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A new squad in town? Conservative candidates unite to fight socialism in Washington

Seventh District candidate Michelle Fischbach is among those joining the ranks of the new squad.

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Former Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, Michelle Fischbach (R), was joined by about 10 supporters at her counter-impeachment campaign in front of Rep. Collin Peterson's (D) DL office. Fischbach is running against Rep. Peterson for the 2020 U.S. House elections. (Desiree Bauer / Tribune)

ST. PAUL — Four female candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives as Republicans on Thursday, Dec. 12, said they'd take on the moniker of the progressive group of freshman members of Congress to take down socialism.

In an interview with "Fox and Friends" Thursday morning, Republican candidates Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota, Jessica Taylor of Alabama, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, and Beth Van Duyne of Texas, said they'd form the conservative squad.

None of the candidates is challenging a member of the liberal squad in Washington, but the four said they would donate a percentage of their campaign contributions to candidates vying to take on Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)

"In response to the socialist squad, we are today forming a Conservative Squad to fight back against radical socialism and give the American people a clear choice between more government or more freedom," Fischbach, who is aiming to take out Rep. Collin Peterson in Minnesota's 7th District, said in a news release.

Peterson has held the seat for almost three decades and hasn't said whether he plans to seek re-election in 2020. No other House Democrat represents a district that posted stronger support for the president in 2016.

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And Republican candidates have lined up to run for the seat next year. Fischbach is among five to throw her hat in the ring. And she has racked up endorsements from GOP state lawmakers as well as Republican leaders in Washington.

Fischbach said the new group would fight to defend Americans' rights to bear arms under the Second Amendment, limit access to abortion, aim to limit government and push back against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in the impeachment efforts against President Donald Trump.

Unlike the members of the progressive squad in Congress, who are all women of color, each member of the new conservative squad is white. And the members said they were inspired to form the group after people in their districts voiced concerns about the members of the original squad and their efforts to push the Democratic Party to the left.

While the original squad has aimed to push the envelope on policy, the conservative squad said it would remain pragmatic and aim to get work done in Congress.

"We really want to move Congress away from the extremists of the socialists and move them to results," Fischbach said.

As for the original squad, Omar on Twitter joked in response to the new group, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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