Update: With rumors swirling, Rep. Collin Peterson confirms re-election bid

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Collin Peterson will be running for re-election, he confirmed today, putting to bed rampant speculation that the House Agriculture chairman would retire.

Minnesota’s 7th District would be viewed as a swing district, were Peterson not running. Republican John McCain beat Democrat Barack Obama there by 3 percentage points, 50-47, in the 2008 presidential race, while Peterson cruised over Glen Menze 72-28.

Peterson released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

“I don’t know why anyone would give credibility to these Republican rumors. I’m running for re-election and anyone who knows me knows that what I’m doing now is what I’ve always done. My paperwork is on file and in February I’ll make an official announcement.

“I think political campaigns are already too long (and my constituents agree) and so I wait and do what I can to make mine as short as I can.

“This retirement rumor is being ginned up by the National Republican Party people in Washington, DC, who don’t know anything about Minnesota’s 7th District. As for why they are working so hard to circulate this baloney, I think they’re just trying to stir things up because they don’t have a candidate to run against me.”

Republicans quickly responded to Peterson’s statements.

“Congressman Peterson has no one to blame but himself for this speculation that he’d retire,” said Tom Erickson, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“Peterson’s fundraising is stagnant, he denigrated his district by claiming one-quarter of his constituents believe 9/11 was an inside job, he sold out Minnesota’s ag community by cutting a deal on cap-and-trade and just last week he refused to commit to another campaign. Given all this, Peterson might want to reconsider his decision,”he said.

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