For first time in years, Collin Peterson’s seat is a battleground

MinnPost photo by Devin Henry
Although U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, left, and state Sen. Torrey Westrom met at Farm Fest earlier this year, much of the battle between these two has taken place on the airwaves.
Congressional Districts highlighted in red were won by Romney in 2012 but are represented by Democrats. Districts in blue were won by Obama but are represented by Republicans.
Sen. Torrey Westrom

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Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Amy Wilde on 10/10/2014 - 11:48 am.

    Collin Peterson

    Peterson is my congressman and while I haven’t agreed with him on every vote, he’s a decent guy and nobody in Washington knows more about rural issues. The ads against him are mostly about his mileage perks (in such a large district, ANYONE, including Westrom (who would also need to hire a driver) would spend just as much and the attacks related to Medicare are based on an editorialist’s opinion about Peterson back in 1995. Since Peterson has been in office, Medicare has only been strengthened, not weakened. So they are ridiculous attacks but people will believe anything I guess.

  2. Submitted by Mike Downing on 10/10/2014 - 03:14 pm.

    He has served long enough

    Peterson has served long enough already. We need a new & fresh representatives in Washington D.C. like Westrom. We don’t need 70 year olds representing us anymore!

    • Submitted by jason myron on 10/11/2014 - 12:14 am.

      Nice bit of ageism there, Mike…

      I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that you didn’t feel the same way about Reagan.

  3. Submitted by Sally Sorensen on 10/10/2014 - 04:51 pm.

    Westrom has lackluster record for career legislator

    The Forum papers endorsed Collin Peterson in part because while Westrom’s personal story is a good one, as a legislator his record is actually pretty lackluster.

    When Peterson retires, it’s likely that Republican leaders in the district with stronger records–like Seifert himself–will jump into the GOP endorsement contest. Doubt there will be much loyal to Westrom when it’s an open seat.

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/10/2014 - 07:10 pm.

    Many of My Friends Out Here in the Seventh

    have always been a little uncomfortable with Collin Peterson simply because he’s a Democrat (having forgotten, of course, the reason the Farm Bureau, The Grange, the Farmer’s Union, the rural cooperative movement and many other farmer’s organizations were born back in the 30s,…

    and, indeed, how there came to be a “F” in DFL.

    More than a few of them are inclined to vote against Collin Peterson because he’s in the same party as the president and there’s still considerable racism out here (when it’s just the guys and nobody else is around, you can still hear the “N” word tossed around as much as it might have been 50 years ago).

    But more important to the lives of the local rural folks, especially the farmers in the Red River Valley (a factor to which most are COMPLETELY blind) is that, even as the ranking MINORITY member of the House Agriculture Committee,…

    Collin Peterson had the power and ability to protect American sugar prices from the world market. If he’s defeated, they lose that protection,…

    (Westrom, being a freshman, will have ZERO power to do anything on this or any other issue).

    Meanwhile, the entire sugar beet industry in the valley, it’s farmers having thrown themselves to the wolves of the world market, will see their industry shrivel and vanish along with the rather substantial incomes they draw from that industry, within a very short time. The communities near which they live will suffer sorely, as well.

    They didn’t mind it a bit when the management team of their cooperative, Crystal Sugar, set out to break their worker’s union. Many thought it was perfectly just that the workers who processed their beets didn’t make a decent wage or have decent benefits.

    They certainly didn’t mind it when other working folks saw their good jobs outsourced to foreign countries.

    I wonder how they’ll feel about it when and if they do EXACTLY the same thing to themselves in voting Collin Peterson out of office.

    They might even think Mr. Westrom will fight on their behalf, but the reality is, he’s the kind of guy that will settle right in and do whatever GOP leadership tells him to do,…

    it simply would never occur to him to do anything else,…

    Sadly for our Northern farmers, however, the NATIONAL GOP only has an ear for SOUTHERN farmers (cotton, rice, peanuts, tobacco, etc..

    But then, again, the “Oil Patch” in Western North Dakota isn’t too far away. I’m sure they can all find work out there after the bottom drops out of farming.

  5. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 10/10/2014 - 08:16 pm.

