Lone Democrat to oppose impeachment will seek reelection

Lone Democrat to oppose impeachment will seek reelection
© Greg Nash

Minnesota Rep. Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonDemocrats seek wave to bolster House majority Energized by polls, House Democrats push deeper into GOP territory Democrats, GOP fighting over largest House battlefield in a decade MORE, the influential Agriculture Committee chairman and the last remaining opponent of both impeachment articles in Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' On The Money: Trump makes a late pitch on the economy | US economy records record GDP gains after historic COVID-19 drop | Pelosi eyes big COVID-19 deal in lame duck Pelosi challenger calls delay on COVID-19 relief bill the 'privilege of politics' MORE’s Democratic caucus, will run for reelection this year in a district where President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign slams Facebook after thousands of ads blocked by platform's pre-election blackout Mnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' Harris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden MORE is enormously popular, sources said.

Peterson's decision to run for another term is good news for Democrats, who probably would be more likely to lose the seat without him. 

The veteran lawmaker is one of the top targets of House Republicans this cycle, in part because his rural Minnesota district has been trending more conservative in recent cycles. In 2016, Trump beat Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHarris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden Harris more often the target of online misinformation than Pence: report The Hill's Campaign Report: What the latest polling says about the presidential race | Supreme Court shoots down GOP attempt to block NC mail ballot extension MORE by more than 30 points, 61.8 percent to 31 percent, in Peterson’s district. But Peterson still won his race.


In previous elections, former President Obama had captured 44.1 percent of the vote in 2012 and 47.1 percent in 2008 in Peterson’s district.

Peterson’s political survival — he’s running for his 16th House term, a development first reported by Politico — has demonstrated the power of incumbency. As the district has grown more Republican, he’s been able to stave off GOP opponents and win reelection, touting the Agriculture Committee gavel he held from 2007 to 2011 and currently holds, as well as his record of breaking with his party on key issues.

Peterson, now 75 years old, was one of 34 Democrats to vote against ObamaCare, though he has opposed subsequent GOP efforts to repeal the landmark health care law.

More recently, Peterson was one of only two House Democrats to oppose the article to impeach against Trump for abuse of power. A third, Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), also voted "no" on the article charging Trump with obstruction of Congress related to his dealings with Ukraine.

The other Democrat, freshman New Jersey Rep. Jefferson Van Drew, promptly switched parties during a televised Oval Office meeting with Trump, leaving Peterson as the lone Democrat to have opposed both impeachment articles.


With Trump back on the ballot this fall, Republicans see this year as their best chance to oust Peterson. In the 2018 midterms, Republicans came within striking distance; Peterson fended off GOP challenger Dave Hughes by a margin of 52.1 percent to 47.9 percent. 

Republicans began salivating last summer when Peterson reported that he had sold his Washington, D.C., condominium for $460,000, a sign that the veteran lawmaker might soon retire. Now that he’s running, Republicans said they still don’t think he’ll need that home in D.C. next year.

“Good thing Collin Peterson already sold his house in D.C. – it’ll make the logistics a heck of lot easier once he loses in November,” said Calvin Moore, a spokesman for the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House GOP leadership. “The Democrats have put socialism on the ballot in 2020 and Collin Peterson will own every bit of it.”

Peterson’s decision came just days after former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden Florida heat sends a dozen Trump rally attendees to hospital Harris more often the target of online misinformation than Pence: report MORE consolidated support from more-moderate Democrats and reclaimed his presidential front-runner status with a series of unexpected Super Tuesday victories over liberal Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Election night could be a bit messy The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden blitz battleground states Oct. 29: Where Trump and Biden will be campaigning MORE (I-Vt.).

Centrists like Peterson have argued that they would have a much easier time winning reelection with a moderate like Biden at the top of the ticket compared to Sanders, who calls himself a democratic socialist.