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Do those sound like the words of a congressman on his way out the door? Coming from Minnesota Rep. Collin C. Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, it’s hard to tell.
When CQ Roll Call asked Peterson if he was planning to run for re-election, he said, “Yeah, everything’s good,” followed by, “Everyone’s happy.” It might have sounded vague, but a Democratic source confirmed Peterson’s positivity means he’s running.
House Democrats continue to bolster their incumbents, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee expanding its defensive spending.
Most notably, the DCCC is spending more in support of Democratic Reps. Collin C. Peterson in Minnesota and Dave Loebsack in Iowa, races that are only in recent days coming to the forefront of the House map.
Here are the changes, made as both parties re-evaluate their chances with two weeks to go until Election Day:
House Majority PAC, a super PAC dedicated to electing Democrats to the House, released new TV ads Monday in six districts across the country.
All of the spots are part of previously announced airtime reservations and all but one are in districts Democrats are defending.
Arizona’s 1st District
This ad targets state Speaker Andy Tobin using b-roll of video posted on the Tobin campaign Youtube channel. He is challenging Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick. It will air on Phoenix broadcast and has $422,888 behind the ad this week. The race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Full story
In response to a poll released last week by Republicans showing a tight race, Minnesota Rep. Collin C. Peterson’s campaign on Monday released a poll of its own from early September that had found the incumbent with a wider lead.
The three-week-old survey, shared first with CQ Roll Call, showed the Democratic incumbent up 53 percent to 29 percent over state Sen. Torrey Westrom. Westrom’s poll, conducted Sept. 21-23 by the Tarrance Group, found Peterson with a 5-point lead.
The Peterson poll also showed the incumbent with a 58 percent favorable rating, with just 19 percent viewing him unfavorably. That survey of 405 likely voters was conducted by Global Strategy Group from Sept. 4-7 with a 4.9-point margin of error. Full story
Minnesota Democrats think Rep. Collin C. Peterson is nearly unbeatable in the 7th District. For the first time in more than a decade, that theory is about to be put to the test.
Peterson is one of just a handful of House Democrats representing a decidedly Republican district, but he has won re-election even in GOP wave years. In 2012, presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the conservative, rural district by 10 points as the Democratic lawmaker won his race by a 25-point margin.
This year, Peterson faces his most formidable challenger in several cycles. Though the Democrat remains the front-runner, Republican state Sen. Torrey Westrom brings a compelling life story as the first blind member of the legislature, and more political experience than any of Peterson’s recent opponents.
“We’re paying attention,” Peterson told CQ Roll Call in a recent interview. “We’ve never been targeted before, so we’re not exactly sure what’s going to happen.”
Minnesota Republicans and Democrats agree on one point, at least: Westrom has a good shot at ending up in Congress.
It’s just not clear when.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has reserved $30 million in television airtime this fall, signaling it is preparing to go on offense in 17 districts and defend nine more.
The NRCC has put its marker down in many of the same House districts as its counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It’s a good indicator of which races both parties think will be most competitive in November.
But there are a few competitive districts not included in the NRCC’s initial reservations, such as Iowa’s 3rd District — an open seat currently held by a Republican that is one of this cycle’s few Tossup races.
Also, the NRCC’s television reservations total $13.5 million less than what the DCCC has already reserved for this fall. The committees will likely shift and add more airtime as individual races develop during the rest of the cycle.
But the DCCC has raised more money than the NRCC this cycle. As of the end of April, the DCCC had $43.3 million in the bank, while the NRCC had $32.3 million.
Here are the districts where the NRCC has already reserved airtime for this fall:
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved $43.5 million in television airtime in dozens of targeted House districts this fall — a signal the party is attempting to play defense and offense in a challenging midterm cycle.
The money is split across 36 districts, including 17 pickup opportunities, according to a DCCC aide. More districts and more money could be added to the reservations as the cycle progresses, the aide said.
