Two news articles published today underscore conclusions drawn in an editorial in the New Ulm Journal, Meager turnout, while news of Tim Walz's visits across the district illustrate why he'll be hard to beat.
The NUJ editors wonder:
What would get more voters to vote in the primaries? Some are pushing for an earlier primary in the state, say in late June. That might have drawn more interest coming soon after the Parry-Quist convention deadlock. It certainly would have spared both candidates a lot of time and money that they spent locked in an increasingly bitter duel, and allowed the winner to focus on the campaign against Walz.
Whether that will draw more voters to the primaries, we don't know. People are drawn to the polls by issues and candidate choices they perceive as important. We don't know if this particular slate would have drawn many more voters in June than in August.
Elsewhere in the paper, staff writer Josh Moniz reports in Quist faces hurdles in campaign against Walz:
Quist's challenge is having barely two months to refocus his messaging on how he contrasts with Walz. Quist decided to take his candidacy to a primary after the April endorsement convention failed to pick a candidate. However, his slugfest with Parry left with almost no time to campaign against Walz.
Walz has had a particularly strong run this year, pushing through the passage of several very popular legislative pieces like the STOCK Act. Quist will have to bring concentrated, consistent messaging if he wants to gain traction for his argument that he is the true representation of Minnesota's 1st Congressional District. Quist already has considerable name recognition in southern Minnesota, but the details of his plan to balance the federal budget has somewhat faded into the background. . . .
"Walz has had a particularly strong run this year"
Just this week, while Parry and Quist battlled, then kissed and went off on separate vacations (Quist took in a couple fairs yesterday and today), Walz toured the district talked about the new transportation bill with area leaders, trucking company owners and other business people. It's another part of the strong run the Mankato educator had in Congress this year.
The Daily Herald's Kevin Coss reports in Walz visits Austin:
Walz visited award-winning McFarland Truck Lines to discuss the effects of a two-year transportation bill he helped pass through Congress. The bill was signed into law in early July to make roads and bridges safer. McFarland — which has been in business for more than 70 years and now has a fleet of 108 trucks — was recently named the safest trucking company in Minnesota . . .
Negotiations for the bill were at a standstill in mid June. Walz introduced legislation that directed the Transportation Conference Committee to resolve its internal disputes and put forth a bipartisan transportation bill. The motion passed the U.S. House on a vote of 386-34.
Move to instruct, indeed. On election day, WXOW, LaCrosse, reported in Walz and Winona leaders celebrate highway bill:
Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz stopped in Winona today to showcase how the recent highway bill will impact area businesses.
The $40 billion transportation bill passed with bipartisan support in Congress last month. It provides funds to state transportation agencies to improve road infrastructure.
Funds from the bill will help to repair the Highway 43 bridge between Minnesota and Wisconsin, which area businesses rely on to transport goods from state to state. . . .
. . .
In 2008, the bridge closed for ten days when authorities deemed it unsafe because of rusty gusset plates.
During that period, local manufacturers and retailers reported a loss of over $2 million. Hundreds of workers cross the bridge in both directions each day.
"Their fear is if we shut this thing down, we shut down commerce, we shut down business at a time of recession when some of them are starting to bounce back. It would be devastating," Walz said. "So we made that clear in the planning process that we have to take that into consideration because at the end of the day, if we do this right, the tax dollars that go into building this bridge will be paid back by the added commerce."
That's pretty clear messaging. Watch the full clip here:
In Mike Parry: From the jaws of victory, a free article in Politics in Minnesota, Brianna Bierschbach takes an in-depth look at how perceptions of Parry's frontrunner status against eventual winner Allen Quist dissolved in the dew Tuesday evening. She reports:
. . . Most seemed unaware the Quist-Parry matchup was competitive until April, when Parry and Quist faced off in an historic, 23-ballot Republican endorsing contest that ended in deadlock around 2 a.m.
But now, reflecting on the race, local Republicans say the Parry campaign underestimated Quist’s continued support from a small but dedicated group of followers. Quist was also willing to pour more than $200,000 of his own money into a calculated primary campaign strategy and ground game, while Parry focused his campaign on attacking Quist.
“You are really down to party activists [in a primary], and, at the end of the day, it was all about get out the vote,” said Steve Perkins, former chair of the 1st Congressional District Republicans. “Quist has got some extremely loyal supporters and good, honest, ordinary citizens types that are out there and are willing to work very hard on his behalf.” . . .
While most of Bierschbach sources said Parry focused on attacking Quist to the exclusion of sharing his own vision, there's also this:
Others feel the Parry camp simply underestimated Quist’s grass-roots support and overestimated their own campaign’s prominence in the district. “Republicans have a history of underestimating Allen Quist, and I think [Parry] surrounded himself with people who did the same,” one southern Minnesota GOP observer said.
Bluestem sides with the latter. Moreover, the Parry campaign--from the time it was a gleam in Michael Brodkorb's eye to the support it drew from Republican legislators--was a creature of St. Paul rather than the First Congressional District. Parry wasn't well-known--and in the case of Waseca County, well-liked.
Even before the convention, we began to heard from non-partisan observers and district Republicans that they and the base we re less than impressed with Parry, while not especially thrilled by Quist. In the end, they took stock and went with the one who invested in his campaign and carried a vision, however sketchily explained.
Images: Allen Quist, cartoon by Ken Avidor (above); Congressman Tim Walz (below).