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On January 14 of this year, the National Right to Life Committee (the NRLC), the leading pro-life organization in America, removed its longstanding endorsement of democratic representative, Collin Peterson, who has served in Minnesota’s 7th congressional district since 1991. And although Peterson’s record at the beginning of his time in office was marked by a strong pro-life voting record, his pro-life voting record in 2019 had fallen to 50%, according to the NRLC’s scorecard. The removal of the endorsement of the NRLC was appropriate.
However, in the same press release, the NRLC endorsed former Lieutenant Governor Michelle Fischbach for the congressional seat of MNCD7. One day later, the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) Federal PAC followed suit with the same endorsement. To be fair, Fischbach has garnered a 100% pro-life voting record during her time in the Minnesota Senate, for which she is to be commended.
However, both the NRLC and the MCCL were inappropriate in giving their endorsements at this time in the election. First, all of the Republican candidates running for the primary in MNCD7 (Noel Collis, Michelle Fischbach, Dave Hughes, Joel Novak, and Jayesun Sherman) hold pro-life positions. Second, the NRLC and the MCCL have not made any other endorsements in any other primary election in Minnesota (for the MCCL) or in the nation (for the NRLC). So this endorsement is unique. Third, the co-executive director of the NRLC is Darla St. Martin, and the executive director of the MCCL is Scott Fischbach. Darla St. Martin is Michelle Fischbach’s mother, and Scott Fischbach is former Lieutenant Governor Fischbach’s husband. Both are paid executives in their respective organizations according to the public records.
And although the endorsements are deserved for a general election, because of both organizations’ lack of insertion in any other race in the state or country at this time, as well as the family relationships that executives have with former Lieutenant Governor Fischbach, the endorsements are nothing more than nepotism. Nepotism, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “favoritism based on kinship.”
To speak clearly, Lieutenant Governor Fischbach using the endorsements to fundraise and gain political favor among the electorate is as if she is saying, “My mother likes me. My husband likes me. You should donate to my campaign and vote for me.” But the action is far worse because the endorsements that she is using for fundraising and gaining political favor among the electorate are hidden behind respectable organizations.
Nepotism has long been considered an unethical practice, and a nepotistic endorsement by the NRLC and the MCCL cheapens political endorsements of both organizations, hurts the good name of both organizations, and ultimately hurts the pro-life cause in America. Neither is it fair to the other pro-life Republican candidates running for nomination within CD7.