Graves: “I’m really not a Democrat”

DFL congressional candidate Jim Graves is distancing himself from the party that endorsed him.

Graves, the DFL challenger to Rep. Michele Bachmann, last month told the Times he won’t defend his party’s 2012 standard-bearer, President Barack Obama.

Graves, a hotel magnate who’s never held elected office, put more rhetorical daylight between himself and the DFL in a recent interview on The Late Debate with Jack & Ben, a Twin Cities talk radio show.

“I’m really not a Democrat,” Graves told the show’s hosts, Jack Tomczak and Benjamin Kruse. “I’m an independent spirit. I don’t fit anybody’s brand, quite frankly.”

When asked why he didn’t run as an independent, Graves flatly said his decision to run as a Democrat was “practical.”

“If I ran as an independent, I wouldn’t win,” Graves added.

Graves received the DFL endorsement in April to oppose Bachmann, R-Stillwater, who’s seeking her fourth term representing Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District. The 6th, which includes the St. Cloud area and part of the northern Twin Cities suburbs, is widely considered to be the most conservative of Minnesota’s eight congressional districts.

This isn’t the first time Graves has suggested he doesn’t always line up with his fellow Democrats.

Speaking to the Times last month, Graves gave mixed reviews to two of Obama’s signature pieces of legislation, the federal health care and financial overhaul acts. Graves also panned Obama’s push to enact the so-called Buffett Rule, which would set a minimum effective tax rate for millionaires.

Mark Sommerhauser

About Mark Sommerhauser

Greetings! I cover state and some federal politics for the St. Cloud Times. Before this, I worked the political beat at the Winona Daily News.
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