Sartell Mayor Joe Perske narrowly clinched the DFL endorsement Saturday to run against Republican Tom Emmer in the open 6th Congressional District seat.

The nominating convention delegates voted four times before Perske came up with 62 percent -- enough votes for the official endorsement. Rules require candidates to garner at least 60 percent to be nominated. He beat out Jim Read, a political science professor at St. Ben's and St. John's University, according to a news release.

Perske, also a middle school teacher, faces long odds in Minnesota's most conservative district and among the most Republican districts in the country. Emmer was endorsed last month.

The seat has been held for the last eight years by Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is retiring at the end of the year.

"I might have what it takes ... I have been a world class marathon runner," Perske said, in an interview Sunday. "So many things I do in life I do with passion. I will do all I can to win this race for the people of central Minnesota."