(USA TODAY) -- Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Tea Party favorite who ran for the GOP presidential nomination, barely survived her toughest race yet, beating Democrat Jim Graves to earn her fourth term in the U.S. House.
Bachmann, faced a tougher-than-expected challenge in Minnesota's 6th District from Graves, a millionaire hotel executive who made an issue during the campaign of Bachmann's poltiical aspirations.
Early Wednesday, Bachmann opened up a 4,000-vote gap to nail down the victory. She had 50.6% of the vote with 98% of precincts reporting, to Graves' 49.4%.
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.
Bachmann is well-known for her opposition to President Obama's health care law and made repeal of it a centerpiece of her campaign. Once a leading contender to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, she abandoned her bid for the presidency after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses.
Meanwhile, Democrat Rick Nolan began preparing for a return to Congress after 32 years away. He upset GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack to reclaim the seat that Democrat Jim Oberstar lost in 2010. Nolan, who left Congress in 1981, had 55% of the vote, with 92% of the precincts counted.