Every other year, people question whether Collin Peterson will retire. It’s like a fifth season in Minnesota. The order goes spring, summer, fall, is Collin Peterson retiring, then winter. Last fall, Peterson announced that he’d announce whether he’d seek another term “in January or February.” February is half gone and we still haven’t heard anything from Peterson.

What we have heard is that, if he runs, Peterson has a primary challenger:

Thaddeus Laugisch, of Moorhead, on Thursday, Feb. 13, said he planned to challenge U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson for his 7th District seat. Laugisch is seeking the Democratic endorsement for the seat and said he could be a better advocate than Peterson, the nearly three-decade incumbent, for Minnesota’s workers.

“Families of western Minnesota are struggling while CEO profits are at all-time highs,” Laugisch said in a news release. “Minnesotans deserve a fresh perspective in Washington that fits their needs, instead of the needs of the wealthy.”

I’ve never heard of Mr. Laugisch. I’m not surprised by that because Collin Peterson is the DFL bench in CD-7.

Peterson has not yet announced whether he will seek another term and several GOP candidates have signed up to take on Peterson in the district that favored President Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016 by 30 percentage points. Peterson said last year that he expected to make an announcement about his plans in January or early February, but two weeks into February Peterson still hadn’t made public his plan.

It’s impossible to know what Peterson’s plans are at this point but nothing will surprise me. In one way, I think the retirement question is almost irrelevant. Peterson votes against President Trump 85% of the time in a district that Trump won by 31 points in 2016. That’s a strong structural disadvantage to start a campaign.

Peterson has won by smaller and smaller margins the past few cycles. In 2018, which was a strong DFL year, Peterson won by 4.26%. In 2016, Peterson won by 5.06%. In 2014, Peterson won by 8 points. In 2012, Peterson won by 20 points.

Republicans have several top-tier, well-financed, challengers running. In the interest of full disclosure, I contributed to Michelle Fischbach. That being said, I don’t have a vote in the matter. If he runs, the people might involuntarily retire him.

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