There is no object so large but that at a great distance from the eye it does not appear smaller than a smaller object near. (Leonardo da Vinci)

The GOP race is deadlocked nationally between Trump, Rubio & Cruz but things may change significantly after New Hampshire and when the field narrows.  And, because we sometimes look only at the “present” as reality, we lose track of the “future” realities.  Because there are high expectations the field will narrow to three candidates after New Hampshire (maybe four if Kasich, Bush or Christie exceed expectations), I thought I’d give some analysis of what it might look like when the field is smaller.

Most of the information below came from the most recent PPD poll. The reason I’m using the PPD poll is it provides information heretofore not available (second choice by candidate). I know it is a firm principally used by Democrats. However, when I tested this analysis against some other polls, the results were reinforced.

Horse Race: Trump (25%), Rubio (21%), Cruz (21%), Carson (11%) and everyone else is 5% or lower.

Computation Methodology:  Basically, I added to candidate’s support totals specific second choice votes as a candidate “dropped out.”  For instance, of the 5% of voters who support Bush, 15% of them picked Carson as their second choice.  Thus, I added .75% more to Carson from Bush.  This is referred to below as the “first allocation.”

Then, when Carson dropped out, of the 11% of voters who support Carson (plus the 2% he picked up as second choice which is referred to below as the “second allocation”) was allocated ultimately to a remaining candidate in the proportion that his supporters had other candidates as second choice.  For instance, 25% of Carson’s supporters had Cruz as a second choice so I added 3.25% to Cruz with the dropping out of Carson (FYI:  Cruz picks up support mostly from Carson supporters which maybe explains why the Cruz campaign floated the rumor Carson was dropping out).

Presuming this is a three person race (Trump, Rubio, Cruz), the race looks this way after the first allocation of the second choice votes: Rubio (26.21%), and Cruz (25.67%), Trump (25.31%).

Then, after the second allocation of second place votes (which is really making an assumption of 3rd choice votes), the race looks like this: Rubio (31.42%), Cruz (31.25%), Trump (28.56) with undecided at 8.77%

However, when the voters were asked the question direct in the poll, it is Rubio (34%), Trump (33%), and Cruz (25%) with 8% undecided.  Conclusion: While Rubio is the second choice of 22%, Cruz 20% and Trump only 7%, what you see is that 13% go to Rubio (vs. 10% in my computation), 8% to Trump (vs. 3.56%) and 4% to Cruz (vs. 10.25%).  What this tells us is Cruz is the third choice of very few voters.

Doing the same methodology, in a two person race between Trump and Cruz translates as follows: Cruz (33.23%) and Trump (28.41%) before the second allocation. Because Cruz mathematically picks up votes 4:1 to Trump, the race is Cruz (54.55%) beats Trump (33.87%) with 11.5% undecided.

However, when voters are asked this question, Cruz (47%) is ahead of Trump (41%), 14% go to Cruz (vs. 21% in my computation) and 13% (vs. 5%) to Trump. What this tells us is that while Trump is the 2nd choice of very few voters, he is the third choice vs Cruz of most of the voters when Rubio and the others are gone. Again, Cruz is showing little appeal beyond those who already support him.

As above, Rubio vs. Trump translates very close to Cruz/Trump: Rubio (32.51%) and Trump (29.67%. Because Rubio picks up votes at less than a 3:1 ratio, the race is Rubio (52.4%) and Trump (37.89%) with 11.71% undecided.

While my computation captures the movement to Rubio when voter’s are asked the head-to-head question, Rubio (52%) leads Trump (40%) a bit less. From the current large field when it drops down to a two person race, Rubio picks up 31% vs. 15% for Trump. What this tells us is Cruz’ supporters go almost 3:1 to Rubio vs. Trump. Like Cruz is showing us, Trump too has a ceiling but not as low as that of Cruz. And, Trump is showing himself to be a third choice at a higher level than he is a second choice.

And finally, the race between Rubio and Cruz: Cruz (32.92%) and Rubio (29.71%) before the second allocation. After that allocation, it is Cruz (46.07%), Rubio 39.91% with 14.02% undecided.

However, when the voters are asked this question the results are virtually switched with Rubio (46%) leading Cruz (40%). This again confirms that Cruz has his 21%, is second choice 20% of the remaining 79% but is the third choice of very few not matter what.  What is surprising about this is that while he has a good Favorable/Unfavorable ratio, it doesn’t translate into secondary and tertiary support.  It might be a combination of his fealty to the “very conservative lane” and a personality problem that doesn’t connect with people who don’t agree with him on everything.  I just know that by the end of his 33 minute “Iowa victory speech” I was having trouble listening to the specifics of his words because his nasally voice came across as a long whine.

So, why did I do the math when I just had to look at the poll?

