United States House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota, was defeated during the November 3 election, losing his congressional seat to Republican Michelle Fischbach.
Fischbach, a former state senator and lieutenant governor garnered 53.57% of the vote to Peterson’s 39.77%, according to unofficial figures.
Representing Minnesota’s Seventh District, Peterson has been in the House of Representatives since 1991. He was elected chairman of the agriculture committee in January 2019, marking his second time to serve in that role. He also served as the chairman from 2007 to 2011, serving as the ranking member between his stints as committee chairman.
“I’d like to thank the people of the Seventh District for their support over the years. Serving them in Washington, D.C., has been a great honor, and I respect their decision to move in a different direction,” Peterson said in a statement.
Zippy Duvall, president of American Farm Bureau Federation, said Peterson's leadership will be missed.
"We at the American Farm Bureau Federation would like to express our thanks to Rep. Peterson for his decades of service in the House of Representatives. Throughout his years on the House Agriculture Committee, especially his years as the committee's chairman, Congressman Peterson has been a leader for rural America on such important issues as the farm bill, regulatory reform and new trade deals. He made it clear through his work that his politics are grounded in farmers, livestock producers and rural America. That will be his legacy," Duvall stated.
Shakeup to agriculture committees’ leadership
With Peterson’s election upset, there will be significant changes to the leadership in both the House and Senate agriculture committees.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, chose not to seek re-election. Roberts, who began his congressional career in 1980 as a member of the House of Representatives, joined the Senate in 2016. He is credited with being the only person in recent history to hold the chairman positions for both the House and the Senate. Roberts is being succeeded by Rep. Roger Marshall, currently a member of the House Agriculture Committee. Former Kansas Lt. Gov Tracy Mann was elected to fill Marshall’s seat. Marshall and Mann are both Republicans.
Also not seeking re-election was Mike Conaway, R-Texas, who is presently the House Agriculture Committee’s ranking member. He served as the committee’s chairman from 2015 through 2018. Republican August Pfluger was elected to fill Conaway’s seat, gaining nearly 80% of the vote.
The Senate Agriculture Committee’s ranking member, Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, will remain in office as she was not up for re-election.