The SDWC Update to the state of the political races for February 2017

What a difference a couple of months make!   Things continue to shift and swirl in the background of South Dakota’s political scene as campaigns begin to roll out. And they’re affecting the landscape of the 2018 Statewide races.

After being quiet for some time, Lt. Governor Matt Michels signaled that the door to a Gubernatorial campaign might not be shut, and that he would make a decision after the legislative session. Instead of pushing forward for Congress, Shantel Krebs seems to have shifted gears, and has been moving closer to the Jackley gubernatorial effort, possibly for a Lt. position.

But, don’t let me spoil it, you can read it here:

Chamber of Commerce members embrace Jackley, Noem as their choice for Gov

Marty Jackley & Kristi Noem are the favorite Republicans, and Billie Sutton seems to be the favored Democrat. At least among the 72 Chamber members gathered in Pierre yesterday noting their preference for Governor.

Displayed above is a picture of the poll results taken at the annual South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry Business Day a the Legislature yesterday.

Only Chamber members present could vote in this unscientific plebiscite, where they favored Attorney General Marty Jackley, followed by Congresswoman Kristi Noem. Billie Sutton was the favorite Democrat, tying Lt. Governor Matt Michels’ popularity among the group. They had troubles spelling Brendan Johnson’s name correctly, which might explain why he came in at 6%.

Bonus! – Here’s last year’s screenshot from the 2016 dinner.

Interesting, as it seems that among the group, Kristi picked up the lion’s share of the Mickelson & Michels supporters who moved away, picking up 19% from last year’s 5% to this year’s 24%, with Marty’s support among this crowd nudging up by 12% from last year.

Only15 months left to go….

Herseth Sandlin declares she is “done seeking political office.”

Now that wasn’t something expected as part of the Herseth Sandlin announcement. In an interview with the Argus today, former Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin declared that she is forever done seeking political office:

As former Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin steps into her new role as Augustana University president, she says goodbye to her political career.

“I am done seeking political office,” Herseth Sandlin told Argus Leader Media following a press conference Thursday morning.

It hasn’t been easy explaining to her supporters that she’s not looking to get back into public service, she said, but the 46-year-old Houghton native views her new position as a “true calling.”

Read it here.

Declaring she’s done with office is a little hard to believe, since her political facebook page is still up, but still, declaring that she is done seeking political office is a hard statement to walk back, especially in light of the fact that she’d need to start campaigning for the Rounds’ Senate seat as early as next year if she were to change her mind.

With Herseth Sandlin taking herself off of the chess board, Huether having had abandoned he Democrat ship, and Brendan Johnson focusing on work, it’s looking bleaker and bleaker for state dems.

Democrats face the prospect of moving into the wide open 2018 election cycle with both open Gubernatorial and Congressional contests but no prospects to fill the gaping void. (Or open wound at this point for Dems).

AG Jackley Applauds Federal Withdrawal of Bathroom and Locker Room Mandate

AG Jackley Applauds Federal Withdrawal of Bathroom and Locker Room Mandate

PIERRE, S.D. Attorney General Marty Jackley confirms that the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice have withdrawn their directive to school districts that threatened both civil rights litigation and the withholding of educational funds to the  States.

In June 2016, Attorney General Jackley joined 23 other State Attorneys General and Governors to successfully challenge the federal government’s authority to mandate a federal bathroom and locker room policy for school children that threatened lawsuits and the withholding of educational  funds.

“As Attorney General it was and remains my hope that our country and state can find    a solution to the transgender concerns without forcing children of the opposite sex into the same bathrooms and locker rooms. The federal government’s attempt to require children of opposite sex to share locker rooms and bathrooms under the threat of   lawsuit and withholding of education funding was not the right solution and went beyond its constitutional authority. I am pleased that the federal government will not continue working to withhold educational funding or be filing lawsuit against schools,” said Jackley.