  1. Better discern where the heads of the 33% of the party currently not supporting the top three. They prefer Rubio over both Cruz and Trump by a large margin. And, they prefer Cruz over Trump by a significant margin. But that is today. There is still a lot of campaign for things to change.
  2. Assuming the campaigns are seeing the same thing, I wanted insight in what to expect strategically going forward. Rubio and Cruz gain more by driving the other out vs. concentrating on Trump while Trump needs Rubio and Cruz to eat each other but not so much one drops out. I expect the gunfight to be between Rubio and Cruz and Trump becomes an observer (hard for him to do, I’m sure).
  3. And, #2 also helps Trumps biggest problem: He does worst in head-to-heads with either Democrat. He has no chance to be President unless his Favorable/Unfavorable ratio changes and he becomes more acceptable to Independents and Democrats.

A couple of comments:

  1. This is math. Voters don’t move this way and the margin of error increases as we go down the line in allocations. The direct question asked in the poll is more reliable with regard to where people are today but my math (by missing the answer in the direct question) gives a lot of insight in what might happen when the field narrows and the why.
  2. This is as of now and it is just one poll.
  3. 50% of the respondents said they were open to changing their mind.
  4. It appears that Trump’s core supporters are the highest, Cruz’ second and Rubio’s third.


  1. Unless Cruz starts to expand his base, he needs EVERYONE to stay in the race to get the nomination.  Cruz’ campaign strategy has been centered on two basic principles:  He needs to win the “conservative lane” and either attract some of Trump’s “anti-establishment lane” or knock Trump out.  What this might be telling us is by focusing on a “lane” Cruz has created a hard ceiling for himself as the field narrows.
  2. Trump is best served by a three person race.  This makes sense as Trump’s strategy appears to very “populist” in tone which transcends strict policy ideologies (very conservative, conservative or moderate) in the party.  But it too has a ceiling.
  3. Rubio is best served by a two person race.  I guess that conforms to conventional wisdom that except for Cruz and Trump, all of the other candidates (except for Libertarian Rand Paul) were perceived as not that very different with regard to tone or policy- traditional conservative Republicans.  I never really bought into the conventional wisdom but maybe should have.  I originally thought the race was going to come down to a two or three person race with someone coming out of the “Governor lane” (Walker, Bush, Kasich, Perry, Christie, Huckabee, Jindal), “Senator lane” (Rubio, Cruz, Paul, Santorum, Graham) and “Outsider lane” (Trump, Fiorina, Carson).

P.S.  I do have a draft of a post on New Hampshire predictions but I’m waiting to see the last polls and developments.  While reserving the right to change my mind, I am predicting NH will finish in this order:  Trump, Rubio, Cruz and someone in distant fourth (maybe a surprise).

SDWC Exclusive: House GOP to release their own education funding proposal, with no new taxes.


My spies have been working overtime. Because they just passed me a big scoop.

GOP Leadership in the House apparently released two proposals last night to the Republican caucus to increase teacher pay without a tax increase.

Plan A consists of amendments to the Governor’s bill. Plan A consists of a 3 year phase-in with the target additions to education funding being $30 million the 1st year, $20 million the 2nd and $20 million the 3rd. They would identify $30 Million from the General Bill + $19 Million per Blue Ribbon Task Force

House Majority Leader Brian Gosch

House Majority Leader Brian Gosch

(SB131), moving the Pension Fund into General Fund. This version would maintain Capital Outlay flexibility at 20%

Plan B would be an amendment to SB 131. There would be a 3 Year roll out with target amounts the same as Plan A. Taking .5 of the Capital Outlay mil levy, shifting it to the General Fund, Getting a total of $35 mil General Fund Dollars, and they would eliminate flexibility within Capital Outlay, and adding $19mil per the Blue Ribbon Task Force (SB131), moving the Pension Fund into the General Fund.

Apparently, moving the pension fund into the general fund adds a total of $35 mil General Fund Dollars. And there are amendments to SB 131 that they plan.

I’m sure that a few details are getting missed as the information is passed to me by my sources. But, the big takeaway is that the House believes they can increase education funding with no new taxes, which had previously been thought of as impossible.

I’m told they hope to generate support for these plans early next week, since during that time the House will be voting on HB 1182, which is the Governor’s plan to increase taxes for the purpose of putting new dollars into education and property tax relief.

ASBSD reminds people that SD School boards are united behind Daugaard education plan

ASBSD and school board members across the state support and continue to advocate in favor of Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s proposed half cent sales tax increase, as noted in this release yesterday from the Associated School Boards group.

“Our school board members are committed to supporting the half cent sales tax increase that will help them recruit and retain our teachers,” ASBSD President Eric Stroeder said. “The bill not only helps public schools, but benefits our local tax payers, who have seen an increased funding burden placed on them.”

