Blue Dog Democrat Collin Peterson, the target of GOP speculation that he may be headed for greener pastures (K Street? The family farm?) struck back Tuesday with an unambiguous declaration of his intent to run for another term in Congress.
“I don’t know why anyone would give credibility to these Republican rumors,” said the 10-term congressman from Detroit Lakes. “I’m running for re-election and anyone who knows me knows that what I’m doing now is what I’ve always done. My paperwork is on file and in February I’ll make an official announcement.”
Fueling the speculation has been Peterson’s relative silence on the matter. Then again, few U.S. House members raise the issue of reelection unless there’s some particular reason to. In the case of Peterson, a farm committee chair who usually wins by wide margins, there seems to be no obvious reason he should bow out now.
But with a spate of House Democrats from conservative districts announcing their retirements in the past few weeks, the Republicans could only hope. Most analysts agree that Peterson’s rural 7th District likely goes red if he retires.
Every two years the Minnesota GOP vows to take aim at the free-wheeling centrist Democrat -- and then misses by a mile on Election Day.
In recent months, the GOP has made clear they will target Peterson’s role in helping negotiate agricultural provisions in a pending cap-and-trade bill, leading to an equally erroneous rumor that he was headed to Copenhagen this week.
“As for why they are working so hard to circulate this baloney, I think they’re just trying to stir things up because they don’t have a candidate to run against me,” Peterson said.
A host of political blogs and news publications from Bemidjii to Washington have been happy to oblige in the buzz – abetted to some extent by Peterson’s unwillingness to respond, until now.
“I think political campaigns are already too long (and my constituents agree) and so I wait and do what I can to make mine as short as I can,” Peterson said. “This retirement rumor is being ginned up by the National Republican Party people in Washington, DC, who don’t know anything about Minnesota’s 7th District.”
Now everyone knows.
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