Mike Parry and Allen Quist battle it out for 23 ballots, neither wins GOP endorsement
The GOP's First District convention was one for the record books.
It started Saturday afternoon in North Mankato's Kato Ballroom and ended just before 2 a.m. Sunday, when ballroom manager Larry Bowers said he had to kick the Republicans out lest the Ballroom lose its liquor license.
After 14 hours and 23 ballots, neither Mike Parry nor Allen Quist managed to win enough votes to secure the GOP endorsement for a run against Congressman Tim Walz. In the end, a narrow majority of delegates voted to call a new convention within the next few weeks in hopes of finally being able to settle on a nominee next time around.
In order for the nomination contest to be settled, Parry or Quist had to win 60 percent of delegate votes on a ballot. But neither could manage more than 55 percent throughout the day, evening, and wee hours of the morning.
Some of the delegates aren't in favor of having a second convention, reasoning that the Parry-Quist infighting simply make whoever emerges as the nominee easier pickings for Walz come November.
As one delegate told the New Ulm Journal: "We have proven the definition of insanity by doing the same thing over and over and over again, expecting a different result."
The Mankato Free Press does a nice job capturing the tenor of the convention, which alternated between bitter internecine political warfare and the near comical:
Quist portrayed Parry as wishy-washy on key issues like taxes and balancing the budget.
"It's not going to be the mushy guy who's going to win (in November)," he said. "It's the consistent conservative who's going to win."
Shortly after 8 p.m., Quist brought up Parry's overwhelming defeat when running for re-election to the Waseca City Council.
"He gets the booby prize for losing by the biggest margin," Quist said.
But the energy level seemed to be dropping fast, and Parry -- who stayed relentlessly on message (I'm the guy who can win in November) -- got a tad bit goofy as he improvised in trying to fire up the crowd.
"This is so great!" he shouted. "I just had a sandwich! It was great! I'm ready!"
The absurdity came to a crescendo near midnight when Quist actually characterized the ultra-conservative Parry as "in the center or on the left of the center." Wouldn't that mean Quist is akin to the second coming of Stalin?
The Free Press reports that the 23-ballot Parry-Quist endorsement battle appears to be the longest ever for the Minnesota Republican Party when it comes to statewide or congressional endorsing conventions.
Both Parry and Quist have said they will abide by the First District's endorsement, but if delegates are again deadlocked following a second convention, a primary election could happen on August 14.
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