ROCHESTER - Minnesota 1st Congressional District candidate Republican Allen Quist raked in $9,000 for his campaign Friday from a fundraiser featuring Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in Rochester.
The event was part of a larger fundraising push Quist, a former state legislator from St. Peter, is making. He is running against fellow Republican Mike Parry, a state senator from Owatonna, in the Aug. 14 primary to challenge DFL incumbent Rep. Tim Walz in the general election.
All the candidates must file a special pre-primary FEC report by Aug. 2, which covers the period from July 1 to July 25. Quist's $9,000 could go a long way in this reporting, particularly because candidates will be making an effort to show fundraising strength ahead of the election.
Bachmann, who has endorsed Quist, may also help raise Quist's credentials with some Minnesota Republicans. Her notoriety from her presidential run has fortified her influence with several Republican groups, including Tea Partyers. However, Bachmann's help could bring complications for Quist.
Bachmann came under heavy criticism from Democratic and Republican leaders last week for claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the U.S. government. The evidence she presented for her claims has been rebuked by several lawmakers and Muslim organizations. Bachmann also accused Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. She has not yet provided evidence for her claims against Ellison, who is a Muslim.
When Bachmann spoke to the 75 guests attending the fundraiser Friday, reporters were barred from hearing her speech. She also declined to make any comment while leaving.
Quist has repeatedly declined to make any comment on Bachmann's recent statements. Quist maintained that he has absolutely no interest in Bachmann's actions, and that his only focus is on the economy. Quist has had close ties to Bachmann for years, and his wife has worked as a staffer for Bachmann.
Quist said Bachmann offered the endorsement and fundraiser to him. He said he was willing to take her help, but he was uninterested in actions she takes on her own.
"[Bachmann] does all kinds of things I have no interest in. I never comment on her actions unless it's something I agree with," said Quist.
"My focus is on the fact our country is being financially taken apart," said Quist, "The only thing I care about is leaving a future for my children and grandchildren."
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org