Republican Michelle Fischbach ousted DFL Rep. Collin Peterson in Minnesota’s Seventh District on Tuesday, ending a three-decade career in Congress and toppling Democras’ powerful chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
Fischbach, a former lieutenant governor and state senator from Paynesville, benefited from President Donald Trump’s popularity in the western Minnesota district and a flood of spending from outside groups against Peterson.
Fischbach was ahead by more than 13% of the vote when the race was called after 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Four years ago, Donald Trump won Peterson’s Seventh Congressional District by more than 30 percentage points over Hillary Clinton. Peterson managed to hang on, beating a little-known challenger by 5% of the vote and earning the distinction as the Democrat representing a district that swung the hardest for Trump in 2016.
But Republicans railed on Peterson in television ads, trying to tie him to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and progressive Democrats like DFL Rep. Ilhan Omar. Peterson, a Blue Dog Democrat, pushed back on that narrative in his own ads, touting his vote against impeachment and his support for law enforcement.
He emphasized the strength of his work on the farm bill, trade deals and his influence over ag policy in a largely rural district. He was endorsed by the Minnesota Farm Bureau.
Fischbach, who was endorsed by Trump, used Peterson’s longevity against him, saying there should not be lifetime politicians and the district needed a fresh face in Washington. She also said the person who represents the district should be more closely aligned with the president.