Longtime GOP lawmaker knocked out

Published 9:06 pm Tuesday, August 14, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS — The longest-serving Republican in the Minnesota House has been knocked out by a tea party challenger in the Lake Minnetonka area.

Rep. Steve Smith of Mound lost the Republican primary on Tuesday after both his party and House Speaker Kurt Zellers turned on him after almost 22 years in the House.

The primary winner was Cindy Pugh, a former Dayton’s department store manager who followed Rep. Michele Bachmann’s call to activism and founded the Southwest Metro Tea Party. She will face Democrat Denise Bader in November.

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Pugh challenged Smith as a career politician in a race that drew outside spending by conservative and labor groups.

Unions gave money to help Smith, who voted for the $975 million Vikings stadium in May.