Parry, of Waseca, said he filed his campaign registration paperwork today with the Federal Election Commission. In an interview, Parry said he decided to run because he is concerned about out-of-control government spending and wants to see regulations that are hurting small businesses lifted. He said he also believes Walz is out of touch with the district. He cites the congressman's support for President Obama's health care overhaul and cap and trade legislation.
"It just appears that Congressman Walz is just more interested in voting with the Washington liberals than he is in representing southern Minnesota," he said.
The announcement is not a big surprise. Area Republicans say Parry had indicated to them he was running. A few weeks ago he did a meet and greet event with Republicans in Rochester — the biggest city in the congressional district.
Parry won a special election to the Minnesota Senate in January 2010, replacing Sen. Dick Day of Owatonna who resigned to lobby for Racino Now. Since his election, Parry has had his share of run ins with DFL Gov. Mark Dayton. Most recently, he went after the governor for considering allowing in-home day care providers to vote on unionizing. Parry, chair of the State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee, lead a committee hearing on the issue.
Parry owns and manages a marketing and motivation company and his family owns the Godfather's Pizza franchise in Waseca. He has managed a number of radio stations in Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan, including KQAQ in Austin. He served in the Minnesota National Guard and attended Brown Institute of Broadcasting in Minneapolis.
Walz, of Mankato, is serving his third term in Congress. He defeated state GOP Rep. Randy Demmer of Hayfield last year winning 49 percent of the vote compared to Demmer's 44 percent. Republicans are optimistic Walz can be bumped off because his support dipped below 50 percent in the last election. One big unknown is were the political boundaries will be drawn for the First Congressional District. The state courts are expected to release a redistricting plan in February.