Collin Peterson

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Collin Peterson
Collin Peterson.jpg
U.S. House, Minnesota, District 7
In office
January 3, 1991-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 24
PredecessorArlan Stangeland (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 6, 1990
Next primaryAugust 12, 2014
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$5,638,331
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Minnesota State Senate
Bachelor'sMoorhead State University
Military service
Service/branchMinnesota Army National Guard
Years of service1963-1969
Date of birthJune 29, 1944
Place of birthFargo, ND
Net worth$1,602,008.50
Office website
Campaign website
Collin Clark Peterson (b. June 29, 1944, in Fargo, ND) is a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing Minnesota's 7th Congressional District. Peterson was first elected to the House in 1990. He won re-election in 2012.[1] He ran for re-election to the U.S. House to represent the 7th Congressional District of Minnesota in 2014.[2]

Peterson was previously a member of the Minnesota State Senate, serving from 1977 to 1986.[3]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Peterson is a more moderate left of center Democratic Party vote. As a result, he may break with the Democratic Party line more than his fellow members.


Peterson was born in 1944 in Fargo, North Dakota. He earned his B.A. from Moorhead State University in 1966, also serving in the Minnesota Army National Guard from 1963 to 1969. Prior to his political career, Peterson worked as an accountant.[3]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Peterson's professional and political career:[3]

Committee assignments

U.S. House


Peterson serves on the following committees:[4]


Peterson served on the following committees:[5]

Key votes

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 224 out of the 3215 introduced bills (7 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[6] For more information pertaining to Peterson's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[7]

National security

American response in Syria

See also: United States involvement in Syria

More than 100 House lawmakers signed a letter urging President Barack Obama to call Congress back into session if he planned to use military force in Syria.[8]

Rep. Scott Rigell wrote in the letter in August 2013, “engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.”[8][9]

The members of Congress believed that Obama should have asked Congress for permission before engaging in Libya. The letter asked, “If the use of 221 Tomahawk cruise missles, [sic] 704 Joint Direct Attack Munitions, and 42 Predator Hellfire missiles expended in Libya does not constitute ‘hostilities,’ what does?”[9]

The letter stated, “If you deem that military action in Syria is necessary, Congress can reconvene at your request. We stand ready to come back into session, consider the facts before us, and share the burden of decisions made regarding U.S. involvement in the quickly escalating Syrian conflict."[9]

A total of 98 Republicans signed the letter. Peterson was one of 18 Democratic members to sign the letter.[9]


Voted "Yes" Peterson voted in support of HR 1960 - the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014. The bill passed the House on June 14, 2013, with a vote of 315 - 108. Both parties were somewhat divided on the vote.[10]

DHS Appropriations

Voted "No" Peterson voted in opposition of HR 2217 - the DHS Appropriations Act (2014) Act of 2014. The bill passed the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 245 - 182 and was largely along party lines.[10]

Keystone Pipeline Amendment

Voted "No" Peterson voted in opposition of House Amendment 69, which would have amended HR 3 to "require that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, conduct a study of the vulnerabilities of the Keystone XL pipeline to a terrorist attack and certify that necessary protections have been put in place." The amendment failed on May 22, 2013, with a vote of 176 - 239 and was largely along party lines.[10]

CISPA (2013)

Voted "Yes" Peterson supported HR 624 - the CISPA (2013). The bill passed the House on April 18, 2013, with a vote of 288 - 127. The bill would allow federal intelligence agencies to share cybersecurity intelligence and information with private entities and utilities.[11] The bill was largely supported by Republicans, but divided the Democratic Party.[10]


2013 Farm Bill

See also: United States Farm Bill 2013

Voted "No" The comprehensive farm bill failed in the House due largely in part to the votes of 8 Democratic House members who joined the Republican majority to vote down the measure.[12] Reps. Peterson, John Barrow, Sanford Bishop, Cheri Bustos, Sean Maloney, Mike McIntyre, Bill Owens, and Tim Walz were the 8 Democratic members who voted to reject the bill.[12] According to analysis by, many of these Democratic members have received significant political contributions from agricultural organizations that benefit from crop insurance subsidies.[12] Five of the eight are on the House Agriculture Committee--Peterson, Bustos, Maloney, McIntyre, and Walz-- from which agribusiness firms routinely target committee members with sizable contributions.[12]

