In December 2009, the Swing State Project noted in GOP trying to pressure 17 House Dems to retire (updated):
An informal list of 17 members the NRCC believes can be convinced to step down, privately called the "Dem Retirement Assault List," makes clear the party needs Dem incumbents to step aside if they have hopes of taking back the majority. The NRCC has taken pains to attack those lawmakers in recent weeks.
The list includes 14 members whose districts voted for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in '08. McCain won districts held by Reps. Ike Skelton (D-MO) and Bart Gordon (D-TN) with more than 60% of the vote, and districts held by Reps. Rick Boucher (D-VA), Alan Mollohan (D-WV), Marion Berry (D-AR), Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Mike Ross (D-AR) with more than 55%.
McCain narrowly won seats held by Reps. John Spratt (D-SC), Allen Boyd (D-FL), Vic Snyder (D-AR), Baron Hill (D-IN), Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), Tim Holden (D-PA) and Collin Peterson (D-MN)....
The Minnesota Independent noted in Peterson on GOP's Retirement Assault List:
But that pressure seems weak so far: press releases criticizing the incumbents, plus a little money thrown to media buys in certain districts. But the emphasis goes on the word little: in three districts ” not including Petersons 7th ” a total of $6,300 was spent by the NRCC on ad buys.
Peterson was re-elected. On November 4, 2010, Politico reported in 2012 targets already in GOP's sights:
In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, NRCC Executive Director Guy Harrison listed 10 moderate Democrats who are in the committee’s sights for 2012: West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall, Arkansas Rep. Mike Ross, Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson and Pennsylvania Rep. Jason Altmire. All four were held under 60 percent Tuesday and represent districts that voted for John McCain over Barack Obama in 2008.
Peterson increased his margin in 2012 against the hapless Lee Byberg.
In today's National Journal, Reid Wilson (remember him from the 2009 Hotline retirement piece?) reports in Parties Push For House Retirements:
In 1992, Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson won re-election by a single point. Two years later, he defeated Republican Bernie Omann again, but by just two points. He hasn't faced a serious re-election bid since.
But this year, more than 18 months before Election Day, House Republicans are trying to convince Peterson he's in for a tough race. The National Republican Congressional Committee has already spent a small amount of money on advertisements in Peterson's district, and the committee has a press staffer dedicated to pushing opposition research to reporters in Democratic-held areas that, like Peterson's, voted for Mitt Romney in 2012.
The amount of money and effort Republicans are putting into Peterson's race, at the moment, is negligible. The committee spent just $2,000 on the early advertisement, a drop in the bucket compared with the millions spent every cycle on competitive races. But the goal isn't to beat Peterson so far out -- it's to get in his head on a daily basis and, eventually, to get Peterson to retire rather than run for a 13th term.
So far, Peterson doesn't seem bothered by the Republican attention. "They don't have anybody else to go after," he told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune last month, when the ads ran. "It's kind of ridiculous, but whatever."
But when he goes home next week, Republicans will seek to remind Peterson that he's not alone. The NRCC has a dedicated tracker set to follow Peterson around his district . . .
Oh! Scary on the prairie! A tracker! This about as frightening as the news we reported in "Whatever": Collin Peterson's threat to Utah's families prompts totally scary $2000 TV ad buy and Deceptive NRCC web ad targets Collin Peterson in GOP war on working women's paychecks (an attack on overtime).
Next thing we'll hear out here in western Minnesota is that rural electrification is coming our way along with same-sex marriages.
Photo: Collin Peterson.
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