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Bachmann’s Chicago visit drives Graves donations

Michele Bachmann’s visit to a Chicago synagogue lead to a 400 percent increase in city donations to challenger Jim Graves.

Michele Bachmann is not only the best fundraiser in Minnesota’s U.S. House delegation, she’s one of the best in the country.

But if a visit to a Chicago-area synagogue last week is any indication, the controversial congresswoman could be her opponent’s best fundraiser, as well.

Bachmann visited the Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood for a worship service last week, and after a “customary greeting” from the Rabbi, several congregants walked out of the service. At least one of them used the visit as the impetus for an impromptu fundraising campaign for her challenger, DFLer Jim Graves.

From the Chicago Tribune:

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“The holiness of the room and the holiness of the evening was greatly diminished for me, if not completely destroyed,” said Gary Sircus, who stormed out of the synagogue where he has observed the High Holidays for 25 years. “Our congregation values and embodies tolerance, compassion, respect for individual rights, intelligence, science — all of the things that I think Michele Bachmann stands against.”

Later that night, he composed an email to Graves’ campaign and sent it to others, urging them to donate. His words have since gone viral.

“I felt that the best way to ‘honor’ Ms. Bachmann’s visit was to make a contribution to your campaign,” Sircus wrote. “Even though I do not vote in Minnesota, please do everything in your power to take away this evil woman’s soapbox.”

The Graves campaign reported a 400 percent increase in donations from Chicago last week, according to the Tribune.

Third quarter fundraising reports are due to the Federal Election Commission on October 15. Bachmann raised more than $3.5 million for her re-election campaign between January and July, to Graves’ $580,000. 

Devin Henry can be reached at