The recently introduced House Bill 1182 proposes the half cent increase to the state’s sales tax, which hasn’t been permanently raised since 1969. In addition, the bill will reduce property taxes across all classes of property by 12 percent with agricultural levy tax payers seeing a tax decrease of $7 million, owner-occupied tax payers saving $13.9 million and commercial tax payers recovering $19.1 million.

The half cent sales tax increase would commit more than $60 million in new funding for public schools to distribute to teachers and staff for the upcoming school year and would establish the new, ongoing revenue source our schools desperately need to quell the state’s teacher shortage.

Data from schools and the Blue Ribbon Task Force have illustrated how shallow the state’s teacher pool has become and with no practical alternative funding plan presented, the passage of House Bill 1182 is vital.

“There is no viable second option for improving teacher pay in our state or funding our public education system at the level needed,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany said.

“School board members and community leaders must let our legislators know that our public schools need this new, ongoing revenue source to recruit and retain our teachers and maintain South Dakota’s excellent public education system.”

Read it here.

This comes several weeks after an earlier notation of support for the Daugaard plan:

“Gov. Daugaard has listened to our pleas for help with the teacher shortage and, along with input from the education community through the work of the Blue Ribbon Task Force, developed a plan we believe will help us solve this growing problem,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany said.


The education community stands on a united front in support of Gov. Daugaard’s proposal as ASBSD, School Administrators of South Dakota (SASD), South Dakota Education Association (SDEA), the Large School Group and the South Dakota United School Association all endorsed the plan.

Read that here.

Take specific note of the language that the ASBSD uses – “No Viable Second Option,” as it coincidentally comes at the same time that South Dakota Democrats release their plan, Senate Bill 151.

Considering the timing, I suspect they knew exactly what they were doing when they made that statement.

Councilman fakes attack on himself, invoking his disabled child.

Looks like being an utter douche bag apparently stops short of criminal activity in Hartford, South Dakota tonight, according to KDLT news. The city councilman who forged a letter faking an attack on himself managed to dodge a bullet when the States Attorney declined to prosecute him for falsifying an item placed in the public record:

Johnson originally denied changing the email, but at last night’s city council meeting, a confession and apology letter from Doyle Johnson was read aloud.

The letter states that the email he read during the Dec. 1 meeting “was authored by myself, under the guise of a fake email. I regret the negative impact upon the city and the council itself, and I have fully accepted the consequences of my actions.” 

“The disappointing part of that [letter] was that it wasn’t an apology to “Growing Hartford” or an apology to any business owners in Hartford who were specifically mentioned in the original email,” says Kuehl.

Johnson’s forged email involved insensitive language toward his special needs son, and wished that Johnson would “choke on a turkey bone.” 

“The email was extremely disturbing, extremely offensive,” says Kuehl. “Then when it came to light that it was drafted by Mr. Johnson, it was even more disturbing. It was a sad day for the city of Hartford.” 

Read it here.

And more of the story comes out. And it just looks worse and worse.

To make a local community group look bad, this guy falsified a letter making it look like the group was not just attacking him, but invoking his son with special needs in the disparaging letter he falsified? Wow.  And the best he could manage was a “non-apology?” Again, wow.

The best part? According to a blurb at the end of the story, he’s a teacher, in the classroom, influencing kids.  

Good god, I’m not sure what’s worse. His having been on the Hartford city council, or his being in a classroom full of kids. 

They got rid of him on one. They would do well to take a strong look at the other.

Press Release: AFP Applauds Medicaid Accountability Bill


AFP Applauds Medicaid Accountability Bill
Encourages Passage of Bill Introduced Today Requiring the Express Approval of the Legislature Before Changing Medicaid Program

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Americans for Prosperity today is applauding the introduction of H.B. 1234 by Representatives Haggar (Don), Anderson, Bolin, Gosch, Heinemann (Leslie), Hunt, Langer, Qualm, Stevens, Westra, and Wollmann and Senators Holien, Ewing, Haggar (Jenna), Heineman (Phyllis), and Otten (Ernie).

The bill would require that any attempt to expand or change South Dakota’s Medicaid program receive a full and separate up-or-down vote by the legislature. Americans for Prosperity South Dakota State Director Ben Lee offered the following statement:

“Medicaid Expansion under Obamacare bears too many risks on our state taxpayers for it to be lumped in with funding for schools and roads.  We are thankful to see lawmakers introduce a bill that will help bring extra accountability to the debate. Other states who have tried these Obamacare Medicaid Expansion plans have been forced into tax hikes or massive budget cuts when costs and enrollment have surged far beyond the state’s wildest expectations. This bill will help raise the debate from the fog and ensure taxpayers know exactly where their legislators stand. We applaud them for their efforts and look forward to its swift passage by the state legislature.”

