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Michelle Fischbach

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michelle Fischbach
2020-11-18-LH-Studio1- Fischbach-Michelle-0029-re-SELECT.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 7th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2021
Preceded byCollin Peterson
49th Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
In office
January 2, 2018[a] – January 7, 2019
GovernorMark Dayton
Preceded byTina Smith
Succeeded byPeggy Flanagan
10th and 12th President of the Minnesota Senate
In office
January 3, 2017 – May 25, 2018
Preceded bySandy Pappas
Succeeded byJeremy Miller
In office
January 4, 2011 – January 7, 2013
Preceded byJim Metzen
Succeeded bySandy Pappas
Member of the Minnesota Senate
In office
February 12, 1996 – May 25, 2018
Preceded byJoe Bertram
Succeeded byJeff Howe
  • 14th district (1996–2013)
  • 13th district (2013–2018)
Personal details
Michelle Louise Helene St. Martin

(1965-11-03) November 3, 1965 (age 55)
Woodbury, Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Scott Fischbach
EducationSt. Cloud State University (BA)
William Mitchell College of Law (JD)
WebsiteHouse website

Michelle Louise Helene Fischbach (née St. Martin; born November 3, 1965) is an American attorney and politician who is the U.S. representative from Minnesota's 7th congressional district. The district, Minnesota's largest and most rural district, includes most of the western area of the state, including Moorhead, Fergus Falls, Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, Morris, Thief River Falls, Willmar, Marshall, and Alexandria. A Republican, Fischbach previously served as the 49th lieutenant governor of Minnesota and as the first female president of the Minnesota senate.

Early life, education and career

Fischbach grew up in Woodbury, Minnesota. After graduating from Woodbury High School, she attended the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph from 1984 to 1986; she later transferred to St. Cloud State University, where she graduated with a B.A. in political science and economics in 1989.[1] Fischbach earned her J.D. from William Mitchell School of Law in Saint Paul in 2011.[2]

In 1994, Fischbach became the first woman elected to the Paynesville city council, where she served until she was elected to the Minnesota senate in 1996.[3]

Minnesota senate

Fischbach was elected to the Minnesota senate in 1996 in a special election held after the resignation of DFL Senator Joe Bertram, who had recently pleaded guilty to shoplifting.[1] Fischbach was reelected months later in the 1996 general election, and in 2000, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2012, and 2016.[4] She served as an assistant minority leader from 2001 to 2002 and from 2007 to 2008, and as a deputy minority leader from 2009 to 2010.[5] Fischbach also served as the chair of the Senate's higher education committee.[5]

In 2011, after an election in which senate Republicans won a majority for the first time since party designation, Fischbach's colleagues elected her the first female president of the Minnesota Senate, a post she held until Republicans lost their majority in 2013.[6] After Republicans regained a majority following the 2016 election, Fischbach was again elected Senate president on January 3, 2017.[7]

Lieutenant governor of Minnesota (2018–2019)


On December 13, 2017, Governor Mark Dayton appointed his lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, to the U.S. Senate seat of Al Franken, who resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct. Smith resigned to accept the appointment on January 2, 2018. Per Article V of the Minnesota Constitution, as president of the State Senate, Fischbach automatically ascended as lieutenant governor.[8] [b]

Constitutional dispute

Official portrait of Lt. Gov. Fischbach in 2018
Official portrait of Lt. Gov. Fischbach in 2018

Fischbach acknowledged that she was now lieutenant governor, but maintained she would retain her senate seat, calling herself "acting lieutenant governor."[10] The constitutionality of holding two offices at once was disputed.[11][12] Fischbach noted a memo from the senate's nonpartisan counsel, which cited an 1898 Minnesota Supreme Court decision as legal precedent for her to hold both offices.[13] She also said the lieutenant governor's duties are largely ceremonial and she would have no difficulty holding both offices.[14] She declined the lieutenant governor's salary, opting to receive only the pay of a state senator.[15] An advisory opinion from state attorney general Lori Swanson disputed the legality of Fischbach's holding both offices at once, citing a 1972 constitutional amendment and other historical precedents.[16][17][c]

