In 1993, a few people within the Republican Party approached Gary Revier about the possibility of him running for the Second District Congressional seat.
By March 1994, Revier had opted to run and formally announced his decision that month, but he admits today he had no idea what was in store for him over the next months.
Considered a long shot going into the district convention, Revier, who ran against two known personalities in the district, Scott Fischbach and Tom Work-man, knew he had to do well in a scheduled debate and when he addressed convention delegates.
“I did well in the debate, and afterwards our hospitality room was packed,” said Revier.
After the first ballot was cast, Revier was in the lead, and by the third time delegates had cast their votes, he had the 60 percent required to be the official candidate.
Revier recalled one interesting task he had to accomplish during the district convention.
“I had to recite the 10 Commandments,” he said. “I was the only one of the three who got them all right.”
Coming out of the convention, Revier was riding the wave of mom-entum, and leadership within the party began to take notice.
In fact, when polls showed Revier actually had a chance to win the state and national leadership got involved.
“They really took over the campaign,” said Revier, adding a campaign manager came in to run his offices in Redwood Falls and Shakopee.
Running the show was an understatement, as Revier said he would get a daily schedule that not only included where he would go every day but the kinds of things he was allowed to say and what he should wear.
“About 80 percent of the time I was trying to raise money,” Revier said, admitting that was the part of the campaign he enjoyed the least. “There was just never enough money.”
Revier added he felt sorry for the other candidates the party was not backing as much, because when fundraisers were held they got little if any of the funds raised. Revier said he felt his life was out of control, adding during one stop a member of the press asked him what he thought about social security. He went off message to answer the question, and when he got back to the office his campaign manager met him in the parking lot. (Let’s just say that was not a cordial encounter.)
“When you start a race like this you are entering a whole different world,” Revier explained, adding it opened up the eyes of a southwest Minnesota native. “It really is a dog-eat-dog world.”
Page 2 of 2 - The opponents campaign sent researchers out to find whatever they could from Revier’s background, and that became the source of TV ads some may remember.
“They called me Pinocchio,” Revier said, adding in the commercials his nose would grow. “What they were saying was wrong, and I confronted David (Minge, his opponent) about it.”
Revier said Minge told him he had no knowledge of the ad, and Revier said he believed him. After all, there were times when people representing his campaign did things he did not know about, such as when they went to an awards program for Minge’s wife and held up Revier signs.
Revier recalled the final days of the campaign when one was constantly on the road and on the phone trying to rally the party faithful.
In the end Revier lost by a two-point swing, but said he really was not all that disappointed. After all, he realized during the campaign how much he had to sell his soul to get where he wanted to be.
Revier said the two Congressional races he ran were a great learning experience for him, adding he is proud to see people like his son John and Erik Paulsen who worked on his campaign seeing success in the political realm.
Revier said even though it was a good experience, if he had the chance knowing what he knows now he would not do it again.