The Republican primaries are over, and this weekend, we move into what may be one of the most low-key State Republican Conventions that we’ve seen in recent years. Devoid of controversy and races with competition, more action may potentially be in committee, with the highest level of politicking saved for candidates as they jockey for 2018.
South Dakota National Committeewoman Sandye Kading is expected to be re-elected in an uncontested contest, and while National Committeeman Dana Randall is stepping back from his duties, leaving an open seat for his position, only outgoing State Senator Ried Holien has expressed an interest in running, which may leave that office uncontested as well.
The Republican and Democrat party conventions this year will also have the responsibility of nominating their respective choices for the Public Utilities Commission to appear on the fall ballot.
Current Republican PUC Commissioner Chris Nelson is running, although Thomas Bixler of Yankton, who has unsuccessfully ran twice for the legislature in Yankton sent an e-mail trying to delegates via the internet to nominate him in absentia. Similar efforts in the past have traditionally fallen short.
Nelson will win his convention contest unopposed when it comes down to the actual delegate vote, and will handily dispatch whatever sacrificial lamb Democrats talk into running when they recruit someone to “take one for the team,” as Jay Williams is doing in the US Senate Race, and Paula Hawks is doing in the Congressional contest for the Democrats.
If there are any fireworks likely to occur, it may be in the Resolutions and Platform Committees which both meet Friday Morning. According to a postcard sent out by the SDGOP this week:
The Resolutions Committee is meeting at 1pm on Friday, and is still accepting proposed resolutions through Noon via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Similarly, the Platform committee is meeting at 10am, but will be accepting platform amendments through noon. Those can be mailed to the committee at email@example.com.
The last convention in Rapid City enacted a controversial resolution from the floor that garnered national attention when it demanded President Obama’s impeachment for the trading of prisoners for Bowe Bergdahl:
The resolution says Obama has “violated his oath of office in numerous ways.” It specifically cites the release of five Taliban combatants in a trade for captive U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, Obama’s statement that people could keep insurance companies, and recent EPA regulations on power plants.
“Therefore, be it resolved that the South Dakota Republican Party calls on our U.S. Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States,” the resolution reads.
Depending on the makeup and temperament of the delegates in attendance, we may see a bomb-throwing resolution or two, but, it’s par for the course, just like when Democrats passed one declaring themselves apologists for President Obama after the Republican one.
But, don’t take this as a hint that the entire affair is going to be low-key, due to the lack of contested races at conventions and elsewhere.
Watch for the serious politicking to take place in the hospitality suites and elsewhere as candidates appear and start their jockeying for Governor and other offices in 2018. Marty Jackley and Mark Mickelson are expected to loom large, as well any number of others who are considered to be in the hunt.
Congresswoman Kristi Noem is always a presence at convention, and if she didn’t have that speed bump (Paula Hawks) in her run to another term, I’m sure she’s be talking more about 2018 as well.
And if (when) Noem does make the jump for Governor, that opens up a whole beachhead as every young candidate worth their salt (or who believes they can run at that level) will throw their hat in the ring.
We might see a few making noise already for constitutional offices in 2018, Jason Ravnsborg is mentioned as a 2-18 AG hopeful, as are Brian Gosch, Tom Wollman, and others. Trust me – there will be a lot of chatter about it in the hospitality rooms.
Tired of 2016 already? 2018 will be on display a-plenty this weekend! If the GOP Convention is not on your calendar, it should be. I’ve got my room lined up, and my charging cords packed up for the biggest political event of the season.
See you there!