Peterson recently expressed frustration with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor while at Farmfest in Minnesota. Peterson said Cantor is the main roadblock to get a farm bill passed. He added, "I don't get along with that guy and I don't know what to do about him."[13]

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "No" On September 30, 2013, the House passed a final stopgap spending bill before the shutdown went into effect. The bill included a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and would have also stripped the bill of federal subsidies for congressional members and staff. It passed through the House with a vote of 228-201.[14] At 1 a.m. on October 1, 2013, one hour after the shutdown officially began, the House voted to move forward with going to a conference. In short order, Sen. Harry Reid rejected the call to conference.[15] Peterson voted against the stopgap spending bill that would have delayed the individual mandate.[14]

Voted "Yes" The shutdown finally ended on October 16, 2013, when the House took a vote on HR 2775 after it was approved by the Senate. The bill to reopen the government lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[16] The House passed the legislation shortly after the Senate, by a vote of 285-144, with all 144 votes against the legislation coming from Republican members. Peterson voted for HR 2775.[17]


Immigration Executive Order

Voted "No" Peterson opposed an amendment that would prohibit funding for the "Morton Memos," which relax enforcement of immigration laws.[18]



Voted "No" Peterson opposed repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Healthcare-Related Provisions in the Healthcare and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[18]

Social issues

House vote on abortion ban

Yea3.png On June 18, 2013, the House voted 228-196 on HR1797, mostly along party lines, to approve a ban on abortions occurring after 20 weeks of pregnancy.[19][20][21] A number of members crossed over party lines in their votes. The vote was largely symbolic, as the Senate was not expected to take up the bill, and the White House threatened to veto the legislation.[22] Peterson was one of six Democratic members who voted in favor of the ban.

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "No" Peterson voted against the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. He was 1 of 16 Democrats that voted against the bill. The bill was passed in the House by a 257-167 vote on January 1, 2013.[23]


On The Issues Vote Match

Collin Peterson Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Peterson is a Moderate Populist. Peterson received a score of 28 percent on social issues and 34 percent on economic issues.[24]

Note: We are working to resolve inaccuracies with this information. Thank you for your patience.

On The Issues organization logo.

Campaign themes


The following issues were highlighted on Peterson's campaign website:[25]

  • Veterans

Excerpt: "I have worked to secure the biggest increase in veterans’ benefits in our nation’s history. I’ve also worked with communities across the 7th District to build Veterans Homes and Veterans Clinics so that veterans and their families don’t have to drive for hours just to get the health care services they need."[25]

  • Agriculture

Excerpt: "As Chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, I put together a coalition to pass a 2008 Farm Bill that offered a strong safety net for farmers."[25]

  • Education

Excerpt: "I’ve worked to expand educational opportunities in Minnesota by working to secure more funding for Pell Grants and land grant colleges, securing funding for nursing programs at Bemidji State University, securing funding for research programs at the University of Minnesota Morris, and securing funding for the Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Minnesota Crookston."[25]

  • Healthcare

Excerpt: "Health care reform is an important goal for our country, and I have always supported reform that will bring down the cost of health care without increasing our country’s growing debt. Now that President Obama has signed the landmark health care reform bill, I will work hard to make sure that the bill is implemented fairly."[25]

  • Wall Street Reform

Excerpt: "In the 2010 Congress I was deeply involved in writing the Peterson-Frank Financial Regulatory Reform bill that passed the House. The bill would prevent the kind of excessive speculation on Wall Street that caused the world-wide financial system meltdown at the end of 2008 and led to taxpayer-funded bailouts and the ongoing recession."[25]

  • Immigration

Excerpt: "I oppose amnesty for illegal aliens. In Congress, I voted for the “get tough” immigration bill to secure our borders, increase the number of security personnel, and build an extended border fence along our southern border. We need to give law enforcement officials more resources to capture and deport people who are in this country illegally."[25]



See also: Minnesota's 7th Congressional District elections, 2014

Peterson ran in the 2014 election for the U.S. House to represent Minnesota's 7th District. Peterson sought the Democratic nomination in the primary on August 12, 2014. The general election took place November 4, 2014.

