Graves says people back in Minnesota were ready for a new approach and Bachmann could read the political tea leaves.
"She probably thought it was too much of an uphill battle," Graves told U.S. News. "Everyone can be against something, but they are ready for someone who can roll up their sleeves and be for something."
As to whether his race just got a lot harder to win, Graves says he's going to stick to his message of creating jobs and dealing with the district's problems in a practical way.
"This isn't a blood sport or just a game," Graves says. "I am contributing my time and I am going to do the best job I can."