Rep. Bachmann seeks to use financial disclosure against her challenger.
WASHINGTON -- Hotel magnate Jim Graves, the Democratic challenger to Rep. Michele Bachmann, is worth between $22 million and $111 million, according to financial disclosure forms filed with the U.S. House.
Graves puts his actual net worth "somewhere in the middle" of the two numbers.
By Wednesday, Bachmann was fundraising off Graves' net worth.
"As you know, the Democrats have cherry-picked a self-funding, multi-millionaire to oppose me in my re-election to Congress," a Bachmann campaign e-mail on Wednesday read.
Asked how much of his holdings are liquid enough to spend on the election, Graves said he plans to seed his campaign but raise most of the money from others.
"I don't believe in buying elections," he said. "I don't believe in self-funding. If this is going to take traction, you want people's support."
Graves has already fed $100,000 into his campaign and acknowledges that he could probably fund the entire $3 million to $4 million he thinks he will need, but he said that he won't.
"I just don't think that's the right message for the district," he said. "I don't believe it is the right message for the country."
Of Bachmann's fundraising might, he said: "She's a virtual ATM machine. No question about that and I give her credit for that, if you will, and I think she is going to raise a lot of cash." Bachmann raised $13 million for her last congressional race.
Based on a financial disclosure filed in August 2011, Bachmann is worth at least $912,000 and could be worth as much as $2.15 million, but current figures aren't known. Bachmann filed for an extension to this year's filing deadline, which she also did in 2011.
Along with Democratic Sen. Al Franken and Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack, Bachmann is among the members of Minnesota's congressional delegation with a reported potential net worth of more than $1 million.
Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar's financial disclosure puts her net worth between $345,000 and $1.05 million. Her staff says it's about halfway between those two numbers. Her GOP opponent, state Rep. Kurt Bills, reported assets of between $86,000 and $290,000.
If Graves were to be elected in November, he would be among the wealthiest members of Congress. U.S. senators have an average net worth of roughly $2.5 million while House members average around $750,000, according to a 2011 report from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Beyond his assets, Graves also reported an annual income of between $570,000 and $4.1 million, mostly derived from various partnerships and corporations, records show.
Staff writer Rachel E. Stassen-Berger contributed to this report.
Corey Mitchell is a correspondent in the Star Tribune Washington Bureau. Twitter: @StribMitchell