The potential outcomes were seen as having potentially significant ramifications on Minnesota politics, as Republicans held only a two-vote majority in the state senate.[19] In December 2017, to avoid a potential tie should Fischbach resign her senate seat, senate majority leader Paul Gazelka and house speaker Kurt Daudt sent Dayton a letter requesting a special legislative session to temporarily elect a Democratic president of the senate.[19][20] Dayton and legislative Democrats immediately rejected the idea, with Senate minority leader Tom Bakk indicating he would file a lawsuit to attempt to force Fischbach out of the senate should she attempt to serve in both offices, saying the senate's "balance of power [...] will be up for grabs."[21][22]

In January 2018, a constituent and local DFL activist filed suit against Fischbach, asking a Ramsey County District Court judge to remove her from the state senate.[23] In February 2018, a judge dismissed the suit, ruling it had been prematurely filed.[24]

On May 25, 2018, Fischbach resigned from the senate and was sworn in as lieutenant governor.[25]


In May 2018, former Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty announced Fischbach as his running mate in his bid for a third term.[26] Pawlenty and Fischbach were defeated in the Republican primary by Jeff Johnson and Donna Bergstrom.[27]

Fischbach was succeeded as lieutenant governor by Democrat Peggy Flanagan, running mate of Tim Walz, who was sworn in on January 7, 2019.[28]

U.S. House of Representatives


On September 3, 2019, Fischbach announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination to challenge 30-year incumbent Democrat Collin Peterson in Minnesota's 7th congressional district.[29] She won the five-way Republican primary election.[30] Despite Peterson's incumbency, the 7th had been trending Republican for some time. The Republican presidential candidate had carried the district by double-digit margins in three of the last five elections. This included 2016, when Donald Trump carried it with 62 percent of the vote, his best showing in Minnesota and one of Trump's best performances in a district held by a Democrat.

During her campaign, Fischbach pledged to back Trump on trade, make the 2017 tax cuts permanent, and support workforce education and additional relief for rural and agricultural businesses affected by COVID-19.[31][32] Her campaign emphasized her support for farmers and the Second Amendment, opposition to abortion, and support for strengthening the U.S. border.[33][34]

Fischbach defeated Peterson by 49,226 votes, the largest margin of any Republican who defeated an incumbent Democrat in 2020.[35] In that same election, Trump carried the 7th with 64 percent of the vote, his best showing in the state.[36] She and Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa are the only Republican members of Congress to flip Democratic House districts that were not held by Republicans before 2018.


On January 7, 2021, Fishbach was one of 139 representatives to object to the certification of electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, citing allegations of irregularities and voter fraud.[37] On January 13, 2021, she voted against the second impeachment of Trump.[38]

Fischbach, along with all other Senate and House Republicans, voted against the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.[39]

In September 2021, Fischbach was among 75 House Republicans to vote against the National Defense Authorization Act of 2022, which contains a provision that would require women to be drafted.[40][41]

Committee assignments

Caucus membership

Personal life

Fischbach is Roman Catholic.[5] She met her husband, Scott, while working on a campaign for former U.S. senator Rudy Boschwitz. They started dating while she was attending St. Cloud State University and eventually moved to nearby Paynesville.[14] When Fischbach ran for Congress, she still lived in Paynesville, which is in the far southern section of the district. She and her family have since moved to Regal, near Willmar, firmly in the 7th district. They have two children and several grandchildren.[47][48]

Fischbach's husband has served as executive director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life since 2001.[49]

Electoral history


Republican primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Michelle Fischbach 26,359 58.8%
Republican Dave Hughes 9,948 22.2%
Republican Noel Collis 6,747 15.1%
Republican William Louwagie 989 2.2%
Republican Jayesun Sherman 757 1.7%
Total votes 44,800 100.0%
Minnesota's 7th congressional district, 2020
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Michelle Fischbach 188,994 53.8%
Democratic (DFL) Collin Peterson (incumbent) 139,071 39.6%
Total votes 351,227 100.0%
Republican gain from Democratic (DFL)

