On the way to raising $23 million, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann has long pleaded for help from donors by portraying herself as one of Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s top targets in Congress.
Democrats in Washington now must be saying, “If only.”
The Minnesota Republican suffered a razor-thin re-election scare late Tuesday night, but emerged victorious Wednesday morning by a 4,207-vote margin over DFL challenger Jim Graves. That’s a difference of slightly more than 1 percentage point, putting her safely out of automatic recount range (The Minnesota threshold is 0.5 percent).
Graves called Bachmann around 10 a.m. Wednesday to concede the race.
Democrats have got to be feeling good about the 2012 election in general. But when it comes to Bachmann, this might have been a missed opportunity for the national party, which touted Graves for months but hardly spent a dime to help him.
A look at outside expenditures in the race shows a total of $163,496, according to the Sunlight Foundation. That’s a pretty modest sum considering Bachmann’s stature as a national Tea Party figure. The biggest players were the National Republican Trust PAC, on the right ($72K), and the CREDO Super-PAC on the left ($37K).
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the campaign arm of the House Democrats, apparently passed on this battle, at least money-wise. Perhaps they felt twice-burned in previous Bachmann reelection efforts.
But considering Bachmann’s ten-to-one fundraising advantage over Graves, who turned out to be the best candidate Bachmann has faced to date, the Pelosi forces must be wondering if they missed their best chance ever.
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