By Mark Fischenich
Free Press Staff Writer
MANKATO — Republican congressional candidate Allen Quist generated nearly $186,000 in receipts for his campaign from late July to the end of September, but 86 percent of the money came from his own pocket.
The fundraising numbers filed Monday with the Federal Elections Commission continue to demonstrate little interest by Republican donors in supporting Quist’s attempt to unseat Democratic Congressman Tim Walz of Mankato. Of the nearly $448,000 Quist has raised since kicking off his campaign last November, $390,000 of it has come in the form of contributions and loans from the candidate himself.
Walz has raised more than $1.8 million for the 2012 election, including $320,349 from donors and political action committees in the fundraising period that ran from July 26 to Sept. 30, according to a statement from his campaign. The three-term incumbent had just under $790,000 on hand at the end of September for the final weeks leading up to Nov. 6, compared to just less than $169,000 for Quist.
Quist, however, has promised that there is plenty more where the first $390,000 came from. During the 1st District endorsing convention in April, the rural St. Peter farmer pledged to Republican delegates from throughout southern Minnesota he would make sure that Walz faced a well-financed opponent if delegates chose him over fellow Republican contender Mike Parry of Waseca.
If he was the Republican nominee, Quist pledged to do what department store heir Mark Dayton did in some of his campaigns — self-finance.
“My wife and I have a net worth the same as his,” the retired farmer said of Dayton. “... We will put in up to a million (dollars).”
Quist later said he expected that his self-financing would be much less than $1 million because he expected donations from supporters to pick up dramatically once Republicans settled on an opponent for Walz. That didn’t happen as quickly as Quist hoped when the endorsing convention deadlocked, and he and Parry went all the way to the Aug. 14 primary election before Quist prevailed.
Quist told the delegates he’d prefer to bequeath his wealth to his children and grandchildren but was willing to spend it now if doing so ensured them of another legacy.
“I’d much rather leave them a country where they are free,” Quist said.
The Walz campaign, though, suggested the disparity in campaign donations reflects a disparity in overall support among residents of the 1st District.
“Southern Minnesotans have made it clear they want someone in Washington like Tim ...,” campaign manager Sara Severs said in a statement. “That’s why Minnesotans have shown their strong support for Tim this year.”