Blue Dog Democrat Collin Peterson, who played a major role securing rural lawmakers' support for cap-and-trade climate legislation this summer, now says he would vote "no" if a similar bill returned to the House for final passage.
The Agriculture Committee chairman said he was "stuck voting" for the bill (which awaits Senate action) in June because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi granted his requests for broad agriculture concessions, but he won't support it again if it remains unchanged.
He made the comment during an appearance on a conservative talk radio show hosted by Scott Hennen in Fargo, N.D.
"First of all, this isn't going anyplace in the Senate," Peterson said. "But if it did and we ended up with a bill that was similar to what came out of the House and that was going to become law, I would vote no."
Peterson's possible defection could prove fatal to the bill -- if it ever passes the Senate -- because he is an influential voice among rural Democrats. It also may reflect how much heat he has taken from his relatively conservative district for supporting the bill.
Guv cash rolling in
DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher's gubernatorial campaign raised $254,000 last year and ended the year with $81,000 cash on hand.
All gubernatorial fundraising reports will be public Feb. 1, but some of the 19 gubernatorial campaigns have released partial fundraising numbers early.
None of the released figures shows any candidate garnering field-clearingly large amounts.
Former Rep. Matt Entenza, a DFLer, is at the top so far, with $300,000 raised last year. He lent his campaign $70,000 on top of that and gave his campaign $10,000.
DFL Rep. Tom Rukavina, the first gubernatorial candidate to reveal his numbers, brought in $135,000 and ended with $60,000, while DFL Rep. Paul Thissen raised $233,000 and lent his campaign $20,000. He ended the year with about $88,000 cash on hand.
Republican Rep. Tom Emmer raised $105,000 from contributors and made an in-kind donation to his campaign of a little under $10,000.
RACHEL E. STASSEN-BERGER
Beats a subzero rally
Bowing to the bitter cold, a fan group that previously held two rallies on the steps of the State Capitol for a new Vikings stadium this time is holding an "e-rally" to build support.
Starting Friday and running through Monday, organizers behind SavetheVikes.org are asking fans to register online to send electronic letters to state legislators urging support for a new Vikings stadium during the 2010 legislative session.
The e-rally comes three days after a California company that wants to lure a National Football League team to the Los Angeles area said the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills -- not the Vikings -- would be the first choices for a future stadium. The Vikings, along with the San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers, would not be top targets while they pursue new stadium deals.
So does that news help Cory Merrifield, the founder of SavetheVikes, sleep better at night? "It's like an exhale. It's a brief relief," Merrifield said. "[But] if anything, it just shows all the more reason that we need to pursue this stadium effort."
The longer Vikings owner Zygi Wilf goes without a new stadium, Merrifield said, the more "he would get frustrated and sell the team."