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Minnesota Democrat Peterson votes against Trump impeachment

December 19, 2019 GMT
FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2019 file photo, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., asks a question on Capitol Hill in Washington. The 2020 election poses a dilemma for conservative Republican voters like Minnesota farmer Jeff Ampe. He likes his incumbent Democratic congressman, Chairman Peterson. He also likes Peterson's leading GOP challenger, former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach. The 75-year-old Peterson says he won't decide until January or February whether he'll seek a 16th term, and Fischbach still must secure the Republican nomination.(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin File)
FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2019 file photo, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., asks a question on Capitol Hill in Washington. The 2020 election poses a dilemma for conservative Republican voters like Minnesota farmer Jeff Ampe. He likes his incumbent Democratic congressman, Chairman Peterson. He also likes Peterson's leading GOP challenger, former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach. The 75-year-old Peterson says he won't decide until January or February whether he'll seek a 16th term, and Fischbach still must secure the Republican nomination.(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin File)
FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2019 file photo, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., asks a question on Capitol Hill in Washington. The 2020 election poses a dilemma for conservative Republican voters like Minnesota farmer Jeff Ampe. He likes his incumbent Democratic congressman, Chairman Peterson. He also likes Peterson's leading GOP challenger, former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach. The 75-year-old Peterson says he won't decide until January or February whether he'll seek a 16th term, and Fischbach still must secure the Republican nomination.(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin File)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota on Wednesday voted against both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, one of just two Democrats to do so.

Peterson had long hinted he would take that course, calling impeachment a waste of time because of Republican opposition. He was also one of only two Democrats to vote against launching the House impeachment inquiry.

In a statement, Peterson highlighted the partisan divide over impeachment. He also said the House proceeding “has not convinced the people in my district we have impeachable offenses and that the president needs to be removed.”

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“This process has been a mistake and I will not be whipped in line by my party,” Peterson added. “I may stand alone but I stand in good conscience. History will show this to be a mistake and the Senate will make short work of an acquittal.”

Peterson, a conservative Blue Dog Democrat who represents an increasingly Republican district in western Minnesota, faces a tough re-election fight if he chooses to run again. He has said he’ll decide that in January or February.

Peterson has relied on his influence on farm policy as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, his willingness to buck his party and his accessibility to win votes in a district that Trump carried by a whopping 31 percentage points.

But the GOP establishment has recruited a strong challenger in former state senator Michelle Fischbach, who served a stint as lieutenant governor last year. She has regularly attacked Peterson for not using his influence to stop Trump’s impeachment, while touting her own strong support for the president.

The rest of Minnesota’s congressional delegation voted along party lines.