|Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party nominee for
U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota's 6th district
November 6, 2012
|Opponent(s)||Michele Bachmann (R)|
|Incumbent||Michele Bachmann (R)|
September 27, 1953 |
St. Cloud, Minnesota
|Political party||Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party|
|Residence||St. Cloud, Minnesota|
|Alma mater||St. Cloud State University (B.S.)|
|Religion||Roman Catholic Church|
|Website||Jim Graves for Congress|
James J. Graves (born September 27, 1953) is an American businessman and founder of the nationwide AmericInn hotel franchise. He was the Democratic Party nominee for the United States House of Representatives in Minnesota's 6th congressional district in 2012, challenging Republican incumbent Michele Bachmann.
A native of Minnesota, Graves graduated from St. Cloud State University with a B.S. in Education. He worked as a teacher prior to founding the AmericInn in Rogers, Minnesota in 1979. As CEO, Graves grew the hotel from a small business to a nationwide hotel franchise. In 1993 he also co-founded the Graves Hospitality Corporation in Minneapolis. His luxury Graves 601 Hotel is rated by Travel + Leisure as one of the world's top 500 accommodations.
Graves gained national attention during his competitive congressional race against Republican incumbent Michelle Bachmann in 2012. Despite being outspent by a 12 to 1 margin in Minnesota's most conservative district, Graves lost the general election by 4,300 votes, or less than one-percent. In 2013 he announced his candidacy to challenge Bachmann in a political rematch in 2014, and is currently seeking the Democratic nomination.
Early life and education 
Born in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Graves attended Cathedral High School before earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from St. Cloud State University. During college, he and his wife performed as professional musicians and folk music singers.
Professional background 
Graves worked as a teacher at Holy Spirit Elementary School in St. Cloud for two years prior to entering business. In 1979 he founded AmericInn as a small business that expanded into a nationwide chain, and in 1993, began the luxury Graves Hospitality Corporation with his son.
2012 campaign 
In 2012, Graves received the Democratic Party nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives and began attracting national media attention after polls showed he was a competitive challenger to Congresswomen Michele Bachmann. Graves donated more than $500,000 to his own campaign.
Graves' campaign received bipartisan support across the political spectrum. He was endorsed by former Republican Governor Arne Carlson of Minnesota, former Minnesota Independence Party Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Horner, and Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Barney Frank, among others.
Graves came close to pulling off an upset victory against Rep. Bachmann, in what was one of the costliest congressional races in history. He lost by just one percent, despite being outspent twelve to one in what is widely considered Minnesota's most conservative district.
On the issue of abortion, during his 2012 campaign with Rep. Bachmann, Graves revealed he is pro-choice, stating during a Minnesota Public Radio-moderated debate that abortion is an issue between a woman, her family and her God: “I don’t want the government to be involved in that process.”
2014 campaign 
On April 11, 2013, Graves' campaign manager announced Graves' intention to run for the House of Representatives again in 2014, remaining in the sixth district.
- Murphy, Tim (April 12, 2012). "Meet Jim Graves, Michele Bachmann's Latest Would-Be Challenger". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
- Boldt, Megan (September 15, 2012). "Bachmann challenger Jim Graves focuses on his business experience". TwinCities.com. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
- Turrentine, Jeff (September 11, 2012). "Michele Bachmann and Jim Graves Fight for Minnesota's Sixth District". Slate.com. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
- Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann wins tight race in Minnesota, NBC News, November 7, 2012
- "Graves campaign raises $1M in third quarter". St. Cloud Times. October 15, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
- "Former Republican governor Carlson endorses Graves". St. Cloud Times. October 23, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
- Boldt, Megan (May 31, 2012). "Graves ready to challenge Bachmann in newly drawn 6th District for U.S. House". TwinCities.com. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
- Kimball, Joe (October 3, 2012). "Congressman Barney Frank to attend Jim Graves fundraising debate watch". MinnPost. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
- Sommerhauser, Mark (April 11, 2013). "Graves makes it official: He's running in 6th again". Retrieved April 11, 2013.
- Feyden, Susan (December 26, 2005). "The Hard Business of Luxury". Star Tribune.
- Wiley, Megan (February 1, 2009). "Rooms at the Top". Twin Cities Business.
- Murphy, Tim (April 12, 2012). "Meet Jim Graves, Michele Bachmann's Latest Would-Be Challenger". Mother Jones.
- Mitchell, Corey (June 20, 2012). "Graves' wealth is between $22M, $111M". Star Tribune.
- Weiner, Rachel (June 26, 2012). "Can Michele Bachmann Be Beat?". The Washington Post.
- Howley, Kerry (September 11, 2012). "Hotelier James Graves Wants to Make Minnesota Boring Again". Slate.
- "6th Congressional District Candidates". Minnesota Public Radio. 2012.
- Jim Graves for Congress official campaign website
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Profile at Ballotpedia
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Appearances on C-SPAN programs
- Campaign contributions at OpenSecrets.org
- Businessman Jim Graves is new type of challenge for Bachmann, Minnesota Public Radio, Conrad Wilson, October 25, 2012, text, audio and slideshow