Are Dems having second thoughts about staying the course with Ann Tornberg? Dems take in and spend around $1 Million, but accomplish nothing.

Remember when Democrats staged a coup against Ann Tornberg, and it didn’t work? They might be having second thoughts about now, because it sounds that after their disastrous 2016 elections, Ann managed to figure out a way to repeat those results.

Didn’t Einstein quip “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?”

After Democrats dismal losses in 2016, there were calls immediately for her ouster from the highest levels of the Democrat Party, with one of the loudest coming from Paula Hawks, who had just been handed a bruising loss at the hands of Congresswoman Kristi Noem:

“I think that what we’ve seen in the last year is that what we’re doing isn’t working,” she said Tuesday. “We do need a shake-up.”

The comments underscore a disagreement within the party about how much blame to place on its current leadership, which has been at the helm for less than two years.

And…

Frank Kloucek, a former Democratic state legislator and member of the party’s executive board and central committee, said he agreed with Hawks’ assertion that Democrats need to move in a new direction.

“Ann has to go,” he said. “The ball keeps getting dropped.”

Jeff Barth, who challenged Tornberg for her position in 2014, and state Sen. Billie Sutton, D-Burke, said the party shouldn’t drop its top leaders over the results of an election that favored Republican legislative candidates in many Midwest states.

“I think we should try to keep as much of the staff there as possible and learn from the mistakes we’ve made,” Barth said.

Read the entire story here.

And the grumbling only grew from there. By March, there was an open revolt in the ranks of South Dakota Democrats, and a move to replace Tornberg as chair:

As for the optics and the “politics” of it, we know this isn’t pleasant and it’s not fun. But, can we really be worried that the SDDP is going to get worse press than this? Do we really think the status quo is worth protecting?

We don’t hold Ann Tornberg responsible for all that ails the SDDP. She has tried her best, and for that we thank her. What we do hold her responsible for is a severe lack of management ability that has led to low fundraising, dropping voter registration numbers, a nearly invisible message, and at the center, zero of anything resembling a strategic action plan for the State Party. The Executive Board has made numerous attempts to initiate strategic planning processes and set goals, which were either ignored, or misguided into “listening sessions” that fell on deaf ears. Many of your Democratic Party participating readers will likely share their own frustrations and experiences of Tornberg’s inability to lay out clear pathways to success despite her two years of trying.

So, without any attempt to conceal our intentions, we ask SDDP Central Committee members to stand with us for bold, decisive action that can unite our party behind new leadership.

Read that here.

If you recall, on the heels of that call for intra-party revolution, Paula Hawks eagerly stepped forward to offer herself up as an alternative chairman to Tornberg:

I am Paula Hawks, former state legislator from District 9 (Hartford) and 2016 Congressional candidate for the South Dakota Democratic Party.  In response to Rachelle Norberg’s call for prospective party chair candidates, I am writing to you today to let you know why I am throwing my hat into the State Chair race.  Having run a few campaigns and won a couple I have some insight into what needs to be happening for Democratic candidates in South Dakota to be successful. A thoughtful, comprehensive strategy for long-term party development is necessary and must be developed as soon as possible. It takes a lot of dedicated, passionate people willing to step up and put their money, and their time, where their mouths are and then show results. This can only happen with leadership that is capable of unifying multiple factions within the party. I believe I can provide that leadership.

We haven’t seen a strategic plan from the state office telling us what the plan is for the next five years, the next year, or even the next six months. From a business perspective, this is unacceptable.

Read that here.

The effort to oust Tornberg gained statewide publicity, and was covered by several media outlets:

The biggest weekend of the year for South Dakota Democrats could also usher in a whirlwind contest aimed at ousting the party’s chair.

Central committee members learned this week that those in attendance will vote Saturday to amend the party’s constitution to shorten the terms of party officers and to push elections from winter months following gubernatorial elections to the spring of odd-numbered years.

And..

Calls to recall Tornberg and to “shake up” party leadership rang out following sweeping losses in 2016. Former U.S. House candidate Paula Hawks said the party didn’t provided her enough support and urged party then leaders to be more aggressive.

Read that here.

But like many things associated with the South Dakota Democrat Party, the attempted coup ended in failure.

