Peterson continues slow fundraising, won't discuss retirement

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) has posted another weak fundraising quarter — and won't say whether or not he plans to run again in 2014.

Peterson raised $165,000 in the last fundraising quarter, a low total for a congressman facing a potentially tough race, and has just $358,000 in the bank. Republican outside groups have already been pumping money into ads in his Iron Range district that GOP nominees have carried in the past three presidential elections. 

The House Agriculture Committee ranking member told The Hill last week that he wouldn't decide whether he'll run again or not until after Congress passes the farm bill, which has repeatedly stalled but is now moving toward passage in the House.

"I haven't had time to think about that. If we ever get this farm bill done I will think about it," he said last Wednesday.

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Peterson, 69, has long been the subject of retirement rumors and posted weak fundraising figures throughout all of 2013. The $165,000 haul is actually an improvement from the meager $82,000 he raised in the previous quarter, and was boosted by a fundraiser hosted by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

But lackluster fundraising hast been common for Peterson — he has raised little in non-election years before running for reelection in the past, especially as he's been increasingly involved in the farm bill.

Peterson has made other comments making it sound more likely than not he'll run.

"I went from neutral to running again to 90 percent just because of this stupid stuff they're doing," Peterson told MPR news, referring to Republicans' moves on the farm bill, in a story posted this past weekend. "You can't let these people be in charge of anything in my opinion."

The longtime congressman will be tough to beat if he decides to run for reelection, though Republicans are optimistic about their likely nominee, state Sen. Torrey Westrom (R). But should Peterson decide to retire, his GOP-leaning northern Minnesota district will be a likely pickup for Republicans. 

This post was updated at 11:30 a.m.