DFL Rep. Collin Peterson is dismissing the decision by Minnesota Citizen’s Concerned for Life to not endorse him this year.
Peterson and his campaign declined to comment last week when MCCL decided not to endorse him. The group said Peterson lost its endorsement because he voted against efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (even though he voted against the original bill).
Republican Lee Byberg’s campaign is now pointing to an online video that was captured by two people at Concordia College that features Peterson talking about MCCL’s decision. In the video, Peterson dismissed MCCL’s decision to not endorse anyone in the race to Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District.
“The only place it got reported is MPR, and those people don’t listen to MPR,” Peterson said to the woman who asked about the MCCL’s decision in the video. (Note: The Star Tribune also wrote about MCCL’s decision).
Peterson, who has been endorsed by the MCCL in the past, also suggested that the group contained extremists on the abortion issue. Peterson is opposed to legalized abortion. He later added MCCL’s decision to not endorse him “is an end to them as an organization.”
“They’re now a completely partisan organization,” Peterson said. “When you get into that position, you’re done. The NRA is smarter because they keep 60 or 70 Democrats. They went out and purposely make a partisan issue out of this. It’s stupid.”
Byberg’s campaign swiftly rebuked Peterson’s comments.
“Peterson’s decades in Congress have made him arrogant,” said Byberg campaign manager Liz Gorham. “Attacking MCCL for sticking to their pro-life principles is appalling. Did it ever occur to him that pro-life voters might want a pro-life Congressman? That isn’t extreme, it’s democracy.”
Peterson’s campaign spokeswoman didn’t respond to questions about today’s comments.
Peterson sent along this statement regarding MCCL’s decision:
“I respect the right of MCCL to not endorse me or my opponent in this race.
I am pro-life, and have had a 100 percent record with them. I opposed the Affordable Care Act, and have since supported removing the parts of that bill that MCCL objects to. However, their position on repealing the ACA has become partisan and political, and I don’t think this should be a partisan issue.
As I’ve said before, we need to put aside partisanship and work together in Congress to fix what isn’t working in this bill, while keeping some of the patient protection issues, like eliminating pre-existing condition exclusions, eliminating the Medicare prescription drug donut hole and allowing individuals to stay on a parent’s health care plan up to age 26.”