Past statements haunt in First Congressional Republican race

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  • July 27, 2012 - 11:22 AM

A little Googling, using of Nexis, digging into archives and searches through microfilm are roiling the First Congressional District Republican primary race.

Both Republican Mike Parry and Allen Quist, who are vying in a primary for the right to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, have made current their rival's past statements.

Parry, a state Senator from Waseca, got it started by reminding that when Quist was in the state Legislature decades ago he won some attention for: investigating a porn shop undercover to check for gay sex hang-outs; comparing counseling for gays to the Ku Klux Klan and for saying that men have a genetic predisposition to the head of households.

Quist, in various forums and in various ways, denied the charges.

But late Thursday, the former state representative admitted there was some truth to them, sort of.

In an email to supporters he said that indeed he did visit an adult book store to investigate the goings on  but not in disguise -- and besides, he says not, he was right to do so. 

"I entered the adult bookstore dressed normally in shirt and blue jeans. The real story that won’t be printed is that I did the right thing. There was in fact a huge public health risk involved—a problem that was immediately remedied because someone had the courage to bring the issue to the light of day," he told supporters.

He also said that yes, he did compare counseling to the KKK although he doesn't remember it, and now says it was wrong to do so.

"I have no memory of having said anything like that, but apparently I did. In light of that evidence I now offer my apologies. The words were poorly chosen. I would not say anything like that today. How many of us can remember all that we may have said 24 years ago? The Parry campaign had to dig pretty deep and pretty far back to find something to attack. But those attacks are a shallow substitute for addressing the serious issues facing our nation," he wrote.

He also said that his statement about men's roles from years ago was about religion.

"I believe there is natural order to the family that is part of the genetic code. This negative attack is being taken out of context because I was speaking of religious beliefs, not public policy—beliefs that have no part in political campaigns or political discourse. In addition, I was not speaking of what the Bible says directly, but was speaking of inferences based on the Bible, inferences that others may not agree with," he wrote.

That still conflicts with what he told a reporter two decades ago. In 1994, he said was asked if his discussion about men's "a genetic predisposition" was "a biblical one.” He said: “I don’t know about that. That’s not where I’m coming from.”

But Quist says Parry also has a questionable past -- and present.

"Three years ago, Mike Parry put Democrats and pedophiles in the same category. He also said President Obama was a “Power Hungry Arrogant Black Man," he said.

He earlier hit back against Parry's brickbat over Quist personal financing of his own campaign by suggesting Parry would do the same, if only he could: "He says he’s a businessman, but either he’s not successful, or he’s unwilling to invest some of his success in this effort.”

Parry admitted that on Twitter just before he was elected to the state Senate, he made some inappropriate comments.

“I stood up, I apologized, said I was sorry, it wasn’t going to happen again and I moved on," Parry said. "You’ve got to be responsible about what you do.”

Parry also said that his business has struggled but he has worked hard to keep it afloat.


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