Long-serving 7th District Rep. Collin Peterson is facing a new challenger for his seat in Congress after Republican Michelle Fischbach announced her intention to run.
Fischbach announced her candidacy "after much consultation with my family and prayer," looking to unseat the Democrat Peterson, who was first elected to CD-07 in 1990.
She will likely face a challenge to get the Republican nomination from former candidate Dave Hughes, who was narrowly beaten by Peterson in the 2016 and 2018 elections and intends to run again.
Most recently, Fischbach served as the running mate for Tim Pawlenty's unsuccessful campaign for the GOP nomination for Minnesota governor.
Prior to that, she was the Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, a position to which she ascended under Gov. Mark Dayton after the former Lt. Gov., Tina Smith, replaced Al Franken as a U.S. Senator.
Fischbach became Lt. Gov. because she was the President of the Minnesota Senate – becoming the first woman to hold the position – having served District 13, covering an area west of St. Cloud, as a senator.
Minnesota's 7th congressional district is the largest by area in the state, covering a vast swathe of western Minnesota, going from the northern border with Canada almost to the southern border with Iowa.
It has become increasingly Republican over the years, with now President Donald Trump carrying it by 30 points in 2016. But despite that, Rep. Peterson – a bluedog Democrat – has held onto his seat.
Nonetheless, Peterson's margin of victory has narrowed to the point he only beat Hughes by 4.2 percent of the vote in 2018, having lost by 5.1 percent in 2016.
Fischbach, a mother of two and grandmother of five, holds a B.A. degree from SCSU and a J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law.
She lives in the Paynesville area, which is right on the edge of CD-07, with the city itself actually in the 6th Congressional District, which is held by Rep. Tom Emmer.
In her announcement, Fischbach said residents of the 7th District deserve a politician who will "fight for their values" and support "President Trump's agenda."
"People here believe in our constitutional rights. They believe in the right to life. They believe the next generation has the opportunity to pursue the American dream right here in Western Minnesota," she said.