Congressional candidate Mike Parry is sticking by his claim that he witnessed the governor of Minnesota popping handfuls of pills during a breakfast meeting.
Mike Parry, one of two Republicans vying in the First District congressional primary, was caught on video Monday evening claiming that he'd seen Gov. Mark Dayton swallow "15 or 16 pills," and said it would be "scary" if the governor oversaw a DFL-majority legislature after November.
Parry offered no evidence to support his claim.
The governor pushed back hard Tuesday, calling Parry's remarks "a lie" and the "worst form of gutter politics" by a politician who's about to lose an election.
The two converged at Farmfest Tuesday, where Parry, a state senator from Waseca, was participating in a morning candidate forum and Dayton was the afternoon's keynote speaker.
Despite calls for an apology, Parry stuck by his remarks.
Maybe it wasn't 15 or 16 pills, he conceded, but "it was more than just a few" and "they weren't M&M peanuts, which he seems like." He could not recall the date of the alleged incident. He said the pills were sitting on the table while the two of them were having breakfast.
"I was there. I saw it," Parry told reporters after the candidate forum. "I saw it. I said it. I was there."
He stopped short of saying outright that he thought the governor of Minnesota was a drug addict.
"I have all the sympathy in the world for people that have issues like that," he said. "What I was speaking about was that it would be very scary, very scary if our governor ended up with a House and a Senate that was controlled by one party. I truly believe that this state, in my mind, would turn into one of the most socialistic states in the nation."
Dayton, who says he takes medication for depression, said he doesn't expect an apology for the pill remark, but he'd like one for another claim Parry made at the Monday fundraiser -- that he'd cut services to veterans. Parry also declined to make that apology.
Asked whether he thought the governor is fit to lead, Parry -- who once suggested the governor should resign over last year's government shutdown -- said: "I never said he was, I never said he wasn't."