Word comes to Bluestem Prairie from a friend on the scene that no representatives of the media attended Allen Quist's much-ballyhooed press conference in Rochester this afternoon.
Post Bulletin political reporter and blogger Heather Carlson wrote Wednesday that the announcement was to happen today in Rochester's City Council Chambers at 1 p.m.
Nor did any GOP party leaders or local elected officials stand by his side; he was accompanied by his wife and Congresswoman Bachmann district director Julie, campaign consultant Brad Biers, and some guy who identified himself as "Brian."
Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce President and former Gutknecht aid John Wade poked his head in the door, but did not enter the room, and former Democrat and retired Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Sandy Keith wandered through a nearby hallway.
According to a reliable source, reporters from the Mankato Free Press and KEYC-TV attended the Mankato press conference which kicked off the press announcements at 9 a.m.. Carlson had posted Quist announces run for Congress at the Post Bulletin noting the announcement at 9 a.m.. as well, but did not attend either press conference. In a Twitter DM to me, Carlson wrote that she interviewed Quist "on the phone so we could get it in time for today's paper." The Post Bulletin is an afternoon paper.
Another announcement was slated for Austin at 11 a.m. Bluestem has not received word about the Austin press conference. No video coverage of the Austin press conference has been posted yet at KAAL-TV or KTTC-TV as of 7:30 p.m. today. The latter station did publish an item noting that the press conferences would take place. A friend in Rochester watching both stations didn't see any clips filmed at the Austin press conference.
Readers can view KEYC-TV's coverage here. Here's the text:
...Ten years after retiring from politics, Allen Quist makes his bid for Congress official this morning.The long-time Republican comes with political experience. He's a former state representative and also ran for Governor in 1994 and 1998.
He says he's ready to take Minnesota's First Congressional District, and Congress... in a new direction.Allen Quist says, "We have a Congress that believes that big government, a big Federal Government, is the way to solve our problems. I disagree. And I bet the people here disagree."Quist said the three big issues he disagrees with Congress on right now is Federal Spending, the Cap and Trade Bill, and the Health Care Reform legislation.
Quist is the first Republican to announce that he's running for the Congressional seat currently held by Tim Walz.Quist says he'll abide by the Party's endorsement.
The DFL Party issued a statement this morning, criticizing Quist's ties to Conservative Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann... stating, quote: "Southern Minnesotans don't want another Bachmann in Congress." [paragraphing added for ease of reading]
The DFL's statement dovetails neatly with analysis by Politics in Minnesota's Republican pundit Sara Janecek, Walz v. Quist (and Bachmann?) that was posted prior to the morning's announcement in Mankato.
The current buzz in GOP circles is that with Quist in the race, other possible contenders for the GOP endorsement won't challenge Quist because Quist has been blessed by U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R MN6). As one prominent Republican told me, "Bachmann is the 800-pound gorilla in GOP politics."
Officially, according to communications director Dave Dziok, Bachmann is not endorsing anyone -- for Congress or for governor -- before the party holds its endorsing conventions next year.
However, people tell me that the fix is in the First. Bachmann can't officially endorse Quist, but he's her pick.
Last Friday, I noticed the silence of Republicans statewide in the post How competitive is Minnesota's First Congressional District?:
In light of the RPM state party chair's sabre-rattling, perhaps the oddest thing of all about this seat is the near total avoidance of mention by the state's conservative blogs of the exploratory bid for office by conservative stalwart Republican Allen Quist....
...The National Review Online says that Quist is a candidate to watch. My Republican sources in the district say the staunch conservative is meeting with party activists throughout the district. Minnesota's conservative bloggers say they want to support true conservatives rather than RINOS. Why the silence on this particular bid?
Since then, only a few conservative Minnesota blogs have dutifully posted the news. PIM's post explains the "meh" reaction to the announcement.
Conservative friends in the district say that activists in the base--those who chose Brian Davis on a first ballot at the district convention in 2008--are mostly delighted with Quist's decision to run. According to these sources, Davis was primary among those urging Quist to run. Is anyone else energized?
Photo: An avid angler, Quist can reel in a big one; has he landed a de facto lock on the GOP endorsement by using the lure of Bachmann? Photo from the Quist for Congress website.
Update Nov. 20: As IDHA blogger DJ Danielson points out in Quist: standing up for Minnesota’s true priorities since (at least) 1986, the former state representative prefers the term "fisherman" to the word "angler," having addressed the issues surrounding this imprecise term during a floor debate on gender-neutral language in 1986. Bluestem Prairie meant no offense to Mr. Quist. I apologize.