"The people of the sixth district can count on me to serve as a full-time congressman, focusing on creating jobs and rebuilding a sustainable middle class," he said in a release announcing an exploratory committee.
Graves, who said he was out of town Thursday in an email to Hot Dish, also took a dig at Bachmann's star power: "Rather than seeking constant national limelight, I will focus my energy on issues that affect people's lives."
According to his company bio his company includes a "portfolio of over 90 varied and successful hotel, resort and high-end housing projects."
Campaign spokesman Donald McFarland said that Graves will use his personal resources to invest in his race but will also seek donations.
Graves said he is in discussions with his family about whether he will run and will make a decision "shortly after Easter."
He is the third Democrat to take steps to unseat Bachmann in the heavily Republican district.
Graves, like Bachmann, does not currently live in the suburban and rural sixth district. Redistricting placed Bachmann just outside of the district lines and Graves, who grew up in St. Cloud, but lives in Minneapolis.