The next senior Democrat to drop out?
Senior Democrats are retiring from the House of Representatives as the prospect of Democrats taking the majority appear slim. The latest to announce his departure is Henry Waxman. As Ed Lasky comments, "He casn't stand being in the minority -- he doesn't get the camera as much as he did when he used his committee chairmanship to grandstand. After all, he is from LA and actors like camera time in Hollywood"
But there may be more. Colin Peterson is the ranking Democrat on the House Agricultural Committee. He is a twelve term Congressman who usually cruises to victory despite the fact his rural Minnesota District tends to support Republicans in Presidential and gubernatorial elections.
Does this sound like someone who is champing at the bit to run for a thirteenth term?
"I'm going to take a couple weeks and I'm going get back to normal," he said. "I can't remember how it feels to be normal."
Peterson has filed the paperwork required to run for re-election and he had a strong month of fundraising after attracting an opponent in December. On Wednesday he told reporters, "I'm running until I'm not," but the 69-year-old acknowledged Tuesday that he might not want to wait five years to tackle another farm bill (he was the Agriculture Committee chairman when Congress rewrote the law in 2008, and he said the traditionally bipartisan bill has gotten "significantly harder" to pass every time it has come up).
"Is this my last farm bill? It might be, but I've got to figure that out. I'm going to be 70 years old, I'm not a spring chicken," he said Tuesday. "Everybody wants me to run, I've got a lot of support."
In recent months it has been noted Peterson's fundraising efforts have lagged behind previous efforts. This has led to speculation that he is winding down his political career. Much has been made of his apparent lack of assistance for other Democrat Congressional Candidates.
When a bill is "ripe," aka being debated, you can bet that members with direct control over that legislation are rolling in the dough. Peterson is sitting on a bank of $227,000, but hasn't paid a penny of his dues to the DCCC.
According to the fourth quarter 2013 reports Peterson' raised $165,000 and has $357,000 on hand. These are not overwhelming amounts for the ranking Democrat on a committee that oversees an industry as large as American agriculture, especially not given a debate as hot as the one that accompanied the recent Farm Bill.