In the 2012 United States Election, 441 members of the House of Representatives were up for election. Of those, the great majority were not seriously contested. A few, however, were contested. Minnesota's 6th Congressional District, covering the northern exurbs of the Minneapolis-St. Paul region, and stretching out into Minnesota's farm country, was one of those. The Congressional District is the district of Michele Bachmann, one of the most outspoken Republicans in the House of Representatives. Bachmann was also a candidate for the Republican nomination for President, although she dropped out after the first contest.
She was opposed by Jim Graves, a small businessman and conservative Democrat whose main line of attack was that Bachmann was out of touch with her district. Unseating an incumbent in a house race is difficult, and unseating an incumbent with high name recognition is doubly so. However, it could be that Bachmann's national scope was a double edged sword.
In the United States, members of the House represent geographic districts. This is in opposition to the proportional representation system, which is used in other countries and sometimes proposed for use in the United States. In a proportional representation system, candidates represent ideologies. As conservative as her district is, Bachmann had spent most of 2011 serving her ideological constituency, not her geographic constituency.
But Bachmann won. She won narrowly, but she still won. She won with 50.6% of the vote, to Graves' 49.4%. This represents a raw difference of a little over 4,000 votes. Although a 1.2% margin is not what a nationally recognized politician would hope for, it is still a victory. Whether that victory says anything deeper about whether a politician should cultivate national ideological support, or focus on their home district, is unknown.
But we do know that Bachmann will have another two year term, which she will probably use as a platform for her views. We also know that Democratic fundraisers will have a convenient bogeyman, and that people on Facebook will have an easy outlet for their anger.