Former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach announced Monday, Sept. 2, that she would challenge U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District.

The move tees up a competitive bid in the district that spans much of the western side of the state and launches one of the most serious challenges Peterson, a Democrat who has held the seat for decades, has seen.

President Donald Trump won the 7th District by more than 30 percentage points in 2016, setting up the nation’s congressional district with the most support for the president that is also represented by a Democrat in Congress. Peterson was re-elected in 2016 by a smaller margin, about 5 percentage points, over Republican Dave Hughes.

But Fischbach, who also served as the state’s first female president of the Minnesota Senate before ascending to her role as lieutenant governor in 2018, said Peterson has grown out of touch with his district and could use someone more willing to work with the White House.

The announcement of her candidacy elicited a change in the competitiveness of the race by election predictor Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, from leans Democratic to a toss-up.

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