Three months ago, I pulled out my political crystal ball based on what was happening at the time, as well as rumors, and came up with a chart of how I believed the landscape would be looking in 2018.
Three months later, I’m hearing things, I’m seeing things, and it’s as good a time to update the chart, as well as expand it, Because you can’t look at one part of the landscape without looking at another.
As noted last time in the Governor’s race,
There is absolutely no doubt that Attorney General Marty Jackley and incomingHouse Speaker Mark Mickelson are firmly in the race. And except for the fact thatCongresswoman Noem has to dispatch
sacrificial lambPaula Hawks, I’d say that she would be a sure thing.
But instead, we need to wait for December or so for confirmation.
From there, it gets a lot murkier. Lt Governor Matt Michels does his job quietly, but being at the podium this past weekend at the GOP convention, Matt showed us that we should not forget about him as time goes by.
Michels might be less likely than Noem to run, but as a familiar face to politicos and donors, he’s got a lot more game than many people might think, with extensive connections to this state’s healthcare and legal industries. In other words, he has resources people might not credit him for. And he’s an exceedingly approachable and friendly guy.
What has changed in the past three months? I’ve been hearing rumors lately of Secretary of State Shantel Krebs not so much looking at Governor, but preparing to follow in Kristi Noem’s footsteps, should Noem make the leap. The word on the street – and don’t give them anymore credence than rumor at this point – is that she’s out talking to people, potentially about fundraising & support for a run.
That warrants renewed attention, and if true, gives a bit of a signal that there might be something to the rumors of her being in the initial planning stages. Krebs had been looking at Congress before Noem jumped into the race, way back when, so there is precedent for her interest.
And if we’re speculating on the Congressional seat being open, that brings in a couple of gentlemen who have long said to be interested in the spot who had previously been in the service of the Governor; former PUC Commissioner Dusty Johnson, and former attorney for the Governor Jim Seward.
I have heard a tidbit or two about Dusty and Congress. There’s talk.
Dusty would be an intriguing entry into the contest, as he has ballot experience, and is universally well-liked, even among many Democrats. Oh, and there is that army of minions who he’s brought up since near-infancy called TAR’s. Seriously, Dusty participated in TAR’s with, or has mentored nearly a generation of young Republicans, whether they remained active in politics, or not.
If he jumps in, I think you’ll see a wave of youthful enthusiasm in the contest that eclipses his opponents. One might even consider it akin to what we saw when John Thune ran against Lt. Governor Carole Hillard for Congress. Even if I told them I was being neutral, and to stay out of it, I don’t think I could hold back my girls, nor my son from wanting to walk in parades and go to work.
There’s a lot of respect, and loyalty from many of those kids. And they would be ready to work.
Jim Seward would be an interesting candidate in the race as well. With his military background, as well as his long carrying water for the GOP, he would appear to the West River crowd and offer them an alternative to what some may view as “establishment candidates,” whether a correct assumption or not. Much would depend on the kind of campaign Jim would be able to put together.
Given recent history, I think you’d also see at least two others jump into the race if the leading candidates aren’t able to raise enough money to scare them away. I think you’d see a random legislator jump in, as well as the inevitable “I’m more conservative than all of them” tea party offering.
It could be a long a bruising primary for all of them, which isn’t a bad thing, as they’re going to have to have their “A” game ready for the Democrat after June. I suspect if the seat is vacant, they’ll be facing none other than former US Attorney Brendan Johnson.
Given that Brendan literally comprises the entirety of the Democrat’s bench, it’s going to be a donnybrook of a battle, and both sides will have significant enthusiasm.
And that’s all I’m seeing in the swirling mists of my crystal ball at the moment. Any thoughts, comments, or notes from the field that I’m not hearing?