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Starting Tuesday, the National Republican Congressional Committee will run a 30-second ad on Moorhead cable channels calling on northwestern Minnesotans to make U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson’s 24th year in Washington, D.C., his last. Forum file photo

Republicans aim to unseat Minn.’s Collin Peterson

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MOORHEAD – National Republicans are targeting Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson in 2014, and Moorhead residents will soon see GOP bull’s-eyes on his back.

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The 2014 election is still more than a year away, but starting Tuesday, the National Republican Congressional Committee will run a 30-second spot on Moorhead cable channels calling on northwestern Minnesotans to make Peterson’s 24th year in Washington, D.C., his last.

Peterson is one of seven congressional Democrats the NRCC believes may be vulnerable in the 2014 election. The campaign organization is airing ads that paint Peterson as an out-of-touch politician who has been in Congress too long.

“With congressional approval ratings in the tank, Minnesotans can blame career politicians like Collin Peterson for the crippling gridlock and dysfunction in Washington,” NRCC spokeswoman Alleigh Marre said of the 7th District Democrat, of Detroit Lakes. “Collin Peterson needs to go.”

Peterson’s campaign staff did not respond to a request for comment.

The ad features a farmer from Peterson’s district criticizing overregulation in the agricultural industry that will “jeopardize most family farms.”

It’s part of the NRCC’s $22,000 advertising purchase, split between cable channels in the Fargo-Moorhead area and the Twin Cities. Marre declined to discuss other details of the ad buy.

Peterson’s district is among the most Republican-leaning in the state – second only to the seat now held by Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann. The Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voting Index, which scores each congressional district based on its party lean, ranked Minnesota’s 7th District at a plus-six for Republicans for 2014.

But Peterson has cruised to easy victories in nearly every race since he was first elected in 1990. He beat Republican challenger Lee Byberg in 2010 by a 17.6-point spread, and again in 2012 by a 25-point margin.

He’s one of the few remaining so-called Blue Dogs – a group of Democrats that identify themselves as moderates – and a strong voice on agricultural issues in the Republican-controlled House.

Peterson is the ranking Democrat on the Agriculture Committee, which he chaired until Democrats lost control of the House in the 2010 election.

A few names have circulated as possible challengers, but no Republicans have stepped up to formally contest Peterson in 2014.

Kyle Potter | Forum News Service

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