The National Republican Congressional Committee listed Peterson's seat as one of seven early targets in the 2014 congressional elections.[26] The seven targets align perfectly with the seven most Republican districts currently held by Democrats, according to FairVote's partisanship index. Peterson's district ranks as the 5th most Republican (45% D).[27]

Peterson is being targeted in a new series of ads by the National Republican Congressional Committee calling on Minnesota voters to vote out the Blue Dog Democrat in 2014. The ad alleges Peterson is a career politician and to blame for "the crippling gridlock and dysfunction in Washington," according to NRCC spokeswoman Alleigh Marre.[28] He was also targeted in ads run by the American Future Fund. The ad buy totaled nearly $100,000 and ran in December 2014.[29]

On November 21, 2013, a fundraising breakfast was held to benefit Peterson's 2014 campaign. The breakfast featured House members Nancy Pelosi, George Miller, Sander Levin and Steve Israel, among others.[30]


See also: Minnesota's 7th Congressional District elections, 2012

Peterson won re-election in 2012.[31] He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary, and defeated Republican Lee Byberg and independent candidate Adam Steele in the November general election.[1]

U.S. House, Minnesota District 7 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngCollin Peterson Incumbent 60.4% 197,791
     Republican Lee Byberg 34.8% 114,151
     Independence Adam Steele 4.7% 15,298
     NA Write-in 0.1% 336
Total Votes 327,576
Source: Minnesota Secretary of State, "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election" (dead link)


Peterson was endorsed by the organizations below for the 2012 election.[32]

  • Education Minnesota
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • National Education Association
  • Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association
  • Minnesota Farmers Union PAC
  • Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council
  • National Rifle Association
  • Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation Political Action Committee

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Peterson is available dating back to 2000. Based on available campaign finance records, Peterson raised a total of $5,638,331 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 16, 2013.[44]

Collin Peterson's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 U.S. House (Minnesota, District 7) Won $1,129,343
2010 U.S. House (Minnesota, District 7) Won $1,174,500
2008 U.S. House (Minnesota, District 7) Won $1,218,264
2006 U.S. House (Minnesota, District 7) Won $938,128
2004 U.S. House (Minnesota, District 7) Won $422,906
2002 U.S. House (Minnesota, District 7) Won $417,249
2000 U.S. House (Minnesota, District 7) Won $337,941
Grand Total Raised $5,638,331


Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Peterson's reports.[45]

Peterson raised only $94,000 in the second quarter. He has $205,000 in cash on hand as of July 2013.[51]


Breakdown of funds according to source.

Peterson won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. During that election cycle, Peterson's campaign committee raised a total of $1,129,343 and spent $1,497,202.[52]

Cost per vote

Peterson spent $7.57 per vote received in 2012.


Breakdown of the source of Peterson's campaign funds before the 2010 election.

Peterson won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. During that re-election cycle, Peterson's campaign committee raised a total of $1,174,500 and spent $1,269,568.[53]

Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a four-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of four different metrics:

PGI: Change in net worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Peterson's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $544,020 and $2,659,997. That averages to $1,602,008.50, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic representatives in 2012 of $5,700,168.36. Peterson ranked as the 170th most wealthy representative in 2012.[54] Between 2004 and 2012, Peterson's calculated net worth[55] increased by an average of 78 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[56]

Collin C. Peterson Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2004 to 2012:622%
Average annual growth:78%[57]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[58]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.


Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[59]

Peterson most often votes with:

Peterson least often votes with:

Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Peterson is a "centrist Democrat," as of June 14, 2013.[60]

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Peterson missed 283 of 14,455 roll call votes from Jan 1991 to Apr 2013, which is 2.0% of votes during that period. This is better than the median of 2.2% among the lifetime records of representatives currently serving.[60]

Congressional Staff Salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Peterson paid his congressional staff a total of $1,084,875 in 2011. Overall, Minnesota ranked 26th in average salary for representative staff. The average U.S. House of Representatives congressional staff was paid $954,912.20 in fiscal year 2011.[61]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year, National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted, as compared to other members, in the previous year. More information about the analysis process can be found on the vote ratings page.


