American Conservative Union notes 2017’s most conservative in South Dakota.

As one of the few independent organizations who review the votes cast by legislators, recently the American Conservative Union released a list of those in South Dakota legislators that it considers “the most conservative” in the state.

And to little surprise, Republican Legislators such as Jenna Netherton, Phil Jensen, and Larry Rhoden were noted as having among the most conservative voting records in South Dakota.

Interestingly, Senator Larry Rhoden who was given their highest award for his votes in the House, was ranked at casting conservative votes 90% of the time (95% lifetime), and was ranked higher than his 2014 US Senate opponent, Stace Nelson, who could only achieve an 82% (82% lifetime) ranking, despite Nelson’s attempted spin that “Rhoden was a 21-year liberal Democrat” in the contest.

Where did the Democrats fare in relation to Republicans?

In the Senate, the lowest ranking Republicans were still a world more conservative than their Democrat counterparts. In the House, there was a little more of a mixing, since Julie Bartling tends to be one of the more conservative Democrats in the legislature.

You can download or read the entire report at length here (in pdf format).

What do you think? Is it just confirming information you already know, or does it provide a boost to legislators that there is independent corroboration that they’re actually a conservative, contrary to what their political opponents may be claiming for their own election purposes?

19 Replies to “American Conservative Union notes 2017’s most conservative in South Dakota.”

  1. Anonymous

    I thought the great Stace told us Larry Rhoden was a RINO plant?

    FACTS don’t seem to back that up here.

  2. Anon

    Let’s hope the House Republicans don’t appoint someone who scored worse than a Democrat as their new Speaker Pro Tem…

    1. grudznick

      Mr. Stevens, if appointed, will have some of the best black hair of any Speaker Pro Tem ever.

      As to the rest of the report, the Rhoden Rhangers will no doubt be touting this to refute Mr. Nelson’s inevitable lies and bloviating.

  3. Steve Sibson

    Nice try Pat, but this organization is about controlling the agenda of all states with a corporatists agenda, a la Koch Brothers. They wrongly equate capitalism with conservative. Sadly most Republicans buy off on the false propaganda. Their real agenda is just as collectivists of the so-called progressives. The truth is the two movements are more alike than they are different.

    1. WR

      Exactly what agenda is anyone pushing here by putting out these results? Seems pretty straight forward to me. Aren’t these a lot of your buddies on this list?

      1. grudznick

        By the scorecards I have seen that score the scorecards, this scorecard is better than anything Messrs. Sibby or Nelson have ever made up.

  4. Troy Jones


    Thanks for my point for why I don’t give a lick of credence to ANY scorecard and neither would I respond to a survey. Who/what are conservative are in the eyes of the beholder. You have your definition (selected votes or selected issues) and others have theirs, each based on what you think most important (or to get the desired result you want).

    On a lighter note, it reminds conservatives arguing over who is most conservative of an argument between two Packer fans. These Packer fans couldn’t agree on who they hate more the Vikings or Lions or Bears just like two conservatives who can’t agree both are conservative even though they have different criteria (issues which are most important).

    1. Steve Sibson

      Troy, I would give more credence to South Dakota Republicans using the Republican platform as the basis versus a national group that is funded by corporatists.

  5. Troy Jones


    Which SD Republicans? You? Libertarian Republicans? Those who emphasize economic conservatism, those who focus on social issues? Proving my point again Steve.

  6. Jeff Partridge

    Constituents send us to Pierre to carefully review bills and their potential impact. 2 bills on this list that I opposed the ACU sentiment are in direct conflict:
    SB 134 says you should vote against public school resources that could be used for outcomes of elections. Well, what about voting day, cracker barrels or community meetings?

    HB 1130 said that you should use public resources (taxes) to inform the public on constitutional amendments. It had no funding source for all the “public informing” or to what extent, just that public resources were to be used in any way.

    Sorry, these were both bad bills. And they both failed as most of you would have voted against this legislation, unless you were voting to get a high mark on a scorecard.

      1. grudznick

        Mr. Partridge seems saner than most in the legislatures. He also seems like a nice young man from one of the finer parts of Rapid City.

    1. Anonymous

      The reality is that Partridge is an embarrassment to republicans in the legislature. This is the same guy that proposed inflating estimated revenues to an widely unrealistic level so the state could spend more. Senator Partridge, we don’t use D.C. Budgeting techniques in South Dakota. You are a liberal republican, just own it.

  7. Liberty Dick

    “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.” -Reagan-
    This was only a snapshot. I’d be curious to see a conservative organization take up all votes. Either way we have a vast majority in the conservative wing and for that I’m glad.