MOORHEAD, Minn. — Collin Peterson ain't dead yet, despite some pundits spraining their fingers trying to write his political obituary.
The longtime congressman from Minnesota's rural and huge 7th District, a "Democrat," is up for re-election again in 2020 and the political writers are telling us this, finally-really-truly, is the time Collin might go down in flames.
The reasoning, if you don't feel like doing 7 seconds of homework, seems solid. An alleged well-known, formidable Republican opponent recently announced her candidacy and, hooooo boy, ol' Cranky Collin is in trouble now.
His margins of victory have been dwindling the last few elections and western Minnesota would walk across hot lefse for Donald Trump. Combine that with the hotshot new candidate and Collin is toast, the experts say.
Let's do a pop quiz.
Quick, anybody, who is Peterson's brand-new opponent?
Where's she from?
What offices has she held?
What's her stance on an issue, any issue?
Yeah, that's what we thought. You, average person, couldn't do it.
For the record, the answers are: Michelle Fischbach, Paynesville, state senator and lieutenant governor, and whatever Donald Trump says.
Truth is, while she's well-known by the political class and media that hang around St. Paul, Fischbach's name ID in Moorhead, Crookston and Willmar likely hovers around zero. And being known in Moorhead, Crookston and Willmar is much more important than being known in St. Paul, if you're aspiring to represent the sprawling 7th.
Although maybe it's a good thing the voters don't know much about Fischbach, because she's shown to this point that she doesn't know squat about the people she purportedly wants to represent.
Fischbach's early salvos have been mostly unabashed worship of Trump. She is 100% in support of all of Trump's policies.
It's the playbook Kevin Cramer used to get elected to the U.S. Senate in North Dakota. Lick the president's boots, curl up in his lap and, when somebody pulls the string in your back, repeat how you will never waver from the president's policies even if they are damaging to your constituents.
In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio, Fischbach declined to identify an area in which she disagreed with the president.
"Off the top of my head, I can't think of any," she said.
That includes Trump's tariffs, which farmers — even those who love the president otherwise — aren't thrilled with.
Another radio interview, with Fargo's KFGO, was a slow-motion train wreck. Fischbach couldn't answer the most basic questions about agriculture and robotically repeated talking points about opposing Nancy Pelosi and supporting Trump.
When the host asked directly whether Fischbach was in favor of Trump's tariffs, a yes or no question, she said she supported the president.
Peterson, who barely qualifies as a Democrat these days because of his conservative views, is one of the most powerful farm advocates in the country as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
He supports farmers, unapologetically. Fischbach supports Trump, uninformedly.
The experts need to take that into account when writing Peterson's political obit.