GOP state Sen. Torrey Westrom will announce Thursday that he will challenge longtime Rep. Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., in the 7th District.
Westrom, the first legally blind person elected to the Minnesota Legislature, will make the announcement Thursday morning in the northwestern part of the state, according to a news release from the campaign.
Westrom is the first Republican to announce a bid against Peterson. Republicans have made the 12-term Democrat a top target in 2014.
Peterson, 69, is one of nine Democrats who represents a district that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried in 2012. Romney won the district with a 10-point margin in 2012, while Peterson defeated his Republican opponent by 26 points.
Operatives have speculated that Peterson could retire, thanks in part to his low fundraising hauls. But Democratic leadership, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, held a top-dollar fundraiser for Peterson — a signal he is gearing up for a re-election campaign.
Another Republican, businessman Scott Van Binsbergen, is also eyeing a bid but has not yet made a decision.
Minnesota’s 7th District is rated a Democrat Favored contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.