A growing divide in the SDDP

David Montgomerey’s recent post on Mount Blogmore goes a long way in highlighting the different positions on issues that have plagued the South Dakota Democratic Party’s statewide candidates for the last several years. The story also indicates Jeff Barth might be willing to drive a wedge even deeper into the Democratic party by taking on Matt Varilek, the establishment’s chosen one.

?I?ve campaigned across the state with Matt Varilek,? Barth said. ?I talk about issues like Medicare and Medicaid and the Ryan budget. Matt generally regurgitates Sen. Daschle?s endorsement letter.?

Barth is also finding energy and support from the base for his support for gay marriage.

Some Democrats have been outspokenly critical of Varilek for this position, and Barth says he?s gotten more donations and support from people who like his position in favor of same-sex marriage.

The whole exchange seems to have reinvigorated Barth, who called the newsroom today, declared himself ?cranky? and proceeded to lay into Varilek in much harsher terms than I?ve seen so far in this largely civil and quiet Democratic primary.

Now your guess is as good as mine as to how many people care one way or the other about same sex marriage in SD… But I would assume Ben Nesselhuf had it right when he said it was a “peripheral issue.” The problem for Varilek and Nesselhuf is that it doesn’t appear to be a peripheral issue to an active segment of the Democratic base in SD.

Varilek might have some fence mending to do with the base if he is to win the nomination in June.

Varilek admitted he?s gotten some backlash from Democrats upset about his position on same-sex marriage.

?Some people are disappointed that I support civil unions and support letting churches and states define the term ?marriage,? in particular,? Varilek said. ?I?m talking to a lot of folks who feel that way, as well as folks who feel differently.?

Don’t worry Matt, just tell them you were endorsed by Daschle. Maybe they’ll get over it…

22 Replies to “A growing divide in the SDDP”

  1. caheidelberger

    Actually, “Bill Clay,” my guess is better than yours. In 2006, the same-sex marriage ban (Amendment C) passed by a 51.83% to 48.17% margin. 172,305 for, 160,152 against. I hear conservatives recognizing that government entanglement in marriage is a bad idea and that queality isn’t so bad. Now Tea Party rage against President Obama may cause some collateral damage, but I would guess that general trends over the last six years would flip that vote if it were brought to the polls today in South Dakota.

  2. 73*

    Barth might get some decent traction out of this issue.

    The base doesn’t think Varilek is going to defeat Noem so why not just get the old timer out there who really is aligned with the wingers on some issues.

  3. delegate

    I must admit that I expected Varilek to be 100% left. Like Cory runnign for congress or something. Way to show some guts!

  4. Winston

    The SD Democratic establishment gave us no candidate for the US Senate in 2010. The SD Democratic establishment gave us two ?Historic Republican? candidates as the Party?s gubernatorial ticket in 2010, and now the SD Democratic establishment is giving us a homophobic candidate for Congress, who is vague on issues, and runs a campaign with an air of entitlement as evident by Varilek?s constant reference to the fact that he has the endorsements of Daschle, Johnson, and McGovern.

    They say history repeats itself, hopefully so. In 2008, Daschle?s endorsement of Obama in the SD Democratic presidential primary was to no avail, Hillary won. Johnson?s hip attachment to the Heidepriem campaign in 2010 offered no greater success than a less funded and organized Billion gubernatorial candidacy received just four years before. McGovern changed his endorsement from Clinton to Obama in 2008, and hopefully he will change his endorsement from Varilek to Barth like so many Democrats in South Dakota are starting to do.

    Varilek is running a 70s/80s era candidacy, which will not work anymore. His cautious candidacy is doomed from the beginning. He cannot win on candidness nor compete with Noem?s ?Rock Star? image. Barth?s unconventional candidacy, straight forward on the issues, is the only chance Democrats have in defeating Noem in 2012.

    The Tea Party and the 99% Movement are political cousins who have more in common than they want to admit. The Koch brothers put aside for a moment, both movements are about average Americans who know the system no longer represents them nor protects them. The candidate who will resinate with a majority of South Dakotans in 2012 is the candidate who is honest and straight forward, not a candidate who offers a ?Canned? or ?Stock? candidacy from the yesterdays.

  5. Anonymous

    Did you eat paint chips as a kid?

    SHS lost in ’10 because of people like you cory. Now look at what is going on with the new primary. Varilek has taken the wrong position on gay marriage and keystone xl now you are going to wine about it all year.

  6. ymous

    I hope Varilek wins his primary. Because people like Steve H and Cory will stay home in November or vote none of the above. I give Steve H credit for being true to himself and not deathly loyal to the the democrats. Cory is just wrong as usual.

  7. Steve Hickey

    Verilek took a tough position. That’s very commendable. It had to be really hard. He obviously wants to get elected (and he can evolve later ;-). Hey it worked for Obama. Besides, those who are throwing a fit right now in the SDDP will only help Noem if they stay home. They will be voting for Verilek in November and Matt knows it. So does Ben.

    1. ymous

      Verilek did NOT take a togh position. It’s the same BS position Obama took and basically angers both sides. They calculated incorrectly. People want politican’s to take bold strong positions and not ride the fence. That is what took Daschle and Stephanie down. Take a position and defend it. He sounds alot like Deb Peters and Joni I want to be a Judge Cutler.

    2. mirror, mirror

      I hear that it was Verilek’s least favorite question of the election..

      funny how windVAIN politicians can relate to each other so well.

  8. Steve Hickey

    When you take a public stand against gay marriage you will understand what I mean by it not being easy – this is a hornets nest unlike any other. And it’s tough especially if a key guy like Hildebrand is on your team and your position means he’ll cut and run. Yet it is true with his view on civil unions his stance is very soft. Thus my inference that he has plenty of time and room to evolve.

    1. mirror, mirror

      sounds like that arrogant politician from dist 9, he evolves his positions over time and as the rino leadership whispers in his ambitious little ears..

  9. ymous

    I for one dont want my politicans to “evolve” with time and room. Hold your voted to people of conviction and integrity. We shoulod be demanding far more from our vote. They should say what they mean and mean what they say. IE Chris Christy. They days of testing the winds like Obama is what cost Daschle and Stephanie their jobs and hopefully Obama his.

  10. William

    How many Democrats are there in South Dakota any more?

    For the real “Left vs Right” action, it looks like all the folks are playing in the GOP.

    When one party has such a large majority in a state (almost by default, since the national DNC is alien to most of Middle America these days) most of the folks that WOULD HAVE BEEN DEMOCRATS even 10 years ago, are running with a “R” behind their name.

    1. one circus, without elephants

      you hit the nail on the head. The SDGOP sure the heck is not full of Republicans anymore, Republicans may vote the clowns in; but then the clowns throw the elephants out because they stand too far in contrast with the clowns’ voting records.


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