Peterson says GOP efforts to push him out having the opposite effect

WASHINGTON - Democrat Collin Peterson, the longest-serving member of Minnesota's congressional delegation, says he's likely to run for office again in part because of mounting Republican efforts to unseat him.

Peterson has represented the 7th District in the U.S. House since 1991. While Republicans have fared well at the presidential level in the conservative-leaning district, they've struggled to find a candidate who's offered a significant challenge to the independent-minded Peterson.

Just last week, national Republicans rented a truck with an anti-Peterson sign on it to drive through his hometown of Detroit Lakes in attempt to link Peterson to the IRS scandals and the Affordable Care Act.

This week, some GOP operatives have also been spreading rumors online that Peterson plans to purchase a condo in Florida and retire from Congress.

In an interview, Peterson, who turns 69 later this month, denied the rumors about retirement and a Florida condo and said the recent Republican efforts to push him out the door were having the opposite effect.

"I went from neutral on running again to 90 percent just because of this stupid stuff they're doing," said Peterson about the mobile signs and retirement rumors. "You can't let these people be in charge of anything, in my opinion."

In another sign that Peterson intends to run again, his campaign raised $165,000 in the first quarter of this year, in line with his past fundraising efforts.

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