    Collin Peterson…

    will go out the same way that Jim Oberstar did. The people in his district are finally realizing that keeping him in office with all of the promises he has not kept is not working out. Like Oberstar he has become a career politician with nothing to show for except more of the same song and dance. The district will elect a RFL’er just to get him out, hold their nose for two years and then back to another democrat.

  6. Submitted by tiffany vanvorken on 10/11/2014 - 08:06 am.


    Time for a change.
    Too long on the job.
    Congress should not be a career..

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/11/2014 - 12:44 pm.

      Love Those Republican Talking Points

      Did you and Pavel get a memo, or was it an email?

      Pavel, perhaps you might want to do a teensy bit of research regarding what Collin Peterson has “promised” and which of those promises he’s failed to keep,…

      because I think you’ll be VERY hard pressed to come up with anything along those lines. He has served his district EXTREMELY effectively.

      As to government being a “career” some of our MOST helpful, useful, and effective politicians have served for many terms,…

      it takes AT LEAST two terms to even learn how the system works and how to get anything done on behalf of your constituents.

      If you wouldn’t go looking for the LEAST experienced cardiologist to do your angioplasty,…

      or the least experienced dentist to do your root canal,…

      or the least experienced mechanic to work on your car,…

      or the least experienced plumber to fix the leaks in your sewer line,…

      why on earth would you want a far LESS legislator to represent your interests in the US house,…

      and speaking of careers, how long has Mr. Westrom been serving in the Minnesota Legislature?

      Have EITHER of you given ANY thought to the drivel you’re spewing, or is it just a lather, rinse, repeat, repeat, repeat operation for you?

  7. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 10/11/2014 - 09:05 pm.


    if (and when) I were undergoing a medical procedure I would want a talented young physician who is more concerned with building a good reputation to do it rather than some established one who is content to rest on his laurels.

    And I don’t appreciate your sarcasm in referring to my posts as “drivel” just because I don’t dance to the music that your political party is playing. Please show a little more respect and “tolerance” for those who disagree with you.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 10/13/2014 - 03:12 pm.

      And I’d want the physician

      who has seem it all a million times and knows what to do when a curve is thrown his/her way, rather than someone who’s pressing and trying to establish themselves.

  8. Submitted by Leon Webster on 10/12/2014 - 11:45 am.

    “career politicians”

    This notion that we don’t want people to make a career out of politics or have a career in congress seems simplistic and naive to me. It also seems to be something that people say when they can’t attack the record of an incumbent, but don’t like the party label that comes after the incumbent’s name.

    Politics and governing are arts that take time to learn. If we don’t have experienced politicians, the expertise in governing will reside in the unofficial 4th branch of government — the lobbyists, who already write far too many of the laws we have. As our society and country have grown more complex, the issues congress people must deal with have become more complex, and it takes longer to become familiar with all of their intricacies.

    Minnesota lost a great transportation advocate when Jim Oberstar was defeated. He did a lot of good for his district and the country while he was in congress. Chip Cravaack didn’t do much except sponsor a bill that would have allowed mining to go forward without environmental review.

    Colin Peterson has used his time in Congress to become one of the nation’s experts on farm legislation, and the 7th is lucky to have him representing their interests.

    Admittedly,tenure doesn’t equal competence. I remember once deferring judgement to someone who had 20 years of experience in the field. But a coworker later pointed out that for this individual it was really two years of experience 10 times over.

    Still, if Rep. Peterson has done things you don’t like, or has taken positions you don’t agree with, then you ought to say so. But simply to attack someone because they have been doing the job well for several years makes no sense to me.

    • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 10/12/2014 - 05:12 pm.


      your position is well stated. My problem with career politicians is that they eventually lose touch with reality. Most of them are so out of touch with how people live in the real world. Many have no idea of what it takes to survive in the real world. Many have never had to go without or make a payroll. They have benefits including health care and pension which are far better than yours or mine. They are not subject to many of the laws which they enact, including ObamaCare.

      Mr. Peterson has served his constituents well and hasn’t run his mouth like a lot of them in congress. I’ll give him that.

      Thanks again for a good post.

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