The Owatonna People's Press seems to think so. In Owatonna, Waseca GOP voters could be active on primary day, OPP staff writer Derek Sullivan reports:
Though many districts, especially around Mankato and Rochester, have many more voters, District 24A does have something going for it, namely its own state House primary.
Also on the ballot on Aug. 14 are Republican state House candidates Larry Johnson and John Petersburg. Their match-up is the only House primary in the First Congressional District. Senate District 20, which is partially in the First Congressional District, also has a Republican primary.
A member of Parry for Congress Grassroots Leaders, Johnson blogs at The Hidden Lives of Conservatives. After a hiatus of two years, the marriage-amendment opponent and Ron Paul supporter posted Your Hands Are Now Dirty Mr. Petersburg in which he writes:
The ideals of freedom and liberty are not exclusive to one race, creed, sexuality or socioeconomic status. The beauty of the Thomas Jefferson/Ron Paul model of governing is that it is inclusive of anyone that yearns to have a say in their own destiny. A recent political flyer distributed to voters in my district states that I am out of touch with taxpayers and out of touch with "Our Values." Let me give you a few examples of recent "republican " values regarding the sanctity of marriage. A former Vice-chair for the Minnesota Republican Party, Michael Brodkorb, was recently fired for having an extra-marital affair with married State Senator Amy Koch. Mr. Brodkorb has also filed a lawsuit seeking damages for discrimination due to his gender. Mr. Brodkorb's lawyer stated in a Huffington Post article from March 3rd, 2012 "It is clear that Mr. Brodkorb was terminated based on his gender. He intends to depose all of the female legislative staff employees who participated in intimate relationships, as well as the legislators who were party to those intimate relationships, in support of his claims of gender discrimination." So when the party says that I am "Out of touch with our values" I take that as a compliment.
The party flyer states that I oppose a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. This is true. I do not believe that marriage, of any type, should be defined by the government. . . .
Mr. Brodkorb was Parry's de facto campaign manager until he resigned following the revelation of the affair. Parry supports the marriage amendment, as does Allen Quist.
Both men spoke to the OPP about the local race will be an advantage to his side. According to Parry:
If the Petersburg-Johnson race does bring more people to the polls, Parry is confident his history in the area will garner their support.
“During my two winning campaigns for state senate, the voters in Owatonna and Waseca responded to our common-sense message — holding the line on taxes, reducing spending, and growing the economy to help improve the job climate,” Parry said.
Actually, that history is a bit more complicated than Parry lets on. Parry came in second in Waseca County in the 2010 Special Election with 31.30 percent of the vote , behind Mayor Roy Srp's 41.19 percent. Parry did better in Steele County, with 46.03 percent of the vote to DFLer Jason Engbrecht's 35.08 percent. (Engbrecht won Rice County, which is no longer in the state House district, though now part of the First). Parry won both Steele and Waseca Counties in the Republican wave election in 2010 with about 55 percent of the vote.
In the article, Parry points out that the area supported a local son, Dick Day, over challenger Brian Davis in the 2008 Republican primary. However, Day won Steele County by a slightly higher percent in 2004, with 58 percent of the vote, while taking 55 percent in Waseca County. While Parry likes to claim that he's been elected in a swing district, the state Senate seat has been held by a Republican since Trix's great-grandma was a pup.
Quist tells the OPP that he has strong support in the area as well:
Quist said he expects Petersburg and Johnson to bring more Republicans to the polls. In order to reach out to those GOP faithful, Quist will hold a town hall meeting on Wednesday at the Owatonna Eagles Club.
“Obviously, (24A) will have a big impact, which is why I’m trying to reach as many voters as I can,” Quist said. “It’s one of the reasons I made it a priority to have a town hall in Owatonna. I probably would have anyways, but it made it an easy decision. I know I need to be visible in Owatonna.”
. . .Quist is optimistic that he will do better in Owatonna and Waseca than Davis did.
“What’s very interesting is that in Owatonna and Waseca, I have very good support. I’m confident that I will do well in Owatonna from the way people are responding to my campaign.”
The paper raises the possibly of another potential factor in the race:
While there are two contested Republican races on the Aug. 14 ballot, there are no closely contested DFL battles. That doesn’t mean Democrats will skip the primary. In Minnesota, any voter can walk into his or her polling place and pick a party. If DFL supporters want to vote in the Republican primary and pick a candidate they believe Walz or House candidate Craig Brenden, DFL-Waseca, can more easily defeat, they can do that. They would just not be able to vote in the DFL primary.
Other than a tweet by an anonymous sock puppet, Bluestem hasn't seen any evidence that anyone wants to play those games. Indeed, after the performance of Parry and Quist in the past month--especially after Parry's blindingly strange remark about the Governor's supposed pill popping--it's hard to see either Republican candidate doing better than the other against Walz.
Photo: Parry and Quist, by Peter Bartz Gallagher via PIM