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Peterson on way to 12th term in Congressional District 7

U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson

In Minnesota's 7th District Congressional race incumbent Collin Peterson was headed for victory late Tuesday night in a contest that mirrored his re-election two years ago.

With 604 of 1,327 precincts reporting Tuesday, Peterson, a Democrat, had 59 percent of the vote to Republican Lee Byberg's 36 percent and Independence Party candidate Adam Steele's 4 percent.

Peterson had 85,204 votes, followed by Byberg with 51,887 votes and Steele with 6,307.

The election was a rematch for Peterson and Byberg, who faced off two years ago.

Peterson won that race with about 55 percent of the vote to Byberg's 38 percent.

In seeking a 12th term, Peterson said his main reason for running was to achieve a new farm bill and after that to solve the federal government's budget impasse.

Byberg ran on a platform of downsizing government, while Steele said he entered the race to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

Peterson said solving issues like the budget would require compromise by both major parties and he said he was ready to work toward compromise, whatever the political price.

"I'm sure I will (take flak). I already have," Peterson said,

Byberg also stressed bipartisanship.

"To me, this isn't about winning a congressional race, there's nothing in it for me to be just another politician," he said.

"It's going to take a different kind of leadership that will bring Democrats and Republicans together and not try to compromise on something that's bad, but find solutions that are good," Byberg said.

Before the election, Peterson advised voters to stay away from candidates who voted the party line.

"Try to find people that are going to go there and do what needs to be done for the country, whether they get re-elected or not," Peterson said. "That's what we need - people that are going to suck it up and do what we have to do."

Byberg said he would focus on growing the economy and restoring the nation,

"People have a strong feeling something is wrong, but don't have the time to figure how off it is," he said.

"When I look at the federal government today, it's a trillion dollars off, mismatch between revenues and expenditures," Byberg said.

Part of the remedy, Byberg said, would be to eliminate government waste and inefficiency.

House members serve two-year terms and are paid a salary of $174,000.