Rather than laying out the details of his deficit and debt reduction plans, Republican congressional candidate Allen Quist is spending his time whining about the first debate, making absurd comments about the amendment to limit the right to marry, then hanging up on the press.
Bluestem has always thought Southern Minnesota was a lovely wonderland, but never quite like this.
Miffed by a remark Walz made in the first debate, apetulant Quist scheduled three press conferences to demand that his opponent apologize. There's fairly straight forward coverage in New Ulm (No apology from Walz to Quist), Mankato (Quist demands apology from Walz over statement on vets benefits) and Austin (No apology from Walz to Quist) but by the time Quist reached Winona, the narrative fell down an entirely different rabbit hole.
While Quist was out complaining, Walz snagged the endorsement of the NRA, important for the large, rural district. MPR reported in Walz picks up NRA endorsement over Quist:
The National Rifle Association endorsed DFL Congressman Tim Walz's bid for a fourth term on Tuesday, snubbing Walz's Republican contender, Allen Quist.
The organization gave Walz an "A" rating for his "proved record of defending the Second Amendment." . . .
In Winona, the story morphed into Quist: Government doesn’t belong in gay marriage debate. Winona Daily News staff writer Mary Juhl reported:
Congressional candidate Allen Quist said Tuesday that government shouldn’t be involved in the gay marriage debate, one week after he declared his support for a proposed state constitutional amendment that would limit marriage to between a man and woman.
“I think that government does not have a role in whether people should get married or not,” Quist said at a public event in Winona.
His words directly conflict with a statement the Republican, running against U.S. Rep. Tim Walz in the 1st District, sent the Daily News last week detailing his position on the state’s proposed marriage amendment.
“I support the marriage amendment because for over a thousand years, Western culture has defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” he said in the statement. “I don’t see a compelling reason to change that definition.”
Quist said in a subsequent interview Tuesday that the two statements are “paradoxical but not contradictory.”
“I was very explicit in saying government should not have a role in whether people choose to marry or not marry,” Quist said. “But government does have a role in defining marriage. . . .
New Ulm Journal reporter Josh Moniz called Quist yesterday for a follow-up on that twist. The marriage amendment is heating up the letters section of the Journal as the election approaches, so it's not just some paradoxical but not contradictory interest to ask Quist to unpack.
But the Norseland farmer and retired college professor was having little of it. Moniz tweeted yesterday:
In Quist unwilling to clarify statements on marriage amendment, Moniz reports:
Allen Quist, the Republican candidate for Minnesota's 1st Congressional District, is refusing to clarify statements he made Tuesday regarding the state's constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Minnesotans will vote on the amendment on Nov. 6.
The Winona Daily News reports that during a Tuesday campaign stop in Winona, Quist said government should not be make determination on who can marry.
"I was very explicit in saying government should not have a role in whether people choose to marry or not marry," said Quist, "But, government does have a role in defining marriage."
Quist has stated during previous debates and town hall meetings that he supports the marriage amendment and "traditional marriage." In each instance, he followed up by stating he was not interested in discussing the topic because it is a state issue. He said he wants keep the campaign discussion only focused on the federal deficit and how to balance the federal budget.
When asked in an interview on Wednesday to clarify his statements, Quist was unwilling to talk discuss the issue.
"This is purely a state level issue, not a federal issue. I have no involvement in it. I'm not going to talk about it, " said Quist.
When asked to clarify his position with regards to federal legislation or the Defense of Marriage Act, Quist said he had absolutely no interest in discussing the topic. He abruptly ended the interview shortly afterwards. . . .
Quist's position on homosexuality has been the subject of scrutiny during his pre-primary battle against Mike Parry due to controversial statements he made in the 1980s while serving in the Minnesota Legislature. During that era, Quist compared a gay counseling clinic at Mankato State University to the Ku Klux Klan and stated he went undercover in a Mankato book store because he believed it was a site for homosexual sex. Quist initially denied making these statements early in the campaign, but later publicly admitted to them. . . .
Walz, an amendment supporter, helped launch Veterans United, a veterans-related group that supports the freedom to marry.
If an absent minded footsman shows up in the Quist campaign, Bluestem will be the first one to let you know. Call it "Allen in Wonderland."
Cartoon: Allen and Julie Quist, by Ken Avidor.