U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum easily hung on to her long-held congressional seat in Tuesday's primary against Democratic challenger Amane Badhasso.

McCollum, 68, has represented Minnesota's Fourth Congressional District for more than two decades and leads the powerful House defense appropriations subcommittee. First-time candidate Badhasso had hoped to oust her in the DFL stronghold that includes most of Ramsey County and part of Washington County.

The Associated Press called the race for McCollum, who held an overwhelming early lead Tuesday night.

"Voters know I work hard in Congress to fight for our values and deliver results for Minnesota. But I believe integrity, honesty, and decency still matter in DFL politics and that's what my campaign delivered to voters this primary election," McCollum said in a statement Tuesday.

McCollum had a financial advantage headed into the primary and was endorsed by most of Minnesota's prominent elected Democrats. However, in recent election cycles Democratic House incumbents in other states were ousted by intra-party challengers, showing longtime lawmakers in safe blue seats can be vulnerable.

Badhasso, a 32-year-old community organizer and political operative, had argued it is time for generational change. She would have been the first Oromo and first person from Ethiopia elected to Congress, according to her campaign.

The campaign between McCollum and Badhasso has been one of the state's more contentious primary contests. Badhasso painted McCollum as out of touch, while McCollum countered that her opponent is using misinformation and lies.

At the Martin Luther King Recreation Center in St. Paul, voters offered differing takes Tuesday on McCollum. Damion Smith, a school psychologist, showed up at the poll in large part to support her. Reid Roswell, a local business owner who fixes houses, said he wants a representative "in tune with the actual issues," including Medicare For All and defunding police. "Definitely not Betty McCollum," he said.

A third candidate, Fasil Moghul, was also on the Democratic primary ballot. McCollum is all but certain to secure the seat in the deep blue district this fall. She will face May Lor Xiong, who defeated two other candidates in the Republican primary to advance to the general election.

Star Tribune intern Hana Ikramuddin contributed to this report.