ST. PAUL – Rep. Collin Peterson pulled away from GOP challenger Dave Hughes to win Minnesota’s Seventh Congressional District for his 15th term.

Peterson, who has represented the rural, conservative-leaning district for 28 years, received 52 percent of the vote Tuesday, Nov. 6, compared to 48 percent for Hughes in complete but unofficial results.

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Peterson, who had trailed Hughes as early returns were reported, slowly gained ground throughout the night.

This was Hughes’ second attempt to unseat the 74-year-old Peterson, a DFLer from Detroit Lakes.

A strong supporter of President Trump’s policies, Hughes, 43 of Karlstad, had more money and staff this year than two years ago – where he came close to defeating Peterson– and had earned a tweet of endorsement from Trump. Hughes had predicted he’d win by double-digits if Trump campaigned for him in the 7th District.

Hughes had campaigned primarily on issues of securing the borders, immigration reform and refugee settlement programs.

Peterson, who holds a key position on the House agriculture committee and a seat at the negotiating table for the farm bill, said his longevity in Congress and his bi-partisan nature has put him in a position to create a farm bill that benefits the 7th District.

Peterson said earlier this year that after he retires, or is defeated, it would be a long time, “if ever,” that the 7th District will have someone with as much influence as he has representing regional agricultural interests in Congress.

The two-year term pays $174,000 annually.