ST PETER —
This year, for the first time in 20 years, the retired St. Peter farmer has advanced beyond the semifinals to the championship round — beating Waseca state Sen. Mike Parry in the Aug. 14 primary election.
If he topples Walz on Nov. 6, the victory will be the biggest shocker of his career.
Quist hasn’t made bold predictions in recent weeks about beating the popular three-term incumbent from Mankato — saying only he expects to be competitive.
“I don’t know exactly where we are, but I think it’s a lot closer than others assume,” he said.
Federal spending is at the center of Quist’s 2012 campaign message.
“The thing that concerns me the most is the out-of-control debt — $16 trillion dollars,” he said. “And that doesn’t include all the unfunded liabilities. You start adding those things to it, and you can’t even talk about it anymore because it’s so spooky.”
If elected, Quist pledges to oppose tax increases, slash spending and reduce regulatory burdens on business in a way that will get the economy — and revenue to the federal treasury — rolling again.
Anyone who’s watched more than a few hours of KEYC-TV in recent months has seen Quist’s granddaughters scaling the massive red bar-graph of debt. Anyone who attended the MSU debate couldn’t have missed that Quist wants to “unleash the lion of free enterprise.”
“I’m known as a teacher. I’m known as a politician. But I make my living really as a businessman,” he said of his farmer/investor background. “ ... I know what a bottom line is. I know what a balance sheet is. I understand economics and I understand government.”
A varied past
Quist hasn’t always been so singularly focused on budget issues. During his legislative career, he received notoriety for statements about gays and anonymous gay sex that were still being criticized by Parry this year.