For Minn. GOP lawmakers, challenges from the right - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

For Minn. GOP lawmakers, challenges from the right

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The senior Republican in the Minnesota House could be forced out of the Legislature when primary voters pick between him and a tea party challenger backed by the GOP and Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers.

Rep. Steve Smith of Mound is one of three incumbent Republican legislators facing tough primary challenges on Tuesday in the western Twin Cities suburbs.

Smith faces strong opposition from GOP Chairman Pat Shortridge and Zellers. Labor unions are donating to keep him in office representing the Lake Minnetonka area.

In the same area, Mound City Councilor Dave Osmek is challenging Rep. Connie Doepke after he won the party's backing for an open Senate seat.

To the southwest, Deputy Senate Majority Leader Julianne Ortman of Chanhassen faces auto mechanic Bruce Schwichtenberg.

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