Allen Quist and Rick Nolan have both been out of elective office for more than two decades. On Tuesday, however, both veteran politicos won their respective congressional primaries, surviving contentious intra-party battles and earning the right to challenge incumbents for a trip to Washington, D.C.
Quist won the First District Republican primary with 12,498 votes (55 percent), putting him safely ahead of State Sen. Mike Parry, R-Waseca, with only three precincts yet to report. Thanks largely to the negative tone of Parry’s campaign literature, the primary race had turned into a question of which candidate had the more damaging record of outlandish public statements.
Parry’s attack ads brought attention to Quist’s controversial past, which includes pronouncements on women, pornography and homosexuality, from which Quist attempted to distance himself in the run-up to the primary. Parry also managed to add to his own list of polarizing utterances in recent weeks, first accusing Gov. Mark Dayton, whom he called “scary,” of once “popping 15 to 16 pills” during a negotiation, which Dayton denied; last week, Parry drew criticism for the iron-fisted style he displayed while chairing a Subcommittee on Employee Relations hearing.
Quist’s win pits him against three-term DFL incumbent Tim Walz, who enters the general election race with a dramatic financial advantage. Quist, who loaned his campaign $180,000 during the primary season, had $117,000 in cash on hand as of the most recent FEC filing. Walz had nearly $808,000 in the bank, and outraised Quist during the month of July ($27,845 for Walz, to Quist’s $18,800) despite the fact that Walz had no primary challenger.
Quist served as a state legislator from 1983 to 1989, and made two unsuccessful gubernatorial bids in the 1990s, including a 1994 challenge to Republican incumbent Gov. Arne Carlson, which was derailed thanks, at least in part, to Quist’s assertion that men had a “genetic predisposition” to be the heads of households.
Nolan won the Eighth District primary in an evenly matched three-way contest with Tarryl Clark, who ran and lost as the Sixth District DFL candidate against Rep. Michele Bachmann in 2010, and Duluth city councilman Jeff Anderson. With more than 96 percent of precincts reporting, Nolan held an insurmountable lead over his opponents, receiving 20,242 votes (38.7 percent of the turnout) compared to Clark’s 16,491 (31.5 percent) and Anderson’s 15,575, good for 29.8 percent. With the victory, Nolan wins the chance to take on Rep. Chip Cravaack, who rode the nationwide wave of Republican victories to unseat longtime DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar in 2010.
Nolan had won the DFL endorsement, and counted former Vice President Walter Mondale among his supporters. For her part, Clark received the endorsement of former President Bill Clinton, and was running with a decided money advantage: Clark’s campaign poured out $225,000 during July alone, topping the combined monthly spending totals for Nolan ($33,000), Anderson ($19,000) and Cravaack ($33,000) combined.
Nolan, who started his political career as a state representative in the late 1960s, represented Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District from 1975-1981.
All three candidates are scheduled to appear at a “Party Unity” event in Duluth this afternoon, where the losing candidates are expected to pledge their support for Nolan in the general election race.
With 99.1 percent of precincts reporting statewide, here are the results from Tuesday night’s congressional primaries:
|District||Winning Candidate||Losing Candidate|
|1 (GOP)||Allen Quist -12,498 votes (54.2 percent)||Mike Parry – 10,569 (45.8 percent)|
|2 (GOP)||John Kline – 15,859 (85.1 percent)||David Gerson – 2,772 (14.9 percent)|
|4 (GOP)||Tony Hernandez – 6,868 (64 percent)||Ron Seiford – 3,853 (36 percent)|
|5 (DFL)||Keith Ellison – 30,609 votes (89.6 percent)||Gregg Iverson – 2,143 votes (6.3 percent) Gary Boisclar – 1,397 (4.1 percent)|
|8 (DFL)||Rick Nolan – 20,242 votes (38.7 percent)||Tarryl Clark – 16,491 votes (31.5 percent) Jeff Anderson – 15,575 votes (29.8 percent)|
|US Senate (GOP)||Kurt Bills – 62,659 votes (51. 3 percent)||David Carlson – 43,004 votes (35.2 percent) Bob Carney, Jr. 16,459 (13.5 percent)|