ST. PAUL, Minn. - Republican congressional candidate Mike Parry is taking heat for portraying Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton as a pill popper.
Parry, a state senator, made the comment Monday at a Brown County Republican fundraiser. He hopes to take on incumbant Congressman Tim Walz in November.
A video of Parry's speech posted online by a New Ulm Journal reporter shows Parry calling Dayton "scary" and saying, "When you sit across from him and you watch him pop 15 to 16 pills when you're having a meeting, it's scary." He emphasized the importance of keeping Republican control of the Legislature.
Parry is running in a heated GOP primary where he has highlighted past intemperate comments by opponent Allen Quist, saying they call Quist's judgment and electability into question.
On Twitter, two Democratic lawmakers urged Parry to apologize and a Republican legislator called Dayton a "gentleman."
Dayton Deputy Chief of Staff Bob Hume reacted Tuesday morning, saying in a written statement "This is the final gasp from a candidate who has nothing to offer the people in the 1st congressional district. The Governor will not stoop to comment on Parry's vile personal attacks. However, he does want a retraction of Parry's lies about funding for Minnesota's veterans."
Parry released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
"I have great sympathy for those who struggle with addiction and depression. Governor Dayton has been upfront about facing these challenges and confirmed today that he takes medication. Last night at a Republican fundraiser, I shared a story from a breakfast meeting I had with Governor Dayton. At that meeting, Governor Dayton took pills. The larger point I made last night was that our state is at a great risk if Democrats take control of the state house and senate -- consequently, Governor Dayton would be able to enact legislation that is out-of-the mainstream with the majority of Minnesotans."
Parry's statement did not respond to the veterans funding issue raised by Dayton's staff.
In 2010, while still a candidate for Senate, Parry posted a message on his Twitter account referring to President Obama as a "power hungry, arrogant, black man." He later apologized, and won a special election. He was reelected later that year in the general election.
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