Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN-07) plans to seek a 16th term in Congress, various reports claimed Friday morning.
The 75-year-old congressman currently serves as the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and is in his 15th term in Congress. He was one of two Democrats to vote against both articles of impeachment brought against President Donald Trump and is one of the only pro-life Democrats in the House, which has helped him hold onto a congressional district that President Trump won by more than 30 points in 2016.
In a February interview with AgriPulse, Peterson hinted that he was leaning against running for another term.
“I know I can win,” he said. “That’s not the issue. That’s the problem. I’m not sure that I want to win.”
But Politico reporter Liz Crampton said Friday morning that a source familiar with the congressman’s plans said he will announce his campaign for reelection imminently.
NEW: Rep. Collin Peterson IS running for reelection, per source familiar. Will likely be a close fight to keep his seat in a conservative Minnesota district that Trump won by 31 points. He could announce as soon as today.
— Liz Crampton (@liz_crampton) March 6, 2020
Peterson then confirmed his intention to run in a statement released Friday afternoon.
“This wasn’t an easy decision for me because our country is so polarized right now, but that’s also why I want to ask the voters of western Minnesota to support me again,” Peterson said in a press release. “There aren’t many like me left in Congress. Rural Democrats are few and far between and I’m concerned that rural America is getting left behind.”
Peterson will face Republican challenger Michelle Fischbach, a former state senator and lieutenant governor of Minnesota. She set a fundraising record in the final quarter 2019 after hauling in $364,000 in campaign contributions, the most for a Republican candidate in the district during a non-election year.
President Trump offered Fischbach his “complete and total endorsement” in a Monday tweet.
“Michelle Fischbach is running for Congress in Minnesota. Michelle will protect the unborn, is strong on crime and borders, cutting taxes, your Second Amendment, loves our military, vets, and will stand with our great farmers,” said Trump.
Fischbach thanked the president for “his leadership in uniting the Seventh District Republican Party behind my campaign to defeat Collin Peterson in November.”
I’m honored to have President @realDonaldTrump’s complete endorsement and grateful for his leadership in uniting the 7th District Republican Party behind my campaign to defeat @collinpeterson in November! #MN07 #KAG2020 https://t.co/r3nr2swXXl
— Michelle Fischbach (@FischbachMN7) March 2, 2020
Peterson defeated Republican Dave Hughes in 2018 in one of his closest election victories to date.
“Just last week, Peterson said he doesn’t know if he even wants to win and his record ensures he will not be successful in November. Peterson has failed to stand up to Pelosi and support life, refused to condemn Omar’s anti-Semitism, and stayed silent when it came to supporting our farmers while Pelosi stalled voting on the USMCA,” Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan said in a statement. “Peterson running again does not change the fact that Minnesota’s 7th is going to turn red in November.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]