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Engebretson wins Democratic nomination for Congress

Margaret Engebretson and her campaign manager, Joel Sipress, talk at VIP in Superior as election results come in on Tuesday evening. (Jed Carlson/

Douglas County overwhelmingly favored a military veteran and attorney from Balsam Lake to challenge Republican Sean Duffy in the 7th Congressional District race in November.

Democrat Margaret Engebretson carried the county with nearly 72 percent of the vote in Tuesday's partisan primary over Democratic challenger Dr. Brian Ewert, with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

Districtwide, Engebretson was leading with more than 57 percent of the vote when the final votes were tallied.

"The voters are coming out and engaging, and they are just so hungry for representation," Engebretson said during her watch party Tuesday night at Vintage Italian Pizza.

Engebretson said the reason she got in the race was to fight for the resources people in the district need.

A political newcomer, Engebretson got involved in the Polk County Democrats in January 2017 and decided to run for office several months later. She said she is scared for the country.

"Why else would some person like me put it all on the line like that," Engebretson said. "It was a big risk."

After all, she couldn't self-fund a campaign, and she doesn't have wealthy relatives to help her out. And she raised significantly less money than her primary opponent, funding expenses on less than $36,000 in donations, according to the most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission.

Engebretson said her campaign strategy was just to travel the district and talk to people.

"We've shown that you don't need to be wealthy or be part of the system to run a winning congressional campaign," Engebretson said. "When we speak honestly about what ails our country and what needs to be done to improve people's lives, people respond. Most of all, we've shown that when Democrats stick up for people, we win."

Engebretson now faces Duffy, who ran unopposed in Tuesday's primary, in the Nov. 6 election.