GOP candidates Quist, Parry prepare to settle the score

Published 11:02 am Monday, August 13, 2012

Tuesday’s primary election will decide what the April GOP convention could not.

Republicans will decide which of their two candidates for U.S. House of Representatives in Minnesota’s 1st District — Mike Parry or Allen Quist — will face incumbent Rep. Tim Walz in the November election. Parry and Quist will face off in the primary election Tuesday.

Each has been busy with extensive campaigning efforts. Quist said he has participated in 25 parades, during which he has made an effort to talk to as many people along the curbs as he can. He also held nine town hall style meetings in various cities across the district.

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“I regret that one of the places we just didn’t get to was Austin,” he said.

Postcards, letters and a TV ad have stepped in where Quist could not speak to residents face-to-face.

Parry said he did not have the funds to run a TV ad, and instead relied on “shoe-leather” campaigning. He has already walked in 32 parades and conducted nearly as many meet-and-greets, he said. He plans to spend the final three days before the primary conducting a “whirlwind” 20-county tour, which included a stop in Austin at the Mower County Free Fair on Sunday between 3 and 4 p.m.­

Data from the Federal Election Commission reports Parry has raised approximately $111,000 so far. Quist sits a little over twice that at about $262,000.

In terms of his intentions for office, Parry listed creating jobs, repealing the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, and stopping deficit spending, the last of which his GOP opponent is also focused on.

“What I hear 90 percent of the time is ‘balance the budget,’” Quist said.

His plan throughout campaigning has been to balance the budget in five years. To do that, Quist said, Congress would need to set a firm limit on how much it can spend in a given year, then focus on reducing its spending by 3 percent a year.

Though members of different political parties will differ on exactly how to accomplish that, Quist said, he has never found anyone who disagreed with the goal itself.

The two GOP candidates agree that government regulations have to be scaled back to allow businesses to grow.

“We need to take back control of the rules and regulations,” Parry said.

Quist echoed this notion, saying businesses would need to be convinced that the government’s financial house was in order before they were willing to take the risks that could help them prosper.

“We need to have a plan for economic growth as a country,” he said.

As the primary looms nearer, both candidates expressed optimism. Parry said a 1994 comment he said Quist had made about gender roles in the household and several other shaky instances in his opponent’s history would show voters the difference between them.

“All of these people are finally seeing the differences in voting and records,” Parry said. “They want a vocal leader who can rally both sides.”

Quist criticized the attacks, saying the country needs politicians focused on promoting their agenda rather than bashing their opponents.

The delay for GOP endorsement came in April after delegates failed to decide on a candidate at the district GOP convention. Neither Parry nor Quist could attain the needed 60 percent of delegates during the convention. Talk of a follow-up convention was in the works, but scheduling conflicts pushed the proposed date past its original target of two to three weeks from the first convention.

The 14 hours and 23 rounds of balloting ended just before 2 a.m. April 22. Quist had 137 votes on the last ballot to 126 for Parry with 19 blank ballots.