AFP South Dakota and its citizen volunteers across the state have been pressuring lawmakers for weeks through phone calls, emails, and radio ads to hold a clean vote on Medicaid Expansion, rather than including it as a part of the state’s 2016 budget.

Legislators – the few, the elite, and apparently, the only ones qualified.

From the legislature comes twin measures in both the House (Sponsored by Latterell) and the Senate (Sponsored by Greenfield) to amend the state constitution to strip the Governor of the ability to choose a temporary replacement for an open US Senate Seat, and hand it off to the legislature, to be picked from their own:


Introduced by:    Representatives Latterell, Bolin, Campbell, Craig, DiSanto, Greenfield (Lana), Marty, May, McCleerey, Qualm, Schoenbeck, Stalzer, Verchio, Wiik, and Zikmund and Senators Jensen (Phil) and Olson

A JOINT RESOLUTION, Proposing and submitting to the electors at the next general election an amendment to Article IV, section 3 of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, relating to the powers and duties of the Governor.
Section 1. That at the next general election held in the state, the following amendment to Article IV, section 3 of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, as set forth in section 2 of this Joint Resolution, which is hereby agreed to, shall be submitted to the electors of the state for approval.
Section 2. That Article IV, section 3 of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, be amended to read as follows:
§ 3. The Governor shall be responsible for the faithful execution of the law. He may, by appropriate action or proceeding brought in the name of the state, enforce compliance with any constitutional or legislative mandate, or restrain violation of any constitutional or legislative power, duty or right by any officer, department or agency of the state or any of its civil divisions. This authority shall not authorize any action or proceedings against the Legislature.


The Governor may convene the Legislature or either house thereof alone in special session by a proclamation stating the purposes of the session, and only business encompassed by such purposes shall be transacted. Whenever a vacancy occurs in the representation of South Dakota in the United States Senate, the Governor shall convene a special session of the entire Legislature. The Legislature shall, by process of voting, fill the vacancy from among the duly elected Legislators.

The Senate version uses the following language, which basically says the same thing:

    If a vacancy occurs in an office of United States senator for the state, the Governor shall convene a special session of the Legislature. The Legislature shall vote to fill the vacancy from among the current members of the Legislature, to hold office until the next election.

Are they kidding?

So, not only do they want to change the existing process that has been in place for quite a few years, they want it to be a legislative popularity contest?  What if there’s nobody good to pick from?

I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me, but this comes of as legislative elitism, and limits the universe of possible appointees. No one has been asking for a change, so why would we even consider it?

Pot bill submitted in the Senate. Sort of.

A measure to legalize pot for medical purposes has been introduced in the State Senate, and I’m not thinking the sponsors put a lot of time into this:


Introduced by: Senators Buhl O’Donnell and Rampelberg and Representative Bordeaux

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to permit the compassionate use of medical cannabis.
Section 1. That the code be amended by adding a NEW SECTION to read:

The compassionate use of medical cannabis is permitted and the use shall be regulated.

Yeah…. I can’t wait to see them explain how they’re going to codify this.

I suspect it’s a placeholder bill, awaiting extensive amending. And from there we can see how silly it’s going to get.

Attorney General Marty Jackley Proposes Aggravated Vehicular Battery for South Dakota

jackleyheader2 Marty JackleyAttorney General Marty Jackley
Proposes Aggravated Vehicular Battery
for South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D. – In South Dakota, we average about a half dozen tragic vehicular homicides every year because of impaired driving.

“It is time to make South Dakota streets safer and to hold those that take innocent life by their drunken actions more accountable. I commend the Governor, our States Attorneys and Legislators for working with me toward implementing an aggravated vehicular homicide law to protect South Dakota,” said Jackley.

Under South Dakota’s current law, the maximum penalty for vehicular homicide is fifteen years of which a defendant may only have to serve 30% because vehicular homicide is not currently designated as a violent crime.  In order to both deter dangerous drunken driving and to hold offenders accountable for their actions, the Attorney General is proposing an aggravated vehicular homicide law to address the most serious offenders.  South Dakota’s existing manslaughter statute and vehicular homicide law would remain in effect.   The new aggravated vehicular homicide law is aimed to provide both an enhanced maximum penalty of up to 25 years and a violent crime designation for an increased parole designation of 50%. It is aimed at capturing the following three categories of homicide offenders:

  1. Persons with repeat DUIs of two or more convictions now entering the felony stage;
  2. Persons previously convicted of vehicular homicide or vehicular battery; or
  3. Persons that are at a high BAC of .17% or greater.

The Attorney General’s proposed legislation as an amendment to SB44. The proposed amendment is anticipated to be heard on February 18 at 8:00 a.m. in Senate Judiciary.