The latest Republican to challenge longtime U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson in Minnesota’s conservative Seventh District is Michelle Fischbach, who said during a stop in Crookston this week that although Peterson has stressed for years that he’s a conservative Democrat, his actual votes often don’t back up his talk.

    “He says he’s a ‘blue dog’ and he’s conservative; you say it enough and people start to believe it,” Fischbach said during an informal sit-down at RBJ’s Restaurant with a handful of supporters. “But he votes 85% of the time against the president.”

    Fischbach says she and other Republican candidates across the country need to be voted into the U.S. House to return it to the Republican majority it lost in the November 2018 midterm election so they can more successfully carry out President Donald Trump’s agenda.

    Much of the conversation during Fischbach’s session in RBJ’s back room focused on abortion. She noted that National Right to Life at one time endorsed Peterson, who is perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the House, but now endorses her. Again, Fischbach said actual votes matter more than talk. She said she is 100% pro-life in her votes with a “fully conservative track record of protecting life.”

    Fischbach still must secure the party’s endorsement. Her primary challenger in the Seventh District is Dave Hughes of Karlstad, who ran against Peterson and lost in 2016 and 2018 and is running again this year.

    Fischbach said she doesn’t know a lot about Hughes, but noted that the “biggest thing is electability.” Even if you’re a strong conservative who believes in advancing the Trump agenda, it doesn’t do you or anyone much good if you can’t “get to Washington, D.C.,” she said. In addition, Fischbach continued, she has previous experience as a lawmaker, which gives her valuable insight into how the “legislative process” works.

    Fischbach, of rural Paynesville, is married with two children. She served in the Minnesota Senate, becoming Minnesota Senate president in 2010, the first woman in state history to do so. She was appointed to fill the vacant lieutenant governor position in 2018, serving the final months in Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration before he retired.