Democrats Collin Peterson, Edwin Edwards announce House bids

Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards both announced campaigns for Congress Monday.
By Gabrielle Levy  |  March 17, 2014 at 4:03 PM
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The 113th Congress may have taken the day off (again) Monday, but two Democrats took the snow day to announce their intention to be part of the 114th.

While on recess in Minnesota this week, Rep. Collin Peterson announced his plans to run for a 13th term as the representative from the 7th District.

"I still have a lot of work to do," Peterson said in a news release.

The 69-year-old congressman easily swept to victory in 2012, taking 60 percent of the vote in a district who handed Mitt Romney a 54 percent victory over President Obama. Peterson is the ranking member of the House Agricultural Committee, and represents a much easier path to victory for his party than if he retired and another Democrat ran in his place.

"It’s been a challenging and sometimes frustrating few years," Peterson wrote after helping pass the farm bill last month. "I’ve described the process as lunacy, Never-Never Land, and have lamented being caught in farm bill hell. But I refused to give up. Even with all the partisanship in Washington, the farm bill proves that compromise is possible."

And in Louisiana, former Gov. Edwin Edwards has announced his decision to run in the open race for the 6th Congressional District.

Edwards, 86, spent nine years in prison for extortion, fraud and racketeering charges, but said he wouldn't let his checkered past get in the way of him running to fill the seat given up by Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu.

"I acknowledge there are good reasons I should not run," Edwards told the Press Club of Baton Rouge Monday. "But there are better reasons why I should."

Edwards said he approves of the Keystone XL Pipeline and would have voted against the Affordable Care Act, even as he disapproves of Gov. Bobby Jindal's refusal to accept federal funds for Medicaid expansion.

"[Obamacare] is too fraught with pitfalls," he said, but "it is the law and we're going to have to deal with it at least until Obama is out of office."

Edwards maintains his innocence in the crimes for which he spent nine years in federal prison, but Republicans in the state don't seem inclined to be magnanimous.

"After failing to recruit credible candidates for multiple election cycles, the Louisiana Democrat Party finally landed a notable candidate for public office," said Jason Doré, the executive director of the state Republican party. "Unfortunately, Edwin Edwards is known for all the wrong reasons. His antics may be fit for a reality show, but not public office."

Edwards joins seven Republicans and one Democrat in the race.

[Star-Tribune] [Times-Picayune] [The Hill]

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