Michelle Fischbach explains how she flipped a blue Minnesota district

blue to red

Democrat Rep. Collin Peterson was ousted after 30 years in office

Michelle Fischbach For Congress

Michelle Fischbach

This week, former Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Michelle Fischbach did what no Republican in Minnesota’s red-leaning 7th congressional district had managed to accomplish in decades: She unseated Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), a conservative Democrat who hung onto his seat for 30 years, even as the district moved decisively into the Republican camp.

In an interview with Jewish Insider on Thursday, Fischbach explained that she pulled through where previous challengers had failed by building a robust campaign organization, nearly matching Peterson in fundraising and successfully tying the centrist incumbent to left-wing forces in his party.

“For many years he had weaker opponents with less money,” Fischbach said. “He was supporting Nancy Pelosi, he was voting for her and moving that socialist agenda along that they were pushing. The biggest effect of our campaign is we had the money to make sure we got that message out.”

Fischbach emphasized that the Republican Party should continue to recruit female candidates, after the election delivered the GOP its highest-ever number of female legislators.

“I think that women are able to make sure that they get that message out,” she said. “When a strong woman shares a message, I think that’s important.”

The Minnesota Republican told JI she hopes to sit on the Agriculture and Education and Workforce committees, and plans to prioritize the economy and the agriculture industry. Her predecessor, Peterson, is the current Agriculture Committee chair, and has long maintained a close relationship with the district’s critical agriculture industry.

The congresswoman-elect, who took a strong pro-Israel stance in a position paper shared with JI in August, said she is “looking forward” to taking her first trip to Israel on the AIPAC-affiliated American Israel Education Foundation’s trip for first-term lawmakers.

“I’ve always wanted to visit,” she said.

Fischbach knows she will enter Washington as part of the House’s Republican minority, and plans to draw on her experience in the Minnesota State Senate to work with politicians across the political spectrum.

“That experience will really serve me well,” she said. “The important part of that is that we’re still able to get things done. So working with whoever I need to work with — without compromising my principles.”

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