"It has been a privilege — a privilege — to serve you as a public official. I've done our best in trying to ensure that the 8th District was well served, and I'm sure Congressman Nolan will do the same," he said.
Redistricting was supposed to help Bachmann, with a new political map that made the 6th even more conservative. But for the first time since she won her seat in 2006, there was no Independence Party candidate to siphon support from her main rival, and she had her hands full with Graves.
Graves was born and raised in St. Cloud in what he describes as a working-class Catholic family. He founded the nationwide AmericInn motel chain in 1979. He sold it 1993 and is now CEO of Graves Hospitality Corp, which develops and manages luxury hotels and restaurants including the flagship Graves 601 Hotel in downtown Minneapolis.
The multimillionaire stressed his business experience and his record of job creation, and accused Bachmann of being more concerned about advancing her national political aspirations than serving the district.
Minnesota's House delegation was split between four Republicans and four Democrats. Six of them easily won re-election Tuesday.
In southern Minnesota's 1st District, Democratic Rep. Tim Walz won a fourth term against Republican Allen Quist, a former state lawmaker. In the southern Twin Cities suburbs, Republican Rep. John Kline defeated Democrat Mike Obermueller in the 2nd District. Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson kept his 7th District seat in western Minnesota, turning aside Republican businessman Lee Byberg. Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen and Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum had no trouble keeping their seats in other metro area districts.
Associated Press writer Martiga Lohn in St. Paul, Minn. contributed to this report.