Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) made retiring Rep. Barney Frank into political fodder in her race for Minnesota’s 6th district, dinging her opponent, businessman Jim Graves, for planning to host the Massachusetts Democrat at a presidential debate-watch fundraiser tonight.
Frank, ranking member on the powerful Financial Services Committee and known for the Wall Street reform law that bears his name, will attend Graves’ debate-watch fundraiser at a hotel that Graves owns in downtown Minneapolis. Democrats say the seat could be in play after a September poll paid for by Graves’ campaign showed the race to be competitive, with Bachmann leading Graves, 48 percent to 46 percent.
Bachmann has capitalized on Frank’s appearance at the fundraiser, releasing a video on her website that highlights Graves’ ties to Frank, a backer of “big government policies like the Wall Street bailout, the failed stimulus package and Obamacare,” according to Bachmann.
“Jim Graves needs a little more campaign cash, so he’s doing what any good Wall Street banker, auto executive and corporate welfare fan would do: Ask Barney Frank to bring in the bucks,” the ad says.
The Republican Party of Minnesota has also used the fundraiser to attack Graves, saying Frank’s appearance raises questions about Graves’ policy stances on issues that Frank supports, such as government bailouts and cap-and-trade legislation.
“Jim Graves is trying to paint himself in as a ‘Republican-lite’ candidate for Congress this year — and nobody is buying it,” state GOP Chairman Pat Shortridge said in a statement. “Today, he’s hosting Barney Frank to raise money for his campaign. During his time in Congress, Frank led the charge to pass the controversial Dodd-Frank banking bill, ‘card check’ legislation, which would have taken away the right to a secret ballot in union elections, and even a ‘cap and trade’ energy tax that was designed to put the American coal industry out of business.”
Adam Graves, Jim Graves’ campaign manager and son, said Bachmann’s attack would turn off voters, who he said “have become disgusted by the fact that Bachmann is more interested in creating headlines than creating jobs.”
“Bachmann’s pathetic strategy of distortions and guilt-by-association shows just how desperate her campaign has become in the last few weeks,” Adam Graves said in an email.
He added, “As they learn about Jim Graves’ record of building businesses and creating thousands of jobs, they see that he is someone who understands what it takes to balance a budget and who can get Minnesota’s economy back on track.”