U.S. Rep. Brad Finstad, who's been southern Minnesota's voice in Washington, D.C. since August, won a full two-year term on Tuesday as he beat back a challenge from former Hormel Foods CEO Jeff Ettinger.

"If voters give us the key to the car, we better be ready to drive," Finstad said Tuesday night shortly after polls closed. He ended up winning by a sizable margin in the district that includes a broad swath of rural southern Minnesota as well as cities including Rochester, Mankato and Winona.

Anticipating a GOP majority in the House, Finstad said Congress should focus on "family pocket book issues" and domestic energy production. The race for control of the U.S. House was still too close to call by midnight on Tuesday.

Ettinger said he tried to connect with voters on issues he heard about often on the campaign trail: "The economy, individual rights, and concerns about our democracy."

In an August special election to fill the seat after the death of Rep. Jim Hagedorn, Finstad bested Ettinger by 4% in a district Donald Trump carried by double digits in 2020.

Tuesday's contest ran on a new district map following the once-per decade redistricting, adding voters from Red Wing and losing them from rural Le Sueur County.

Finstad is a former state legislator and federal Department of Agriculture official. Ettinger led Austin-based Hormel for a decade before retiring in 2017.