Quist to challenge Walz for MN CD 1 seat

Allen Quist will represent the Republican party this fall in his bid to unseat 1st Congressional District DFL Rep. Tim Walz.

Quist had been running against GOP state Sen. Mike Parry, who conceded to Quist late Thursday night in a phone call.

Parry said he would support Quist in his race against Walz.

“I told [Allen Quist], as I’m going to tell you right now, this is all about Tim Walz,” Parry said. “This is about a Congressman who has failed to represent the first district. This is about a congressman that has joined lockstep with the Obama administration and actively does not support production agriculture.”

Parry said he believes Quist is an electable Republican, despite the negative tone the primary race took in the last few weeks.

“Based on what I see tonight, things are changing in the first congressional district. [Quist] is well-versed, he gets it, That’s why I’m excited to join his team, to move forward with a common cause and that’s to defeat Tim Walz.”

At 10:30 p.m., the Secretary of State’s office reported that nearly 70 percent of the southern Minnesota district had reported; Parry had 45 percent of the vote while Quist had 54 percent of the vote.

In Mankato, Quist told the crowd that he welcomes Parry to his team.

“We’ll work together from now on,” Quist said.

Quist told supporters that there’s a lot of work ahead, but he’s confident that a conservative Repoublican can win the congressional seat.

“Our focus in going to be the number one problem facing our country, and that is the debt crisism” Quist said. “We absolutely have to change direction. We don’t have a choice.”

Quist contributed much of his own cash to his campaign, and Parry was not able to match Quist’s fundraising.

In recent weeks, the Parry-Quist race became more interesting after Parry brought up comments Quist made years ago about social issues, including the roles of men and women in the home.

Last week, Parry got more attention when he called Gov. Mark Dayton “scary” and said that he saw Dayton “pop 15 to 16 pills” during a meeting.

Republican Party of Minnesota Chair Pat Shortridge used Quist’s victory to make the party’s case against Walz.

“Voters in southern Minnesota deserve representation in Washington that will fight to get spending and regulation under control,” Shortridge said in a statement. “Despite election-year conversions, Tim Walz has been a blank check for the Obama administration on key issues like cap and trade, Obamacare, and the failed stimulus. The Walz legacy for future generations will be one of more debt and regulation, and one of less opportunity and growth.”

MPR’s Elizabeth Baier and Tim Pugmire contributed to this report.

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