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Update 9 p.m.: Peterson leading in early returns in 7th District over Byberg

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At the time this story went to print Tuesday night, the race for Minnesota's 7th Congressional District seat was undecided between incumbent Democrat Collin Peterson, Republican challenger Lee Byberg and Independence Party candidate Adam Steele.

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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.

Peterson said in this election his main purpose in 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.

Byberg said he would like to achieve that by cutting the Environmental Protection Agency by 50 percent and eliminating the Department of Energy, which he said hasn't improved the country's energy independence since it was formed in the 1970s.

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

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