Two days after Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann said she wouldn’t seek re-election next year for her Minnesota House seat, her primary Democratic challenger has indefinitely suspended his campaign.

Jim Graves, a successful businessman who lost to Mrs. Bachmann by less than 2 percentage points in November, announced his intention last month to challenge her again in 2014. But with with polarizing tea party favorite now out of the race, he suggested his goal had been met.

“This was never about Jim Graves. This was about challenging the ineffective leadership and extremist ideology of Michele Bachmann,” he said in a prepared statement his campaign released. “…That goal was accomplished.”

He added that this supporters “are and should be incredibly proud of that accomplishment.”

In an interview with MinnPost, which broke the story of the Democrat’s decision to drop out, he described his move as “mission accomplished.”

“She wasn’t representing the people of the 6th District appropriately, and now she won’t be representing them,” he told the online news site. “There’s no way anyone could run and win who would be worse than Michele Bachmann. So we accomplished that task.”

SEE ALSO: Rep. Michele Bachmann won’t seek re-election to House

Graves spokesman Aaron Wells is possible Mr. Graves could re-enter the race later.

“While he is more likely to focus on improving the community in some other venue, I know he has not ruled anything out,” Mr. Wells said.

Mrs. Bachmann said she was stepping down when her term expires in January 2015 because eight years in the House was “long enough” and that she never intended to be a career politician.

The lawmaker said she had considered leaving Congress after her failed 2012 presidential run but decided to seek re-election because she didn’t want to “put this Republican seat in jeopardy.”

She added her decision to retire had nothing to do with recent inquiries into her presidential campaign finances.

Cheryl Chumley contributed to this report.

• Sean Lengell can be reached at slengell@washingtontimes.com.

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