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Jim Graves, Michele Bachmann's Congressional Challenger, On His Opponent And Gay Marriage

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) “kind of believes in a theocracy,” said Jim Graves, the former presidential candidate’s Democratic challenger in the race for Minnesota’s 6th congressional district. Confident about recent internal polling that shows him and Bachmann in a dead heat, Graves is hitting Bachmann on all the issues that distinguish them, including social issues such as marriage equality.

“I’m a libertarian when it comes to social issues,” Graves, a hotel executive from St. Cloud, said in an interview on my SiriusXM OutQ radio program on Thursday. “Government has no role to play in personal lives, contrary to Michele Bachmann. She kind of believes in a theocracy and I believe in a democracy, and secular democracy at that. The role of government isn’t to get involved in people’s lives.”

Bachmann, among the most high-profile antigay politicians in the country, worked hard as a Minnesota state legislator to help lay the groundwork for an amendment on the ballot in the state this November which would ban marriage for gays and lesbians in the state’s constitution, something she touted often on the campaign trail during the Republican primaries. Graves not only opposes the amendment, but supports marriage equality.

“My stand is, I’ve been for 39 years in a loving and committed relationship,” he said. “I’m very fortunate. It’s been the best thing in my life and, by gosh, everybody in America has the same rights under the law and everyone should be able to marry who they want to, when they want to. As far as what churches want to do, or synagogues, again, I believe in separation of church and state. I don’t care what the Catholic Church wants to do. I happen to be born a Catholic. But under the law everybody has the same rights and I believe very strongly in dignity and respect for everybody."

Graves discussed his opposition to Bachmann’s far right stances on others issues as well, such as the economy, health care and foreign policy. And he pointed to his campaign's internal polling showing Bachmann’s lead having diminished to 2 points, 48-46 (well within the margin of error), while a previous poll had her five points ahead.

"What we found early on [in polling],” he said, “is that when people know my bio, we’re ahead, 52-43. If we get my name out, we win by a landslide.”

Listen to the full interview below:

Listen to the full interview:

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