Just days after announcing his candidacy for Congress, hotelier Jim Graves hasn't wasted time stocking up on campaign cash: the self-made millionaire and Democratic candidate has donated $100,000 to himself, recently released campaign finance reports show.
But Graves, the CEO of Graves World Hospitality, which owns and manages hotels, was a late entry to the race to unseat Sixth District U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and he's already facing an uphill battle against a proven and prolific fundraiser.
Bachmann's campaign is reporting that she raised $550,000 during the first quarter of the year and has $650,000 in the bank.
The two other DFL candidates -- St. Cloud community activist Anne Nolan and Stillwater-area businessman Brian McGoldrick -- have yet to file reports detailing their campaign fundraising and spending during the first three months of the year, but will likely to drop out of the race after not winning the party endorsement Saturday.
Sixth District Democrats met this weekend to endorse Graves' campaign.
Bachmann, a Stillwater resident who was first elected to Congress in 2006, no longer lives within the district boundaries after a judicial panel redrew the lines in February. Neither does Graves, a St. Cloud native who lives in Minneapolis. Both candidates have already addressed the residency issue in stump speeches.
Even though the redistricting process booted her Stillwater home out of the Sixth, Bachmann still represents the state's most conservative district and has legions of supporters around the country willing to fork over cash as fast as her campaign can spend it. In her 2010 race against DFLer Tarryl Clark, Bachmann raised more than $13.5 million, a record amount for a U.S. House race.
Bachmann still has more than $1 million in campaign debt from her failed presidential bid.