Nolan back in office; Bachmann survivesPublished 2:28am Wednesday, November 7, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS — Democrat Rick Nolan began preparing Wednesday for a return to Congress after 32 years away, while Rep. Michele Bachmann barely survived her toughest race yet.
Nolan, who left Congress in 1981 after serving three terms, upset one-term GOP U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack to reclaim the northeastern Minnesota seat that Democratic stalwart Jim Oberstar lost in a 2010 upset. With 92 percent of the precincts counted, Nolan had 55 percent of the vote.
Meanwhile, Bachmann ran neck-and-neck with Democratic hotelier Jim Graves in the 6th district until Wednesday morning, when she finally opened up a 4,000-vote gap to nail down her fourth term. The 6th covers the northern and western Twin Cities suburbs and the St. Cloud area.
The tea party favorite and former GOP presidential hopeful had 50.6 percent of the vote with 98 percent of precincts reporting, better than Graves’ 49.4 percent.
The two incumbents struggled on a night that saw the GOP retain its majority in the U.S. House but stumble badly in Minnesota. Republicans lost control of the Legislature, voters rejected GOP-backed constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage and require voters to show identification, and President Barack Obama carried Minnesota.