Cindy Pugh, a self-described Tea Party leader and a first-time political candidate, easily defeated 11-term incumbent State Representative Steve Smith in today's State House District 33B primary and will advance to the November general election.
"I am thrilled that the voice of the people was heard," Pugh said. "These last five months have been exciting to see how many new people are getting involved because they finally feel like their opinions and concerns matter. I look forward to being a responsive representative to this new district."
With nearly all precincts reporting, Pugh has so far received just under 70 percent of the vote—capturing 2,099 of about 3,000 votes cast, according to results posted by the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office.
Pugh garnered the GOP endorsement earlier this summer during the party's regional convention and ran an aggressive campaign throughout the summer.
Smith had been the longest serving Republican in the State House.
Pugh and her supporters monitored results from The School II Bistro in Chanhassan, and the primary winner took to Twitter to thank her supporters and thank Smith for his past service.
"While I wish race would have been more friendly and amicable, I thank Steve Smith for a hard fought race," she wrote. "My best to you, sir."
Pugh will now face the DFL's Denise Bader in the November election in the State House District 33B race.
Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Pat Shortridge and Deputy Chairwoman Kelly Fenton issued the following statement congratulating Cindy Pugh on winning her primary today in House District 33B.
“Today, voters in House District 33B affirmed what the Republican caucuses had decided by endorsing Cindy Pugh. Cindy is a very principled, conservative leader who is ready to go to St. Paul and fight on behalf of our values. Cindy can be trusted to rein in state government spending, streamline the way our government works and fight for our freedoms at every turn. This is the type of leadership Minnesotans want, and today they’ve decided to send Cindy to St. Paul.
“The Republican Party of Minnesota is proud of the work Cindy has already accomplished, and we will continue to work on her behalf to get her to St. Paul. Minnesota conservatives are ready to get to work for this last push until Election Day 2012.”