Fast forwarding to 2018, Dems managed to channel all of their anti-Trump rage into recruiting more legislative candidates.  But that’s about it. Party-wise, it seems to have gone downhill from there.

If you recall, the South Dakota Dems managed to screw up their convention, but its not clear what Democrats actually did to help their candidates. Looking at their campaign finance reports, according to their State Campaign Finance Report, it shows very little activity:

In their pre-general report for their state account, where they’d fund the efforts of non-federal candidates, they sent all statewide candidates $1500… and nothing to Legislative candidates.

In fact, if you look at Dem’s federal account, that’s where it gets interesting. They raised money from several sources, but It’s not clear what substantive campaign activities to elect candidates at the state level they spent it on.

If you look at an aggregate summary for the entire cycle, they spent $2300 more on posters in the last 2 years than they appear to have donated to Legislative candidates…

MEAT & POTATOES MARKETING SCHOLARSHIP ESSAY POSTER 4/26/18 0:00  $                195.96
MEAT & POTATOES MARKETING SCHOLARSHIP ESSAY POSTER 4/9/18 0:00  $                208.21
MEAT & POTATOES MARKETING SCHOLARSHIP ESSAY POSTER 3/6/18 0:00  $                208.74
MEAT & POTATOES MARKETING SCHOLARSHIP ESSAY POSTER 10/3/17 0:00  $                212.47
MEAT & POTATOES MARKETING SCHOLARSHIP ESSAY POSTER 1/5/18 0:00  $                406.83
MEAT & POTATOES MARKETING SCHOLARSHIP ESSAY POSTER 1/22/18 0:00  $                406.83
MEAT & POTATOES MARKETING SCHOLARSHIP ESSAY POSTER 4/9/18 0:00  $                683.73
MEAT & POTATOES MARKETING SDTRIBALISSUESTOWNHALLPOSTER 8/28/17 0:00  $                  61.24
Total 2,384.01

They appear to have spent over $14,000 more reimbursing staff for cell phones than they spent on legislative candidates (and 3k more than they spent on state candidates) this cycle…

DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN CELL PHONE 6/1/17 0:00 100
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN CELL PHONE 5/1/17 0:00 100
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN CELL PHONE 2/28/17 0:00 100
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN CELL PHONE 3/31/17 0:00 100
AARON MATSON CELL PHONES/TECHNOLOGY REIMB 5/4/18 0:00 278.91
ADAMS, COLE TECH REIMBURSEMENT 1/11/18 0:00 100
ADAMS, COLE TECH REIMBURSEMENT 2/15/18 0:00 225.8
ADAMS, COLE TECH REIMBURSEMENT 7/13/18 0:00 307.44
ADAMS, COLE TECH REIMBURSEMENT 3/15/18 0:00 361.7
ADAMS, COLE TECH REIMBURSEMENT 8/15/18 0:00 391.86
ADAMS, COLE TECH REIMBURSEMENT 6/29/18 0:00 443.1
ADAMS, COLE TECH REIMBURSEMENT 5/31/18 0:00 702.65
ADAMS, COLE TECH REIMBURSEMENT 8/31/18 0:00 841.48
ADAMS, COLE TECH REIMBURSEMENT 4/6/18 0:00 882.44
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN TECH REIN 6/29/17 0:00 100
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN TECH REIN 12/1/17 0:00 100
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN TECH REIN 10/3/17 0:00 100
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN TECH REIN 6/4/18 0:00 100
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN TECH REIN 8/1/17 0:00 100
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN TECH REIN 9/5/17 0:00 100
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN TECH REIN 3/3/18 0:00 100
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN TECH REIN 11/1/17 0:00 100
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN TECH REIN 4/5/18 0:00 100
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN TECH REIN 8/7/18 0:00 100
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN TECH REIN 9/5/18 0:00 100
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN TECH REIN 10/3/18 0:00 100
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN TECH REIN 8/31/18 0:00 548.94
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN TECH REIN 7/2/18 0:00 703.96
DEVERMAN, BENJAMIN TECH REIN & TRAVEL 2/2/18 0:00 205.92
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 6/1/17 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 6/29/17 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 5/9/17 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 12/1/17 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 10/3/17 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 1/5/18 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 2/2/18 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 6/4/18 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 8/1/17 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 7/2/18 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 9/5/17 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 3/8/18 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 11/1/17 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 8/7/18 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 9/7/18 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 10/15/18 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 2/28/17 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 3/31/17 0:00 100
MATSON, AARON C. TECHNOLOGY CELL PHONE REIMB 4/13/18 0:00 200.8
JONES PRANGER, SUZANNE TELEPHONE REIMBURSEMENT 2/28/17 0:00 100
JONES PRANGER, SUZANNE TELEPHONE REIMBURSEMENT 3/31/17 0:00 100
FORSTER, MEGAN TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 8/31/18 0:00 53.76
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 6/1/17 0:00 100
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 6/29/17 0:00 100
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 5/1/17 0:00 100
FORSTER, MEGAN TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 12/1/17 0:00 100
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 12/1/17 0:00 100
FORSTER, MEGAN TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 10/3/17 0:00 100
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 10/3/17 0:00 100
FORSTER, MEGAN TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 1/5/18 0:00 100
FORSTER, MEGAN TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 2/2/18 0:00 100
FORSTER, MEGAN TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 8/1/17 0:00 100
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 8/1/17 0:00 100
FORSTER, MEGAN TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 7/2/18 0:00 100
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 7/3/18 0:00 100
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 7/3/18 0:00 100
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 7/3/18 0:00 100
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 7/3/18 0:00 100
FORSTER, MEGAN TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 9/5/17 0:00 100
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 9/5/17 0:00 100
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 3/1/18 0:00 100
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 3/21/18 0:00 100
FORSTER, MEGAN TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 11/1/17 0:00 100
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 11/1/17 0:00 100
FORSTER, MEGAN TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 4/5/18 0:00 100
FORSTER, MEGAN TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 9/6/18 0:00 100
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 9/26/18 0:00 100
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 9/26/18 0:00 100
FORSTER, MEGAN TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 10/2/18 0:00 100
PARKINSON, SAMUEL TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 2/15/17 0:00 100
PARKINSON, SAMUEL TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 3/31/17 0:00 100
FORSTER, MEGAN TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 6/4/18 0:00 150.85
FORSTER, MEGAN TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 9/6/18 0:00 360.28
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 9/14/18 0:00 559.54
PARKINSON, SAMUEL D TELEPHONE REINBURSEMENT 8/31/18 0:00 909.66
Total 14729.09

Heck, my list shows they spent $5500 on office supplies, which is $5500 more than they spent on legislative candidates. I could go on, but you get the hint. The only thing that seemed to change between the 2016 and 2018 elections is that they screwed up their convention and had to hold two of them.

For taking in around a million dollars over the course of the last cycle, and spending about the same between their State and Federal accounts, how many offices from the legislature on up did the Democrat Party under Ann Tornberg gain in South Dakota?

Zero. None. Nada. Zip.  They managed to swap one State Senate Seat for a State House seat, resulting in a net gain of nothing.  After giving each of their statewide candidates $1500, Ann Tornberg’s Democrat party spent thousands on posters, $9000 on videography, reimbursed their employees cell phones expenses in the neighborhood of $14,000, and paid over $100,000 in salaries…

And managed to accomplish nothing.  Except for screwing up their convention too.

I imagine the discussions on where Democrats go from here are going to be very interesting.

14 Replies to “Are Dems having second thoughts about staying the course with Ann Tornberg? Dems take in and spend around $1 Million, but accomplish nothing.”

  1. Anonymous

    The writing was on the wall with the complete election disaster of the SDDP. The SDDP is toast. It was their last chance with many. Time to look at other political party options within the state including creating a new party or just leave the state for better opportunities. The latter most likely being the best.

    Reply
  2. grudznick

    This young lady, Ms. Tornberg, is trying as hard as she can and I think people should give her another chance. It is mean to fire people.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Imagine Cory Heidelberger outlining a plan for the future of the SDGOP because that’s the inverse of what’s happening here. Fact is: the SDDP has exactly zero to lose by being revolutionary despite the raving of this set.

    Reply
    1. Lee Schoenbeck

      Actually, they would loose Yankton house and senate seat , and other Dist one house seat and Clay/Turner county house seat and never occupy a legislative seat outside of pine ridge, rosebud and parts of SIoux Falls

      Reply

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