In just three terms, Rep. Michele Bachmann has become an institution in the House, raising more money than any of her colleagues in either party and serving as the face of the insurgent Tea Party movement in Washington. With a massive war chest, a huge national following, and close allies with very big microphones, she seems unstoppable — so much so that she was at one point a front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. But despite all that, there is a real possibility that Bachmann could lose her reelection bid this November.
Tuesday was the Republican primary for her congressional seat, and while Bachmann sailed through, there were some signs in the results that may give her campaign pause. Smart Politics, a blog of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, noted that Bachmann’s win of 80.4 percent of the primary vote was the smallest vote percentage received by an incumbent Republican congressman in the state since 1962 — that covers 75 incumbent reelection bids in 50 years. This could suggest that Republican voters in the district have cooled on Bachmann. Indeed, she’s drawn sharp GOP rebukes on Capitol Hill for her witch hunt against Muslims in the U.S. government, and it stands to reason that some Republicans in her district have also been turned off by the effort (her Republican primary challengers slammed her for it). The remaining roughly 20 percent of the vote went to two GOP opponents — Smart Politics notes that she’s the only incumbent Republican to inspire two fellow party members to challenge her since the mid-1950s.
There’s been scant polling in the district, but a June survey commissioned by her Democratic challenger, Jim Graves, found Bachmann with a dangerously narrow lead. “Bachmann’s unsuccessful bid for president had a clear and negative impact on her standing among voters in the new Minnesota 6 CD. She received low marks on both her job performance and personal favorability,” pollster Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner found. The survey found her leading Graves by just 5 points and under 50 percent, even though her name ID was almost 100 percent in the district and Graves is mostly obscure.
CONTINUED at Salon.