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Wendy Reuer, Published February 04 2014

Republican US House candidate Westrom campaigns at Moorhead caucus

MOORHEAD – U.S. House candidate Torrey Westrom stopped by the Republican caucuses here and in Fergus Falls on Tuesday night as part of his campaign to unseat longtime Democratic Congressman Collin Peterson in Minnesota’s 7th District.

While Peterson has not announced whether he will seek another term after serving 24 years in the House, Westrom declared his candidacy in December and said it is time for Peterson and the dysfunction in Washington to go.

The state senator from Elbow Lake said Tuesday that now is the right time to run for Peterson’s seat. Westrom said he wants to help repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and reduce the debt ceiling, which Westrom said Peterson voted to increase multiple times.

“We can’t stay on this path. We have to find our way to a balanced budget,” Westrom said Tuesday. “Those are major issues and a real concern to myself as a husband and a father, and to the voters.”

Brad Leeser, who is on the executive board of Republicans of Clay County, thinks Westrom is the man to “give Peterson a run for his money.”

Peterson has rarely seen serious challenges to his seat since he first took office in 1990.

“He speaks from the heart, and he believes what he says,” Leeser said of Westrom at Tuesday night’s caucus held at the Moorhead High School.

Former Moorhead Mayor and state Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, has thrown his support behind Westrom.

“If Collin does in fact run, I think Torrey will give him as much of a challenge Collin has had in a long time, maybe ever,” Lanning said. “He has a lot of experience, and he’s a very sharp guy.”

Westrom was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 1997 and was elected to the state Senate in 2012.

Westrom is a married lawyer and small-business owner raising three children in his Elbow Lake home.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530