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Obstacles for Fischbach in her campaign to challenge Ag chair Peterson
With an early endorsement from President Trump, former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach is the GOP favorite to run against House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson in western Minnesota. But other candidates were loath to clear the way for her at a nominating convention in May and in the upcoming Aug. 11 primary election.
Peterson, a fiscally conservative “Blue Dog” Democrat who voted against impeachment of Trump, is seeking his 16th term in a district that voted in a landslide for the president in 2016. The race is regarded as a toss-up with Fischbach as the challenger. She needed eight ballots to win the Republican endorsement at a district nominating convention in May, and faces Dr. Noel Collis in the primary election.
According to the Federal Election Commission, Fischbach raised $593,000 by the end of March, about $100,0000 more than Collis. Collis said the eight rounds of balloting at the nominating convention were a sign of limited enthusiasm for Fischbach so he would actively contest the primary election. Both are staunch conservatives. On their websites, each lists gun rights, opposition to abortion and immigration as their top three issues.
Trump endorsed Fischbach on March 2, when it already was evident that she was the choice of party leaders. She was recruited by Rep. Tom Emmer, who represents an adjoining district and who is chairman of the House Republican campaign committee and quickly had endorsements from House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and Republican leaders in the Minnesota legislature.
Over the weekend, Fischbach and Republican Jason Lewis, who is running for the Senate, spoke at GOP gatherings in Detroit Lakes and Moorhead, where the Trump re-election campaign opened an office. Fischbach told WZFG-AM that the office in Moorhead, “shows how committed President Trump and his team are to turning Minnesota red and supporting my campaign in the 7th district.”
Absentee voting opened on Friday for the primary election.