REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. - A Republican state senator running for Congress says Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton popped pills during a meeting earlier this year.
Sen. Mike Parry's comments became the talk of the Minnesota political world today, but Dayton said he has learned that as an elected official he will be attacked.
Parry, of Waseca, told a Republican fundraising audience that Dayton took "15 or 16 pills" during a breakfast meeting earlier this year.
"It was more than just a few," Parry said, adding that "it was not M and M peanuts," the governor's favorite candy.
"I was there, I saw it," Parry said.
"The 15 or 16 was just a lie," Dayton told reporters gathered around him at Farmfest, an annual event in southwestern Minnesota.
Dayton said he long ago told Minnesotans that he suffers from depression and takes medicine to control it. At Farmfest he added that he also takes medicine to control stomach acid, but has not needed that much since legislators adjourned for the year in May.
The governor said Parry used the allegation because of the Aug. 14 primary, where he and Allen Quist are seeking the Republican nomination to run against Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz in southern Minnesota.
"He is six days before a primary that he probably is going to lose," Dayton said.
Parry would not say why he brought up the pill incident, saying his point was that a Democratic-controlled Legislature would be dangerous. He said he is "sympathetic for people who have to take medicine," adding that he takes some, too.
In his capacity as candidate in southern Minnesota's 1st Congressional District, Parry told the Farmfest audience that the U.S. House needs more people willing to work smoothly with people from the other party. He said that type of person is a statesman, and he considers himself one.
Avoiding the truth, he added, "is not being a statesman."
When Dayton was asked if Parry was a statesman, he replied: "I haven't noticed that."