The DCCC had $43.3 million in the bank at the end of April and has raised more than its Republican counterpart by large margins this cycle. The committee ended April with an $11 million cash-on-hand advantage over the National Republican Congressional Committee.
These ad reservations give insight into which members Democrats see as vulnerable, and which seats the DCCC sees as the best possibility to take in November. They also signal to outside groups where the the party might need help on the airwaves this fall.
However, parties can cancel or change these reservations until shortly before the advertisements air in most cases.
Here are the districts where the DCCC has reserved airtime:
National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden on Monday unveiled the first round of House GOP candidates elevated to “Young Gun” status.
The NRCC’s Young Guns program is the highest designation for recruits in either open-seat races or in districts where the GOP is on offense. The program allows the party to communicate to donors and the political world who are the most organized recruits of the cycle.
Candidates earn this status by demonstrating “their ability to build a formidable campaign structure and achieve important goals and benchmarks,” according to a news release.
“Candidates that reach ‘Young Gun’ status have met a series of rigorous goals that will put them in a position to win on Election Day,” Walden said in a statement. “Our job as a committee is to help elect Republicans to office that will serve as a check and balance on the Obama Administration.”
The new Young Guns are:
Six House Democrats facing competitive challenges in November voted Thursday evening in favor of creating a special committee to re-investigate the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Five of the seven Democrats who voted with the GOP are part of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline program, which supports the party’s most vulnerable incumbents. Full story
Longtime Rep. Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., will announce Monday that he will seek a 13th term in Minnesota’s 7th District, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune, ending months of speculation about his future political plans.
Political observers said Peterson could retire this cycle after successfully negotiating a farm bill as ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee.
However, Peterson will announce at a news conference that he will stand for re-election in this northern Minnesota House district.
“I still have a lot of work to do,” Peterson said in a news release, according to the Star Tribune.
A GOP outside group has started attacking Rep. Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota on the airwaves — less than two weeks after a local Republican state lawmaker announced he would challenge the longtime Democrat in 2014.
The ad, released by the American Future Fund, accuses the 12-term Democrat of “losing his Minnesota nice” after being in Washington, D.C., too long.
“He’s been in Washington for decades and the choices he makes affect our lives. So where is he when we want answers?” says the announcer in the 30-second spot. “… Tell Collin Peterson if he’s lost his Minnesota nice he’s been in Washington too long.”
GOP state Sen. Torrey Westrom will announce Thursday that he will challenge longtime Rep. Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., in the 7th District.
Westrom, the first legally blind person elected to the Minnesota Legislature, will make the announcement Thursday morning in the northwestern part of the state, according to a news release from the campaign.
Westrom is the first Republican to announce a bid against Peterson. Republicans have made the 12-term Democrat a top target in 2014.
Several high-profile House Democrats will host a top-dollar fundraiser Thursday for longtime Rep. Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., according to an invitation obtained exclusively by CQ Roll Call.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel, along with 17 other House Democrats, will host a “re-election campaign breakfast” for Peterson.
Peterson’s fundraising haul is $10,000 less than last quarter’s fundraising total — both considered to be paltry sums for a long-time member of Congress. He reported $227,000 in the bank.
Such a small haul raises questions about Peterson’s plans for 2014 because weak fundraising can signal that a member is looking to retire. On Tuesday, Peterson’s campaign said in a statement that the congressman is still considering his plans for 2014.
Scott Van Binsbergen, a Minnesota businessman and former staffer for retired Rep. Vin Weber, R-Minn., confirmed to CQ Roll Call on Wednesday that he is eyeing a bid against Rep. Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., in the 7th District.
Van Binsbergen said in a phone interview that he didn’t have a timeline for his decision but said he has met with the National Republican Congressional Committee, as well as delegates from the Minnesota Republican Party, as he considers the race.
“I’m extremely interested,” said Van Binsbergen, who in 2006 ran an unsuccessful bid for state House in Minnesota. “I’ve been out meeting with delegates and political people from around the district and around the state, but I haven’t put a timeline on [an announcement].”