From MPR’s Elizabeth Baier…
Former Minnesota state Representative Allen Quist launched his bid today for the 1st Congressional district against Democratic U.S. Representative Tim Walz in southern Minnesota.
Quist launched his campaign with a tour of the Minnesota’s 1st Districtt, which runs across southern Minnesota.
He says his campaign will focus on jobs, the economy and repealing the health care reform law passed by Congress earlier this year.
“Our national debt has doubled in the last seven years,” Quist said during a campaign stop in Rochester. “Now over $15 trillion, greater than our annual gross domestic product. This cannot continue, obviously. At the same time, Washington appears to be unable to effectively deal with the problem.”
Quist lost the GOP endorsement in 2010 to Randy Demmer. He also made two unsuccessful runs for governor in 1994 and 1998. He won the GOP endorsement for governor in 1994 but lost in the primary to incumbent Gov. Arne Carlson. Quist also served in the Minnesota House from 1983 until he retired in 1989.
Before he faces Walz, Quist will first have to battle state Senator Mike Parry of Waseca for the party’s endorsement.
Walz is a former teacher from Mankato serving his third term. The state Democratic Party released a statement calling Quist an “extreme, Tea Party politician.”
New political boundaries for Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District may change in 2012, but Quist says he’s ready to move if his home in St. Peter ends up outside the 1st District after the redistricting process. He’s already renting an apartment in Byron.
“If the new district that Tim Walz occupies doesn’t include our home in St. Peter or our place in Byron, we’ll move again,” Quist said. “We’re going to be kind of like hound dogs, we’re going to chase him wherever he goes. It’ll be a matter of logistics, but that’s it.”
Currently, the district extends across the southern border from South Dakota to Wisconsin. It includes Rochester, Worthington, Mankato, Albert Lea, Austin, Owatonna and Winona.
A court appointed panel will release the new political boundaries on Feb. 21 if Gov. Dayton and the GOP-controlled Legislature can’t reach agreement before then.
Here’s Quist’s speech in Rochester: