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Published August 11 2010

Byberg poised to move ahead in District 7

In preliminary returns for Tuesday’s primary, Willmar businessman Lee Byberg held a roughly 2-to-1 lead in the Republican run-off for Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District race.

Alexandria resident Alan Roebke challenged Byberg, the state GOP-endorsed candidate.

As of 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, with about 49 percent of district precincts reporting, Byberg received 66 percent of the vote compared to 34 percent for Roebke, according to unofficial and incomplete returns to the secretary of state’s office.

Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District encompasses most of western Minnesota, including Clay County.

The district seat is now held by 20-year Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party incumbent Collin Peterson, who is seeking re-election in November and ran unopposed in the primary.

With returns indicating a favorable outcome, Byberg said he’s looking forward to continuing into the next phase of his campaign, which he says will focus on “restoring America to fiscal soundness and individual responsibility.”

“I feel great that the message is connecting with people,” Byberg said Tuesday night. “I’m really excited about the continued aspect of traveling through District 7, getting back to the American way and selecting leaders that will stand up against the failed leadership that we’re seeing today coming from Nancy Pelosi and those that support her.”

Byberg said he was “honored” by voters’ support and by the chance to be a part of the democratic process.

“I’ve been a business leader all these years, and now to be involved in this process, it’s really an amazing journey,” he said.

The winner of Tuesday’s GOP primary will take on Peterson, Independence Party candidate Glen Menze and independent candidate Gene Waldorf in the general election.

This was Roebke’s second bid for the district’s U.S. House seat. In the 2008 Republican primary, he lost to Menze by 3.6 percentage points.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541