According to the data released in 2013, Peterson was ranked the 183rd most liberal representative during 2012.[62]


According to the data released in 2012, Collin Peterson was ranked the 183rd most liberal representative during 2011.[63]

Voting with party


Collin Peterson voted with the Democratic Party 80.4 percent of the time, which ranked 196th among the 201 House Democratic members as of June 2013.[64]


Peterson lives in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.[65]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Collin + Peterson + Minnesota + House

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Collin Peterson News Feed

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See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 ABC News, "General Election Results 2012-Minnesota," accessed November 7, 2012
  2. Minnesota Secretary of State, "2014 State General Election Candidate Filings," accessed June 11, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Biographical Guide to Members of Congress, "Collin Peterson," accessed December 11, 2011
  4., "House Committee Rosters for the 113th Congress"
  5. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "House of Representatives Committee Assignments," accessed December 11, 2011
  6. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  7. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 Yahoo, "65 Lawmakers Ask Obama to Consult on Syria," accessed August 28, 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Politico, "33 lawmakers: Congress must approve Syria action," accessed August 28, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Project Vote Smart, "Representative Collin Peterson's Voting Records on National Security," accessed September 26, 2013
  11. The Library of Congress, "H.R.624 CISPA (2013) (Referred in Senate - RFS)," accessed August 27, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 OpenSecrets, "Agribusiness and the Farm Bill: Wayward Dems Benefit from Contributions," accessed July 19, 2013
  13. Minnesota Public Radio, "Walz and Peterson on the farm bill, and more," accessed August 20, 2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
  15. Buzzfeed, "Government Shutdown: How We Got Here," accessed October 1, 2013
  16. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  17. U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 550," accessed October 31, 2013
  18. 18.0 18.1 Project Vote Smart, "Peterson on the issues," accessed September 12, 2013
  19. THOMAS (Library of Congress), "H.R. 1797," accessed June 23, 2013
  20. CNN, "House passes late term abortion ban," accessed June 20, 2013
  21. U.S. House, "June 18 Roll Call Vote," accessed June 20, 2013
  22. Politico, "House OKs 20-week abortion ban bill," accessed June 20, 2013
  23. U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  24. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ontheissues
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 25.6 Collin Peterson for Congress, "Issues"
  26. The Hill, "NRCC, promising to 'stay on offense,' targets seven Dems," accessed January 16, 2013
  27. FairVote, "NRCC Targets Foreshadow Power of Partisanship in 2014 Elections," accessed January 18, 2013
  28. Grand Forks Herald, "GOP targets Peterson in Minnesota’s 7th District," accessed August 19, 2013
  29. Roll Call, "Peterson Targeted in New Ad From Outside Group," accessed December 16, 2013
  30. Roll Call, "Top Democratic Leadership to Fundraise for Peterson," accessed November 20, 2013
  31. National Journal, "The Retirement Season," accessed February 11, 2012
  32. Collin Peterson for Congress, "Endorsements"
  33. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  34. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013
  35. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006," accessed March 28, 2013
  36. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2004," accessed March 28, 2013
  37. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 2002," accessed March 28, 2013
  38. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2000," accessed March 28, 2013
  39. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1998," accessed March 28, 2013
  40. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 1996," accessed March 28, 2013
  41. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 8, 1994," accessed March 28, 2013
  42. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1992," accessed March 28, 2013
  43. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 6, 1990," accessed March 28, 2013
  44. OpenSecrets, "Collin Peterson," accessed May 16, 2013
  45. Federal Election Commission, "Peterson 2014 Summary reports," accessed July 18, 2013
  46. FEC, "April Quarterly," accessed July 18, 2013
  47. FEC, "July Quarterly," accessed July 18, 2013
  48. FEC, "October Quarterly," accessed October 23, 2013
  49. FEC, "Year-End Quarterly," accessed February 11, 2014
  50. FEC, "April Quarterly," accessed May 16, 2014
  51. Roll Call, "House Fundraising Winners and Losers," accessed July 17, 2013
  52. OpenSecrets, "2012 Re-Election Cycle," accessed February 15, 2013
  53. OpenSecrets, "Tim Walz 2010 Re-Election Cycle," accessed December 3, 2011
  54. OpenSecrets, "Collin C. Peterson (D-MN), 2012," accessed February 18, 2014
  55. This figure represents the average annual percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below) to 2012, divided by the number of years calculated.
  56. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  57. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  58. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  59. OpenCongress, "Collin Peterson," accessed August 5, 2013
  60. 60.0 60.1 GovTrack, "Collin Peterson," accessed June 14, 2013
  61. LegiStorm, "Collin Peterson," accessed October 8, 2012
  62. National Journal, "TABLE: House Liberal Scores by Issue Area," accessed February 26, 2013
  63. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," accessed February 23, 2012
  64. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  65. Official House Site, "Full Biography," accessed December 11, 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
Arlan Strangeland
U.S. House of Representatives - Minneosta District 7
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Minnesota State Senate
Succeeded by