PoliGraph: NRCC misinterprets Peterson’s term limit record


After intense speculation that he would end his political career, 7th Congressional District Rep. Collin Peterson announced earlier this week that he would seek a 13th term.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which raises and spends money to maintain a Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, has been salivating over Peterson’s seat for some time now because the 7th District leans Republican.

With Peterson’s announcement, the NRCC is now trying to make the case that Peterson has overstayed his welcome in Congress by pointing out that he’s flip-flopped on congressional term limits.

Here’s what the group said in a recent press release:

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Peterson has voiced his support for 12-year term limits in the past and even voted for a term limits constitutional amendment … In 2010, Peterson also signed the U.S. Term Limits Amendment Pledge – 20 years after he first ran for Congress.

The NRCC gets half of this claim wrong.

The evidence

Peterson was first voted into office in 1991, which means he’s served for more than 20 years.

In 1995, Peterson voted in favor of a constitutional amendment that would limit terms for U.S. House members to 12 years. He voted for several other similar amendments, too.

At the time, Peterson issued a press release, saying that he would have liked to see those amendments go even further.

“I still believe the most workable way to do term limits is to limit everyone - members, staff, bureaucrats. If you only limit members, you turn more power over to the staff and the bureaucrats,” he said. "The term limit issue will be back before Congress in the future, and I will continue to support it."

The NRCC also states that Peterson signed the U.S. Term Limits Amendment Pledge in 2010.

But he didn’t.

The website lists names of all candidates in each state, but that’s not an indication that they’ve signed the pledge, said U.S. Term Limits Executive Director Nick Tomboulides.

Lawmakers who signed have a link to their pledge, and Peterson does not.

The verdict

The NRCC is right that Peterson supported limiting term limits early in his career.

But Peterson didn't sign a term limit pledge in 2010 as the NRCC states. In fact, the group has misinterpreted the U.S. Term Limits website, so it appears Peterson is contradicting himself.

The claim is misleading for being half right and half wrong.