WASHINGTON -- Rep. Michele Bachmann eclipsed her record-setting 2010 fundraising total to win a fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, despite a strong challenge from local hotel magnate Jim Graves.
New Federal Election Commission campaign finance data covering the period Oct. 18-Nov. 26, show the Stillwater Republican raked in $14.4 million for her 2012 race, almost $1 million more than what she raised during the previous two-year campaign cycle.
For the roughly six-week period that ended on Nov. 26, Bachmann raised $1.7 million and spent $2.4 million. She had $3.1 million in the bank when the reporting period began.
Overall, Bachmann spent $11.8 million on what proved to be her toughest race. She spent $11.6 million on her 2010 campaign against former State Sen. Tarryl Clark. She raised $13.5 million for that race.
Final unofficial results from the Nov. 6 election, show Bachmann received 179,240 votes, or 50.47 percent of the total ballots cast, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State elections division. Graves won 174,944 votes, or 49.26 percent.
Bachmann's campaign expenditures amounted to $66 per vote, while Graves' spending total equaled $14 per vote.
The race attracted national attention in the final weeks as polls showed Graves with a shot at upsetting Bachmann, a tea party favorite who has become a polarizing figure on Capitol Hill. She drew scorn from both sides of the aisle during the summer with her suggestion that radical Muslims had infiltrated President Barack Obama's administration.
Graves, taking his first stab at elective office, raised $2.5 million, with $540,000 coming from his own pockets. Records show he repaid himself $270,000 during the latest reporting period.
Bachmann repeatedly cited being up against Graves' personal wealth and the threat of outside spending from Democratic groups in her fundraising appeals.
While Bachmann continued to draw remarkable support for her congressional campaign, she was unable to match that success at the presidential level. Although she raised $10.3 million for her presidential campaign that began in June 2011, she was far behind eventual Republican nominee Mitt Romney and others in the money chase.
Bachmann ended her presidential race after a disappointing sixth place finish in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. Her presidential campaign's latest finance report shows the committee has no cash on hand and debts totaling $169,558.
For her congressional race, Bachmann continued to capitalize on small-donor contributions. More than $11 million of the $14.4 million she collected for her 2012 campaign came from donations of $200 or less. As of Nov. 26, she had $2.1 million left in her congressional account.
Bachmann also has a leadership political action committee called MICHELE PAC. Lawmakers with higher political aspirations typically create such committees to amass political IOUs through campaign contributions.
Bachmann's PAC raised $1.2 million and gave out $16,000, including $10,000 to Rep. Chip Cravaack, who was defeated, and $2,000 to former Gov. Tim Pawlenty's brief presidential campaign. She had $72,397 remaining in her leadership committee as of Nov. 26.
(Copyright 2012 by Gannett Washington Bureau. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)