Covering Allen Quist's Rochester Town Hall, Heather Carlson first tweeted a comment Quist made about a Mother Jones article, then wrote it up in Quist woos conservative voters in Rochester:
At one point, an audience member asked Quist about information he found on the Internet that says during Quist's time in the Legislature in the 1980s, he compared a gay counseling clinic at Mankato State University to a center for the Ku Klux Klan. That information was printed in a recent Mother Jones article and included in a 1994 Star Tribune article about Quist when he ran for governor. The candidate responded that this is an example of the personal attacks being launched against him by people who want to distract voters from the issues.
"I just want you to know that is just a total invention of some lefty that doesn't like me. I mean that is total bull," Quist said.
Not so fast, repeatedly tweets Parry consultant/campaign/ troll baiter Ben Golnik:
RT @PBhcarlson (1of 2) Quist reax to question about online post that says he linked gay counseling clinic at Mankato State to Ku Klux Klan.
RT @PBhcarlson (2 of 2) "That is a total invention of some lefty that doesn't like me."
Note on last tweets - complete fabrication from @AllenQuist - his comment widely reported re: counseling center at Mankato State
Quist made that outrageous charge in the 1988 leg session, written up in @StarTribune by Dan [sic] Smith in '94 (prob elsewhere too)
4/10/94 "He railed against homosexuality on several fronts, seekng mandatory AIDS testing, for instnce, for all marriage license applicants"
"He alleged that Mnkto St U was encouraging the spread of AIDS by sponsoring a counseling centr for gays, comparing it to a ctr for the KKK"
Article from @StarTribune profile of Quist from April 10, 1994 by Dane Smith
The Source: Dane Smith's April 10 1994 profile
The article is no longer online at the Star Tribune, but it is available in Nexis. In "Call him humble or call him weird, he's giving Carlson a run for governor," Smith reported (Bluestem quotes the section of the article at length for context) :
Most of this reputation was built in his last term, when Quist, particularly during the 1988 session, led the charge on sex-related issues.
He railed against homosexuality on several fronts, seeking mandatory AIDS testing, for instance, for all marriage license applicants. He alleged that Mankato State University was encouraging the spread of AIDS by sponsoring a counseling center for gays, comparing it to a center for the Ku Klux Klan.
He upbraided a state Health Department office for failing to prevent casual gay sex in a Mankato bookstore, going so far as to enter the store and then reveal to the Mankato Free Press how casual sex could be facilitated there. He also accused the DFL Party of being "under the influence of the homosexual lobby."
Ann Wynia, then House majority leader, delivered a legendary put-down of Quist toward the end of that session, noting that he had occupied the House for more than 30 hours in debate about sex issues. She suggested that he had some personal problem or obsession with the issue.
Quist answered Smith's questions by noting that he was in step with his caucus when he made the remarks:
Quist defends this activity as a legitimate public service at a time when AIDS appeared to be a catastrophic health threat to the entire population. And many of his amendments on the issue passed the House, even if they did not become law.
While other members shared his concerns, Quist claims he got all the attention because he was the designated point-man on that issue. Former Minority Leader Bill Schreiber agrees that Quist is right about that in part, but Schreiber said Quist got the assignment of pressing the moral issues because he was more interested in them than anyone else. (Nexis database, accessed July 11, 2012)
But even in 1994, Dane Smith reported, Quist was moving away from the sex talk:
Almost all politicians stress different things to different audiences, and Quist is no exception. He seldom brings up sexual issues these days, and his hard-line conservatism is leavened when talking to a general audience, as he did on Wes Minter's talk show on WCCO Radio last week: "I'm a conservative, but I'm really a mainline Republican."
Quist went on to be endorsed for governor by the Republican state convention, but was defeated by Governor Arne Carlson in the Republican primary.