South Dakota had previously joined 24 other states in parallel lawsuits filed in Texas and Nebraska against the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice. The challenge was initiated by a letter threatening states with loss of all educational funding under Title IX unless every public school in the country allowed students to select restrooms, showers and dormitories based on their expressed     gender identity. A court recently entered a nationwide preliminary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of the letter, and withholding of education funding, which applies nationally.




Pierre, SD – Jason Ravnsborg of Yankton, South Dakota, declared his intention to seek the Republican nomination for Attorney General of South Dakota at the Hughes County Lincoln Day Dinner Tuesday night.

Jason is a graduate of the University of South Dakota School of Law, where he was also an editor on Law Review, before serving as a law clerk. Today he is a partner in the law firm of Harmelink, Fox & Ravnsborg in Yankton, as well as a Deputy State’s Attorney in Union County. He has handled a wide variety of cases and has won jury and court trials in multiple counties and states.

Jason lead the effort to defeat Amendment T and was equally instrumental in the defeats of Amendment V and Initiated Measure 23, logging hundreds of miles across the state and conducting over fifty presentations on the various ballot issues to interested voters statewide. Additionally he has advised many legislators regarding Initiated Measure 22.

Jason has always been a leader in his endeavors, from the courtroom, to running his office, to his military career. Jason is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army Reserves. He was recently selected to take command of the 394th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (CSSB), he assumes that command in April 2017. Jason has had four company commands, each consisting of approximately 180 soldiers, including three deployments to Germany (2003), Iraq (2004-5), and Afghanistan (2009-10). Jason’s leadership, courage, and dedication to duty have earned him the Bronze Star as well as being honored and recognized before Congress.

Jason seeks to earn the support of the people of South Dakota and state, “Let’s Make South Dakota Safe Together!”


Herseth preparing to jump from Raven to Augustana?

From today’s Argus Leader:

Former Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is reportedly in the running to be the next president of Augustana University.

Herseth Sandlin, 46, has been with Raven Industries since 2012, and currently serves as the company’s general counsel and vice president.


Augustana University would give the Georgetown Law School graduate a prominent position both in the business community of Sioux Falls and the academic community. Just the sort of role that would suit somebody who wanted to take a run at the Senate seat held by Sen. Mike Rounds in 2020.

Read it here.

The word I’m hearing is that this deal may be all done except for the announcement.

As noted, it comes at a time when Herseth may be looking to raise her profile in preparation for a run for US Senate against Senator Mike Rounds.

Press Release: Club for Growth to run ad urging Kristi Noem to oppose Border Adjustment Tax

The Club for Growth group announced today that starting today, they’re running a $150,000 ad buy urging Congresswoman Kristi Noem to oppose the Border Adjustment Tax being proposed in Congress:

Club for Growth Launches TV Ad Urging Rep. Kristi Noem to Oppose Border Adjustment Tax

“Congresswoman Noem’s constituents need to know if she will fight for them and oppose the BAT.”

Washington, DC – Club for Growth president David McIntosh released the following statement about a new Club for Growth TV and digital ad campaign that urges Congresswoman Kristi Noem (SD-AL) to oppose the Border Adjustment provision in the tax reform proposal put forth by House Republicans:

“The Border Adjustment Tax will drive up prices on everyday consumer goods like groceries, gas, clothes and shoes,” said Club for Growth president David McIntosh. “House Republicans have offered good tax reform proposals, like lowering rates, repealing the Death Tax, and cleaning up the tax code, but the Border Adjustment Tax will hurt American families. Congresswoman Noem has a key position in Congress on tax policy and her constituents need to know if she will fight for them and oppose the BAT.”

The Club’s new ad can be seen here and will begin broadcasting statewide in South Dakota on February 22, with an ad buy of more than $150,000 for TV and digital outlets.

It is expected to be the first of a series of ads that the Club for Growth will air on the BAT tax in states and districts across the country.

Here’s a story that further explains the Club’s opposition to the BAT: