Rep. Collin Peterson will run for reelection

Anne Wernikoff

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) will run for reelection, he announced Monday morning.

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"I still have a lot of work to do," Peterson said in a statement.

His decision is a relief for Democrats. Peterson's northern Minnesota district leans Republican, and if the 12-term incumbent had retired it would have become a top GOP pickup opportunity. He still may face a competitive race, but has proven tough to beat in past years. 

The Hill first reported that Peterson would run again.

"Yes, he's running. I talked to him last week and his campaign has been gearing up for the last few weeks now," a Minnesota source close to Peterson said Monday morning, before the announcement.

"We're really excited, obviously," said the source. "It would have been a tough one for us to hold if he didn't run."

Peterson, first elected in 1990 and the powerful ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, had refused for months to say whether he'll run again, saying he'd make a decision after the farm bill passed.

He touted his work on that bill — and his centrist record — in his announcement.

"While it can be frustrating to watch the dysfunction and partisan gridlock in Congress, I think there is still a place for moderate members like myself to try to build consensus and cooperation," he said. "I will continue to be a voice of common sense in Washington DC for all the people of Minnesota's Seventh District."

Democrats in D.C. and locally have long said they expect him to run, but there have been no clear signs from Peterson himself about what he'll do. 

He starts off as the favorite against state Sen. Torrey Westrom (R), though Peterson has posted some weak fundraising numbers in recent quarters and will need to improve on that front in order to avoid a tougher race.

Republicans promise a tough race nonetheless. 

"Collin Peterson may not be retiring on his own terms, but we have every intention of forcing him into retirement in November," National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Tyler Houlton said in a statement.

This post was originally published at 9:20 a.m. and has since been updated.