The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

November 19, 2009

Quist run now official

MANKATO — Promising to run non-stop, to raise $1.5 million for his campaign, to tap into public concern about growth in the federal debt, and to proudly stand with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and the Tea Party protesters, Allen Quist made his run for the U.S. House official Thursday.

“We are losing the American dream because of the direction Congress is taking,” said Quist, a Republican former state lawmaker and rural St. Peter farmer.

Quist’s plan to take on Rep. Tim Walz, a Mankato Democrat, isn’t a surprise. He launched his “Quist for Congress” Web site earlier this month and last week held meetings across the 1st District criticizing the Democratic health care reform legislation.

Walz’s support for that bill and two others — the $787 billion economic stimulus bill and an energy/global warming bill — will be at the heart of Quist’s campaign. The legislation combines too much spending and too much government control, Quist said.

“I’m convinced that the majority of the citizens here want a change in that direction,” he said in Mankato, one of several stops planned for Thursday and Friday across southern Minnesota.

It’s been 23 years since Quist won an election — a 1986 state legislative victory that was the last of his three elections to the state House. But the former Bethany Lutheran College instructor and his wife, Julie, showed their campaign skills in 1994 when Quist challenged sitting Republican Gov. Arne Carlson, who many Republican activists considered too liberal on social issues.

The Quists built an organization of supporters that dominated Republican caucuses that March, getting their backers elected as delegates to subsequent conventions. Three weeks after the caucuses in 1994, Quist said 67 percent of the delegates were on his side — a claim Carlson’s campaign said was wildly inflated.

When the state convention was held, 69 percent of the delegates supported Quist. Although his success at the Republican state convention drew national media coverage, Quist’s prediction of an 18-percentage-point victory in the Republican primary election that September wasn’t nearly as accurate.

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