Democrat Rob Quist is currently facing off against Republican Greg Gianfonte — who was accused of assaulting a reporter Wednesday night — for Montana’s House seat, but the 69-year-old doesn’t only deal in politics. Quist is also a banjo-toting folk musician who co-founded the Mission Mountain Wood Band in college and went on to tour with the group for 12 years, according to the bio on his campaign page.
Although the Mission Mountain Wood Band broke up in 1981, Quist formed the Montana Band with fellow MMWB members Bruce Robinson and Kurt Bergeron soon after. In more recent years, though, he’s focused on his solo career, releasing two albums in 2016 — Living Wild and Free and Honor Bound — and one in 2015, Songs From Western Harmony.
Just a few months ago, Quist showed off his musical skills when he stopped by the KGVO studio and played his campaign song, “I Will Stand Up For You.” The gentle, country-tinged ballad includes lyrics like, “You are not alone / I want you to know / This world wouldn’t be the same without you” and “If you stand with me / I will stand up for you.”
The song echoes his political platform, which is centered on opportunities for all. Perhaps most notably, he’s publicly opposed President Donald Trump’s proposed health care bill, calling it a “disaster for our state” in a video message posted Wednesday.
Quist has also been backed by former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
“When Rob began his campaign, a lot of people would say, ‘He’s an interesting guy, he can play the guitar, he can sing, he’s a poet,'” Sanders said at a rally for Quist earlier this week. “‘Wow, that’s really cool. But he’s not serious. He can’t really win this election.’ Well, guess what? Just came back from Washington Thursday. You have gotten the Republican leadership very, very nervous. Because they know that Rob’s campaign has been a great campaign and that he is on the verge of pulling off a major, major upset.”
Thursday’s special election will determine if that’s true. Hear both Quist’s campaign song and solo track “Back in Harmony” above.