GOP endorses former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach, Tyler Kistner for Congress

The Minnesota Republican Party announced its endorsement for the 7th and 2nd Congressional districts on Saturday.

Michelle Fischbach, the former lieutenant governor and state Senate president, won the party’s support to run against incumbent Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson in western Minnesota’s 7th District. Tyler Kistner, who served in the Marine Corps, was picked to run against Rep. Angie Craig in the 2nd District.

"It is one of the most Republican districts in the entire country in which we still have a Democratic member representing us in the U.S. House," GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan said of the 7th District in a video interview. "This district is ripe to turn red."

Peterson won the 7th District by slim margins in 2016 and 2018 even though it went firmly for President Donald Trump in the 2016 general election. He was also one of two House Democrats who voted against impeaching the president last year.

In the 2018 midterm election, Craig flipped a House seat encompassing much of the south metro that had been held by Republicans since 2000.

Fischbach, who resides in Paynesville, served in the Minnesota Legislature from 1996 to 2018 and became the first female president of the Senate in 2011. In 2018 she ascended to the office of lieutenant governor after then-Lt. Gov. Tina Smith resigned to serve in the U.S. Senate.

Kistner recently came off nine years of active duty in the U.S. Marines. According to his campaign website, he served as an infantry officer on four overseas tours and was later selected to serve in the Marine Special Operations Forces. This is his first time running for public office.

The candidates still need to win the August primary before November’s general election.