Democrat Rob Quist read aloud a poem filled with sexual references to a Montana arena sparsely filled with supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders on Saturday.
The Vermont senator was in Montana to give a boost to Quist, a 69-year-old folk singer, in the final week of his campaign to fill the congressional seat vacated by Ryan Zinke. The campaign moved the event from a theater to the University of Montana's main arena to handle the expected crowd, but images of the event show that the campaign may have overestimated turnout.
Those who did show up—a small fraction of the more than 9,000 who came to see Sanders a year ago—were exposed to a poem written by Quist containing suggestive language that compares the state of Montana to a woman.
In an audio recording of the poem, which can be heard below, small children are heard crying as Quist reads lines about "suckling breasts" and prostitution.
The poem was not Quist's only sexual innuendo of the event. He also discounted Republican critiques that he was "in bed" with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) by saying, "I think I would have remembered that," according to a local Missoulian reporter.
An activist outside the event with Sanders also made reference to the criticism that Quist is "in bed" with Pelosi. The activist held a sign that read, "If you are going to be in bed with Quist make sure to use protection."
A peaceful protester outside #RobQuist's rally today with #BernieSanders in Missoula, MT #mtpol #mtal pic.twitter.com/zRtKAEyz1q
— David Gilder (@davidgilder) May 20, 2017
A peaceful protester stands at the entrance to Rob Quist's rally in #missoula #quist #mtspecialelection pic.twitter.com/h4QSFjgUqb
— David Gilder (@davidgilder) May 20, 2017
The man appears to be holding a printout of a Washington Free Beacon report on a medical malpractice suit filed by Quist in which his lawyers disclosed a preexisting genital herpes condition.
Quist's campaign has avoided answering questions about the report, which also contained information regarding Quist's previous marijuana use.
First, the campaign canceled a scheduled interview with the Missoulian due to concern that the report would come up, and then Quist hung up on a reporter after he was asked whether he had ever been cited for marijuana use. Quist initially said that he hadn't, but his campaign corrected the record an hour later to say that he had been.
Republicans have seized on Sanders's comment during the event that if Quist were elected to Congress he would make sure that people "pay their fair share of taxes." The Montana airwaves have been flooded with ads pointing to tax liens filed against Quist for his failure to pay over $15,000 in taxes.
Republicans have also pointed to an instance in Sanders's speech in which he implores attendees to "bribe" people to vote for Quist.
Willful bribery could lead to up to two years of federal imprisonment.
Sources present at the event say that the campaign's efforts to bring attendees to the polls in two school buses were a flop. An image of the only bus that made it to the polling site before it closed show a lone person on board, though sources say at least three additional attendees had taken the trip.
Voting continues in the Montana special election until Thursday, May 22.
Quist's poem, transcribed by the Free Beacon, can be read below:
She's been called a lady when they sing her prayers,
And if you fail to see the logic, well then, let me count the ways.
Her cirrus hair is red and gold at evening sunset's light,
And I've always thought her mountains looked…especially good in white
Her gown is luscious green when she attends the annual springtime ball,
And she fancies orange and gold at harvest moon in the fall.
Her wild and natural beauty, it will take away your breath.
Oh, but, just take her for granted, it could easily mean your death.
She's slow to grant her favors to come-lately newer faces,
To long-time suitors, she reveals her hidden…secret places.
She lives in big-time splendor, she's the heart of the golden west,
And all manner of wondrous creatures live that suckled her breasts.
And yes, there will be those who come with schemes of ways to use her,
To sell her body like a harlot, to cheapen and abuse her.
If you've sworn your love for her, revere, and respect her,
If you're a man of honor, you must cherish, and protect her
And should we fail in this task, we'll lose this living treasure
Should we prevail, this lady that we love will live forever.
The Quist campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Published under: Rob Quist