Primary ends career of state Rep. Steve Smith, longest serving House Republican
August 14, 2012 — 9:26pm
State Rep. Steve Smith, the longest serving Republican in the Minnesota House, saw his career end as Tea Party activist bested him in Tuesday primary.
Pugh had the backing of the Minnesota Republican Party and the state's Republican leaders in her fight to take down Smith. She had more than a 2-1 advantage over Smith.
“This is a victory for everyone who is engaged and concerned about the direction of the state, about spending, about the size of government,’’ Pugh said at her victory party. “It is a victory for the Tea Party. We embrace the principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free market solutions.”
Smith, who was first elected in 1990, was criticized for voting with a more moderate bent than his GOP colleagues. He had union support in his race but that may have been as much a detriment in his Republican district as a boon.
A Duluth native who just barely lost Virginia's GOP gubernatorial primary said that politicians have not gone far enough in condemning the left for violence during a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville. "I think that the left is going to try to use this as an excuse to crack down on conservative free speech," said Corey Stewart. "I think they're going to try to use this as an excuse to remove more historical monuments."