See also


  1. ^ Took oath of office on May 25, 2018.
  2. ^ The Minnesota Constitution provides "The last elected presiding officer of the senate shall become lieutenant governor in case a vacancy occurs in that office."[9]
  3. ^ The Minnesota Constitution specifies "No senator or representative shall hold any other office under the authority of the United States or the state of Minnesota, except that of postmaster or of notary public."[18]


  1. ^ a b Bierschbach, Briana (December 20, 2017). "'I never asked for it': Meet the lawmaker in the middle of Minnesota's lieutenant governor mess". MinnPost. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  2. ^ "Elected and Appointed Officials in Minnesota – Mitchell Hamline Alumni – Mitchell Hamline School of Law". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  3. ^ Connors, Molly (November 12, 1996). "Fischbach beats Schurman, keeps Senate seat". Paynesville Press. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  4. ^ Sommerhauser, Mark (November 7, 2012). "Fischbach re-elected to 7th term in Senate 13". St. Cloud Times. Archived from the original on December 4, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c "Fischbach, Michelle L". Minnesota Legislative Reference Library. Minnesota Legislature.
  6. ^ Pugmire, Tim (November 22, 2010). "Abortion opponent promises to stick to job description in new gig as Senate president". Minnesota Public Radio News. St. Paul, Minnesota. Republican Sen. Michelle Fischbach of Paynesville will be the first woman in state history to preside as president of the Senate.
  7. ^ Pugmire, Tim (November 10, 2016). "Gazelka picked as new GOP state Senate leader". Minnesota Public Radio News. St. Paul, Minnesota. Senate Republicans also announced the selection of Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, as Senate president.
  8. ^ Bakst, Brian; Pugmire, Tim (December 13, 2017). "Smith to take Franken's Senate seat, run in 2018". Minnesota Public Radio. Minnesota's succession plan calls for the state Senate president to become Lieutenant Governor, so as Smith moves to the U.S. Senate, state Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, will move into Smith's position.
  9. ^ "Minnesota Constitution, Article V, § 5 (Succession to offices of governor and lieutenant governor.)". Office of the Revisor of Statutes. Minnesota Legislature.
  10. ^ Orrick, Dave (January 3, 2018). "State Sen. Fischbach calling herself 'acting' lieutenant governor, declines salary". St. Paul Pioneer Press. St. Paul, Minnesota. Fischbach hedged her new title, calling herself "acting lieutenant governor"—a phrase that does not appear anywhere in the Minnesota Constitution.
  11. ^ Pugmire, Tim (December 13, 2017). "Can she do that? New MN lieutenant gov. wants to keep Senate seat, too". Minnesota Public Radio News. St. Paul, Minnesota.
  12. ^ "Unclear if Fischbach can keep Senate seat as Lt. Governor". KMSP-TV. Eden Prairie, Minnesota. December 13, 2017.
  13. ^ Orrick, Dave (December 15, 2017). "8 fun facts about the 1898 Supreme Court case that could decide the balance of power in the Minnesota Senate". St. Paul Pioneer Press. St. Paul, Minnesota.
  14. ^ a b Van Berkel, Jessie (January 2, 2018). "Republican Fischbach prepares for unusual partnership as Gov. Dayton's lieutenant". Star Tribune. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  15. ^ Coolican, J. Patrick (January 4, 2018). "Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach will decline pay, continue in Minn. Senate; lawsuit likely". Star Tribune. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  16. ^ Bakst, Brian (December 21, 2017). "Can lieutenant gov. keep Senate seat? AG's view sets stage for suit". Minnesota Public Radio News. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  17. ^ Orrick, Dave (December 21, 2017). "GOP Senate leader can't be lieutenant governor, too, MN attorney general says". St. Paul Pioneer Press. St. Paul, Minnesota.
  18. ^ "Minnesota Constitution Art. IV, § 5 (Restriction on holding office.)". Office of the Revisor of Statutes. Minnesota Legislature.
