MANKATO Minnesota 1st District Congressional candidate Allen Quist promoted his platform at a town hall meeting on Thursday in Mankato.
Quist, a former state legislator from St. Peter, is running against fellow Republican state Sen. Mike Parry in the Aug. 14 primary to be the official challenger to DFL incumbent Rep. Tim Walz.
Quist stuck to his repeated focus on the size of the federal deficit, calling it the biggest safety risk to the future of the United States. He promoted his plan to balance the federal budget by cutting $1 trillion in five years. He outlined cutting the U.S. government's total spending by $200 billion for each of those years. He said he recognized the cuts would come at the expense of deep cuts to highly held budgets.
He said he would be willing to make deeps cuts into the military because there is significant overspending in the U.S. military budget, citing items like host military bases in several other countries. The large cuts could be made without an expense to the military capability of the U.S. He also emphasized shifting the funding to finance high-technology projects like anti-hacking protections and preventing other nations from interfering with radio frequencies.
At this point, Quist made the confusing statement that Chinese operatives had hacked the U.S. drone that crashed in Iran last December. No official report could be found to support Quist's claim. Quist said he heard his story from several sources and had presumed it to be public knowledge.
Beyond that, Quist ended his debt idea by stating he might also be willing to cut into expenses like Social Security, though he added he was unsure how. He stated that he considered the programs to be public promises, so a complex approach would be needed. He also said he would reduce many major departments, such as shrinking the EPA by two-thirds.
In the rest of his speech, Quist addressed his usual points of calling Obamacare a threat to freedom in country, calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve and stating that he thinks using the U.S. military for nation-building is unconstitutional.
Quist concluded his speech by asking the 80 people in attendance to vote for him. He cited credibility and honesty as his strengths.
"You can know I'm not lying to you. I'm not going to be dodging questions," said Quist.
statements made in
'80s, '90s, apologizes
Quist's campaign is currently under a cloud of controversy for several claims he made in the 1980s and 1990s, which the Parry campaign released in an e-mail. Quist initially responded by denying all the statements or claiming they were taken out of context. On Thursday, he sent out a campaign e-mail confirming he had made the statements and apologizing for them.
Quist admitted to comparing a gay counseling service at Mankato State University to the KKK in the 1980s. He also admitted to stating that men are "genetically predisposed" to leading households. However, he claimed in the e-mail to be basing the statement on personal religious beliefs. Quist claimed the statement was scientifically based in the interview from which the quote originated. Finally, he admitted to visiting an adult bookstore undercover. He claimed to have been doing research for concerns related to the AIDS epidemic at the time. However, he claims that the Mankato Free Press reporter who wrote the 1980s article fabricated facts, including him wearing sunglasses and wearing grungy clothing.
Quist said he doesn't believe admitting to the statements will hurt his campaign. He believes that voters will appreciate his willingness to admit his mistakes. He also believes the statements and actions to be so old that they will not impact his campaign.
Quist and Parry will have their first debate leading up to the Aug. 14 primary tonight on TPT's show Almanac.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at email@example.com)