A few interesting developments have been swirling in the ether recently for the Governor’s race in 2018 that affect the lay of the land. And they’re related to the fortunes of Democrats.
First off, there’s Mayor Mike Huether, who seems to be his own worst enemy.
If you haven’t noticed, under the leadership of Mayor Mike Huether, Sioux Falls has gained the reputation of becoming Crime City, U.S.A. Back in 2015, Sioux Falls was named among the Top 10 Cities Where Crime is Soaring:
While the prevalence of violent crime — which includes murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — has declined in many of the nation’s metropolitan areas, in some regions it has increased. In Bismarck, North Dakota, the violent crime rate grew by nearly 92.4% — from 206.6 cases per 100,000 people in 2009 to 397.6 in 2013. Based on figures published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), these are the metropolitan areas with the greatest increases in the violent crime rate.
#9 – Sioux Falls, South Dakota: 37.7% –In 2009, there were 212 violent crimes reported per 100,000 people in the Sioux Falls metro area, one of the lower rates nationwide. By 2013, the rate had risen to 292 violent crimes per 100,000 people, an increase of nearly 38% — the 10th largest increase among U.S. metro areas. City officials last year attributed part of this spike in crime to population growth. Yet, this does not fully explain the higher crime rate. Some crimes are also becoming more common than others. Methamphetamine-related crimes, for example, have risen dramatically in the area since 2009. Despite the increase in crime rate in recent years, however, the city remains significantly safer when compared to the national violent crime rate of 367.9 per 100,000 people, and the local economy is relatively strong. Just 3.3% of the area’s workforce was unemployed in 2013, one of the lower rates nationwide.
Between that, and anecdotes of Sioux Falls’ autocratic executive branch doing things just because they can, such as shaking down the local swim team for cash, and then reneging on an agreement, his dogged pursuit of more and bigger city offices for the administration, and continued instances where people are noticing he’s taken to calling himself as “the mayor of South Dakota” don’t paint Huether in a favorable light even among Democrats.
At this point, Huether may struggle coming out on top in a Democrat primary, much less competing on equal footing to the Republican primary winner in a deep red Republican state.
Writing off Huether at this point (whether he runs or not), there’s the other person who has been widely talked about in the race.
Former Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, who moved down to Sioux Falls herself a few years back has long been looked as as being the Democrat’s best (or possibly only) chance to give a respectable run for the highest state office for her party.
But, surprise! She may have entirely different plans than most people have been superimposing on top of her resume after looking at her family history.
A couple of weeks back on Facebook, a few people were chatting about Stephanie, and asking when she was going to announce her entrance into the Gubernatorial contest for 2018. In response , a Democrat County Party chairperson for one of the larger counties in the state replied that they were told that very day that as opposed to the Gubernatorial contest, Stephanie “would rather take on Mike Rounds.”
As in Stephanie challenging United States Senator Mike Rounds for that office in 2020.
That wasn’t a possibility anyone had mentioned before. But, it makes sense. She hasn’t had a terribly high profile for a while. In fact, it’s as if she’s purposefully keeping it on the down low. Which allows her time to maximize her income before she takes a year off to campaign.
South Dakota hasn’t elected a Democrat as Governor for a long, long time. But we’ve put Democrats in Washington, as she well knows.
In considering her opposition, the Republicans running for Governor in 2018 have bigger campaign bank balances at the moment. And she can raise cash for a US Senate run from Liberal DC allies far, far easier than she can for a race for Governor in one of the least populous red states in the nation.
If you’re looking at it from her personal standpoint, running for US Senate in 2020 makes all the sense in the world.
Between Huether’s arrogance and awfulness, and Herseth possibly taking a pass, the outlook for the future just became far bleaker for Democrat hopes for Governor in 2018.
Democrats may find themselves defaulting again to someone like they did to Susan Wismer in the last contest, or Jay Williams for US Senate this year. There’s jut not any good options for them, and they may once again be left in a situation of running someone who was unfortunate enough to draw the short straw.