  19. ^ a b Potter, Kyle (January 1, 2018). "As Smith heads to DC, questions linger over her replacement". Minnesota Public Radio News. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  20. ^ Raghavendran, Beena (December 22, 2017). "Minnesota GOP legislative leaders call for special session". Star Tribune. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  21. ^ Potter, Kyle (December 28, 2017). "Senate's top Democrat rules out special session on lieutenant governor". St. Paul Pioneer Press. St. Paul, Minnesota. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  22. ^ Bierschbach, Briana (December 13, 2017). "The constitutional mess created by Tina Smith's appointment". MinnPost. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  23. ^ Orrick, Dave (January 12, 2018). "Lawsuit asks judge to kick Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach out of her MN Senate seat". St. Paul Pioneer Press. St. Paul, Minnesota. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  24. ^ Van Berkel, Jessie (February 12, 2018). "Ramsey County judge dismisses lawsuit against Fischbach over senate seat, but fight likely not over". Star Tribune. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  25. ^ Golden, Erin; Coolican, J. Patrick (May 25, 2018). "Fischbach resigns from state senate, is sworn in as lieutenant governor". Star Tribune. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  26. ^ Coolican, J. Patrick (May 31, 2018). "Tim Pawlenty picks Michelle Fischbach as running mate". Star Tribune. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  27. ^ Bierschbach, Briana; Bakst, Brian (August 14, 2018). "Walz and Johnson win Minnesota governor primary, will face off in November". Minnesota Public Radio.
  28. ^ Frost, Evan; Staff, MPR News. "Photos: The Walz Administration takes oath of office". Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  29. ^ Pugmire, Tim (September 2, 2019). "Michelle Fischbach announces congressional challenge to Collin Peterson". MPR News.
  30. ^ "Michelle Fischbach wins 7th District Republican primary". FOX 9. August 11, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  31. ^ Jones, Jeremy (September 23, 2020). "Michelle Fischbach talks economy, agriculture and more during campaign stop in Glencoe". Crow River Media. Hutchinson Leader. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  32. ^ Bakst, Brian (September 3, 2019). "Fischbach says she'll back Trump on trade, other issues". MPR News.
  33. ^ Hall, Madison (September 4, 2020). "Rep. Collin Peterson faces a tough reelection fight in Minnesota's 7th Congressional District". Business Insider. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  34. ^ Orenstein, Walker (September 25, 2020). "National Democrats are going after GOP candidate Michelle Fischbach for something Minnesota Democrats have long championed". MinnPost. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  35. ^ "Republican Michelle Fischbach wins election to U.S. House in Minnesota's 7th Congressional District, beating incumbent Rep. Collin Peterson". AP NEWS. November 4, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  36. ^ Presidential results by congressional district from Daily Kos
  37. ^ Yourish, Karen; Buchanan, Larry; Lu, Denise (January 7, 2021). "The 147 Republicans Who Voted to Overturn Election Results". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  38. ^ Condon, Patrick. "Minnesota delegation splits by party on vote to impeach Trump". Star Tribune. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  39. ^ Carl Hulse (March 6, 2021). "After Stimulus Victory in Senate, Reality Sinks in: Bipartisanship Is Dead". New York Times.
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ "Thompson Announces Republican Agriculture Subcommittee Leadership for 117th Congress". Committee On Agriculture Republicans. February 5, 2021. Retrieved February 7, 2021.
  43. ^ "Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research | House Agriculture Committee". Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  44. ^ a b c "Ranking Member Jordan Announces Republican Subcommittee Assignments for 117th Congress". House Judiciary Committee Republicans. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  45. ^ "Subcommittee on Expedited Procedures (117th Congress)". House of Representatives Committee on Rules. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  46. ^ "Membership". Republican Study Committee. December 6, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  47. ^ "Michelle Fischbach (Minnesota (MN)), 117th Congress Profile". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  48. ^ "Project Vote Smart – Senator Michelle L. Fischbach – Biography". Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  49. ^ Jacobson, Michael (June 13, 2001). "Scott Fischbach to head MCCL". Paynesville Press. Paynesville, Minnesota. Retrieved September 14, 2011.

External links

Minnesota Senate
Preceded by
Member of the Minnesota Senate
from the 14th district

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Member of the Minnesota Senate
from the 13th district

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
President of the Minnesota Senate
Succeeded by
Preceded by
President of the Minnesota Senate
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Minnesota's 7th congressional district
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 22 October 2021, at 18:40
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