Rep. Collin Peterson MN

Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson debates Republican Michelle Fischbach on Sept. 10 courtesy of WCCO. 

(The Center Square) – Democratic incumbent Rep. Collin Peterson and Republican Michelle Fischbach are squaring off for Minnesota’s Seventh Congressional District seat.

Slater Johnson is running for the Legal Marijuana Now Party but received fewer than 600 votes in August. 

Peterson is a conservative Democrat.

He represents an overwhelmingly Republican-leaning District – President Donald Trump won the district in 2016 with more than 61% of the vote.

Peterson stresses his ability to work across the aisle, having represented the mostly rural Seventh Congressional District since 1990.

One of the founding members of the centrist Blue Dog Democrats, Peterson is pro-life, pro-gun, and backs the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline.

“I don’t see myself as a partisan. I see myself as an American,” Peterson said in a Sept. 10 WCCO debate. “I am a representative. I go to D.C. and represent my district. And if my district is out of tune with my party, or vice versa, I don’t care. I’m going to represent my district.”

He voted against Obamacare and against impeaching Trump last December.

Fischbach was the first woman in Minnesota history to serve as president of the Minnesota Senate.

She was first elected to the Minnesota Senate in 1996 and served until 2018.

Fischbach aligns closely with Trump, who endorsed her this year, and has accused Peterson of being a “Pelosi-voting Democrat” who has spent 30 years pretending to be a conservative.

She’s pro-life and pro-gun, and supports more robust border security measures.

In a Sept. 10 debate on WCCO, both candidates agreed the $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act stimulus package passed by the U.S. House was too costly.

Peterson and Fischbach both argued that Gov. Tim Walz’s emergency COVID-19 restrictions went too far.

Peterson said it made little sense to have one-size-fits-all emergency orders in rural Minnesota, where there was a relatively small number of COVID-19 cases compared to the Twin Cities.

Fischbach called for getting “everything reopened, and we need to make sure it stays open,” calling shutting down businesses and high unemployment “the worst part of the pandemic.”

Fischbach has called for the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to become permanent.

The race is tight. The Cook Political Report and Real Clear Politics mark the race a toss-up.

Peterson took the Democratic primary in August with 75.6%, or 26,925 votes, while Fischbach won the Republican ticket with 58.8% or 26,359 votes.

Democrats currently control the U.S. House by a margin of 232 to Republican’s 197, with one Libertarian and five vacancies – but all House seats are up for grabs on Nov. 3.

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on and Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.