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Dave Olson, Published November 03 2010

UPDATED: Langseth outlasts Backer in tight race for Minnesota District 9

Long-time incumbent Keith Langseth beat out challenger Jeff Backer in the race for Minnesota’s District 9 Senate seat late Tuesday.

In complete but unofficial results, Langseth collected 53 percent of the vote to Backer's 47 percent. By vote totals, Langseth had 13,358 votes to Backer's 11,831 with all 114 precincts reporting.

Langseth trailed earlier in the night and likely received a boost when Clay County vote totals were included. The incumbent claimed 55 percent of the Clay County vote to Backer’s 45 percent.

Langseth, a Democrat and farmer from Glyndon, was first elected to the Legislature in 1974 when he won a House seat. He was re-elected to the House two years later.

Langseth was elected to the state Senate in 1980 and won his 10th term on Tuesday.

Backer, a Republican, is the Browns Valley mayor and a small business owner.

During his campaign, Backer focused on several themes, including the need for Minnesota to do more to encourage job growth.

Backer also said state government has to learn to live within its means.

Langseth emphasized the amount of funding he has been able to steer to the Red River Valley, including millions of dollars for flood-protection projects.

Minnesota Senate seats normally carry four-year terms. However, in election years ending in “0,” such as 2010, the term is for two years.

The job pays $31,140 a year.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555