By his own accounting, Collin Peterson (who is now 72 years old) only ran in 2016 because Republicans “energized me last time, they got me fired up.” Despite the Republican National Committee pouring $8 million into an effort to unseat him, electorally speaking, he’s been a source of frustration for Republicans. The problem is, legislatively, he’s a huge pain in the ass for Democrats.
Whether or not he runs for reelection in 2020, we should be realistic about something – we’re not going to have an easy time in Peterson’s district. He’s perhaps the only Democrat that can carry the district the way it’s currently drawn, which gives it a PVI of R+6. This means it’s the second most Republican-leaning district that’s currently represented by a Democrat. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton here 62%-31%.
But Peterson is a constant thumb in the eye of Democratic leadership. The average member votes against their party 6% of the time. Peterson does it 31% of the time. By every metric, he’s easily the most conservative member of the Democratic caucus.
So, this is where a lot of times, I disagree with others about the way that members like Peterson are treated. I’m sympathetic to the argument that someone who votes with the party 69% of the time is better than a Republican, who will probably vote against us 100% of the time. I totally understand the math behind that. But…
As I continue to do research on legislation and find my search results awash in conservative hot takes on crushing job-killing Obummer regulations, I wonder sometimes if the language I use is a little too measured sometimes, so I’m going to be blunt – if he does, in fact, run in 2020, Collin Peterson should be targeted in 2018 with a vigorous Democratic primary challenge. If he doesn’t, hey… R+6 isn’t something that’s outside the realm of possibility if down ballot Republicans are being dragged down by an unpopular president.
So, consider this race, regardless of who is on the ballot, officially on the radar for 2018. And, when you’re compelled to call a Congressman and vent over just how vigorous Democrats are being in opposing Donald Trump, give him a call at (320) 235-1061.