In the end, even re-animating the spirit of the Swedish Reformation wasn't enough to revive Allen Quist's political career, nor the threat of a third-party candidate.
Clark Johnson has won the House District 19A special election, taking 2680 votes for 53.69 percent of the vote.
Quist received 1801 votes, or 36.08 percent, while Independence Party candidate Tim Gieseke collected 511 votes for 10.24 percent of the vote.
The Republican's 2013 percentage of the vote in the state house district dipped slightly from the 37.05 percentage he received of the 2012 congressional election votes cast in the same house district. This suggests that the conservative Republican base that produces an Allen Quist in Nicollet County is fairly stable, with Gieseke capturing small-i independent voters.
Whatever the explanation, creationist Quist was defeated on Charles Darwin's birthday (as well as that of the Original Republican, Abraham Lincoln, although the Grand Old Party has--dare we say--evolved from the days of the Great Emancipator).
In today's other special election, Republican small business woman Tama Thies won with 55.08 percent of the vote with 15 of 16 precincts reporting when we posted at 10:30 p.m. Just as the 19A seat stayed in DFL hands, this traditionally Republican district in St. Cloud stayed Republican.
The results in both districts leave the party counts in the Minnesota House exactly as they were on the morning of November 7, 2012.
Update: In Clark Johnson wins House 19A seat, Mankato Free Press writer Mark Fischenich reports:
. . .Quist didn't talk much -- if at all -- about abortion, gay marriage or other social issues during the campaign, but [North Mankato voter Jared] Glaser checked some of Quist's former words and actions online. He saw videos that referenced Quist's attempts in the 1980s to reduce the amount of anonymous gay sex in Minnesota and his doubts about the theory of evolution, including statements that dinosaurs and humans co-existed on earth.
"He just sounds like a lunatic," Glaser said. . . .
Cartoon: Allen Quist can still fly to the state capitol for gun hearings and such. Cartoon by Ken Avidor.
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