The 2012 Mother Jones article
The question at the Town Hall was drawn from Tim Murphy's Mother Jones article, If You Thought Michele Bachmann Was Out There...Meet her mentor, Allen Quist. Murphy wrote:
As a Minnesota state representative in the 1980s, Quist staked out a position on his party's far-right wing. At the time, the state's GOP was undergoing a rightward shift from a party known for its mild-mannered moderates to one populated by family values firebrands. Quist was the tip of the spear.
During his time as a state representative, Quist slammed a gay counseling clinic at Mankato State University by comparing it to the Ku Klux Klan (both would be breeding grounds for evil—AIDS, in this case) and went undercover at an adult bookstore and a gay bathhouse in an effort to prove to a local newspaper reporter that they had become a "haven for anal intercourse." (A decade later, Bachmann would bring groups of supporters onto the Capitol floor to pray over the desk of a gay colleague.)
Clearly, Murphy didn't put his research out of thin air or personal dislike, as Quist claimed last night. Dane Smith, now president of left-leaning Growth and Justice, was a reporter for the Star Tribune at the time. Bluestem can find nothing in Nexis's All-News database to suggest that Quist disputed the story in 1994.
Will it matter in CD1's primary?
Will Quist's 1988 statements--when he was appointed morals squad by his House caucus--seem out of line with the southern Republican activist and Tea Party base in 2012?
Golnik and others haven't scolded state representative and Pro-Marriage Amendment Forum founder Glenn Gruenhagen called Sigmund Freud "a pervert" and "a moron" when deriding the very notion of sexual orientation in a June 2012 SW Metro Tea Party meeting.
Gruenhagen does seem to be an outrider in the debate--even Minnesota for Marriage staffers insist that they have nothing against people who are gay and lesbian--but the Glencoe-area Republican hasn't been rebuked for his opinions. Indeed, when redistricting paired him with sitting representative Ron Shimanski, Gruenhagen was endorsed for House 18B over the genial Silver Lake apple grower.
Bluestem anticipates more of the same jostling as Quist and Parry more toward the primary. The Mankato Free Press reports in FarmFest political forum could be hot in more ways than one:
Republican congressional candidates Mike Parry and Allen Quist will face off one week before the Aug. 14 primary election, sharing the stage at FarmFest with Democratic Congressman Tim Walz who will face the Quist-Parry primary election winner on Nov. 6.
Considering the increasingly heated nature of the Republican primary race between the Waseca state senator and the former state representative from St. Peter, the congressional forum might be the highlight of the agricultural festival’s political offerings.
In DISPATCH OF THE DAY — July 11, 2012 — Ritchie, Quist and Parry . . . oh my!, former Republican state chair and failed burrito baron Tony Sutton writes:
. . .With five weeks to go in this primary things have really started to heat up. Elections are about contrasts, and the candidates are starting to draw those contrasts in public. Parry is being aggressive going after Quist’s record by highlighting a pro gas tax vote in 1986 when Quist was a state representative. Quist fired back by going after Parry for his pro-Racino vote. I think we can only expect to see more of this in the days ahead. It will be interesting to see whose message penetrates to primary votes.
Primaries are tricky things, especially summer time primaries (I miss our September primary). Who is actually going to turn out and vote? Advertising is a shot-gun approach at best in this situation, so I think it really does come down to who does the best job figuring out who is most likely to vote, and talking directly to them.
In short, the kerfuffles might not matter as much as voter contact and GOTV for the campaigns. Will Quist or Parry build the better machine?
Having the money to build the machine may prove a key factor. Following up on an earlier report in the New Ulm Journal, the Star Tribune reported yesterday that Quist raised $178K for congressional race during second quarter.
Update: Josh Moniz at the New Journal stops by in Parry, Quist continue war of words with more details on Quist's fundraising:
Quist also updated his expected campaign fundraising totals for the second quarter, which covers April 1 to June 30. He reports that he raised $178,230 in campaign contributions, with no loans, and $165,000 left in the bank at the end of the quarter.
Cartoon: Allen Quist by Ken Avidor.
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