Republican congressional candidates Mike Parry and Allen Quist have opted not to join the Olmsted County Republicans in this year's Rochesterfest parade. Instead, the two candidates who are set to square-off in the August primary are doing their own thing.
While it's free for politicians to walk in plenty of small town parades, it costs $500 to participate in the Rochester event. Quist said his campaign decided to register for their own spot in the parade after they were unable to get assurances from the Republican Party of Olmsted County they would be able to join them before having to make a decision.
Republican Party of Olmsted County Chairman Bruce Kaskubar said he invited both Parry and Quist to join the party in the parade. Adding to the complications is that the official deadline to register for the parade was April 14. That was before the First District Republicans' endorsing convention on April 21, which ended after 23 ballots with candidates deadlocked over whether to endorse Parry or Quist.
Instead of marching with the Republican party, Parry is walking for free with the "Bell of Honor" float. He said local veteran and Rochester School Board member Terry Throndson approached him and asked him to join them in the parade. The 3,000-pound Bell of Honor is used at funerals and other special events to honor veterans, law enforcement officers and others.
But Parry may run into trouble at the parade. Rochesterfest's Executive Director Carole Brown said politicians are supposed to either walk with a political party unit or pay the $500 to march in the parade on their own. She said the Parry campaign would be violating those rules by walking with the Bell of Honor.