Paula Hawks apparently IS running for SDDP chair. Her plan: “get all the bomb throwers together, talk to the media alot, and raise money.”

From a letter posted over at (yes, the blog that calls Sioux Falls Police officers “piggies”), it appears that 2016 losing Congressional Candidate Paula Hawks is actually planning to make a run against Ann Tornberg for chairwoman of the South Dakota Democrat Party.

The question is, can she get more than 36%?

It’s interesting to note what Hawks is promising to do for Democrats as part of her long, long campaign letter for the office of SDDP Chair. (I’ve abbreviated much of it, because good lord, Hawks just rambles on.)

  1. Capitalize on the opportunities being handed to us by the massive numbers of people taking action through the many resistance groups forming across the state:  LEAD, Progress SD, South Dakota Forward, Pantsuit Nation…
  2. I will work to reinforce the existing relationships I have with media outlets in South Dakota….
  3. The wait-and-see strategy that is occurring now isn’t working – we can’t wait for the reporters to come to us – we have to go to them and keep the lines of communication open
  4. I will vigorously pursue the formulation and dissemination of a strategic plan of action….
  5. I will expand fundraising efforts and make them a much larger priority….

Read that and a lot more unnecessary filler text here.

If we look at what embattled SDDP Chairwoman Ann Tornberg promised to do in 2014, there are some similarities…

  1. Rebuild Financial base from the grassroots.
  2. Hire more staff for offices
  3. Build County-level organizations
  4. Recruit a full slate of candidates
  5. Register new voters among diverse constituencies
  6. Win Elections.

…Except Paula Hawks is promising to be all “strategic,” as she used strategic and strategy in her long rambling manifesto 11 times.  But otherwise the Hawks plan is pretty thin on details, and doesn’t provide any real justification for people to elect her, other than to focus their anger at Tornberg.

In fact, if you look at it and compare the two, actually, Tornberg had a far more thought out plan than Hawks’ plan of get all the bomb throwers together, talk to the media, and raise money.   You need to elect Hawks to do that?    Comparing it, when she sought the office, Tornberg offered a plan. Hawks is offering little more than to write one. Which I’m sure will be a very, very long document with lots of words.

Paula Hawks’ plan to lead the South Dakota Democrat Party is about as thin and disorganized as her campaign for Congress was. She cites her “existing relationships …with media outlets in South Dakota,” but if I recall, they absolutely roasted her over her campaign, calling it “amateur hour.

If those are the relationships she’s talking about bringing to the SDDP….  then I say as far as the SDGOP is concerned, keep on keeping on.

Who is the most popular Governor in the nation? You know it’s Dennis Daugaard.

Who is the most popular Governor in the nation? You know it’s Dennis Daugaard.

From the Inside Gov Website:

Before those elections take place, though, InsideGov, a political research site powered by Graphiq, decided to identify the most popular U.S. governors. To do this, the analysts used polling data from MorningConsult, a nonpartisan digital media research company.

MorningConsult surveyed more than 71,900 voters in all 50 states between May and September 2016. Governors are ranked in ascending order by their net approval rating.* In the case of ties, governors are sorted by their approval rating. Approval ratings are only one metric to evaluate a governor, but they can be a useful indicator of a governor’s success.


Read it all here.

And who shall lead the Dems?  Possible contenders to take over the South Dakota Democrat Party after this weekend’s vote.

With all the rumors swirling around the implosion of the South Dakota Democrat Party this weekend and the coup being staged against Ann Tornberg’s chairmanship, one of the things that keeps getting brought up is that no one really seems to be angling for the job.

That’s the problem with a revolt.  If you put the queen to the guillotine, no one wants to be the next ruler in case the peasants decide to revolt again.  And trust me. As much as they lose in South Dakota, Democrats can be pretty revolting.

So, if they are able to change the party bylaws from a 4 year term to a 2 year term accompanied by an immediate election, who do we see as possibility for taking on the chairmanship of the South Dakota Democrat Party?

Possible New Chairs of the SDDP:

Paula Hawks (Odds 3-1) If the party bylaws are changed, we give a 3-1 chance that Paula Hawks, who has been one of the Democrats most critical of Ann Tornberg’s less than benevolent rule, might emerge as the new party ruler.

The Hawks for Congress campaign arguably suffered the most from the party’s lack of fundraising, disorganization, etcetera.  Hawks has been the most vocal critic of the Party and has been calling for change.   Being the agent of change may put Hawks in a position to run for office again someday, and believe me, the Democrat party has nowhere to go but up.

Slick Rick Weiland (Odds 10-1) Slick Rick Weiland, the political snake oil salesman who tried several times this past election to sell South Dakotans on initiated measures, had washed his hands of the Democrat Party previously after his crushing loss to Mike Rounds for US Senate.

But, as any good opportunist, he may view the Democrat Party’s implosion as an opening to bamboozle the Democrats who rule the party that he can lead them to prosperity through initiated measures.  (Because that’s worked so well for them).  It might also give him some face time with the press.  But the problem here would be that he’d have to produce something besides music videos – he’d have to produce results.

Cory Heidelberger (Odds 5-1) Interestingly, while Cory has been a vociferous Tornberg supporter in the past, he’s been one of the parties most responsible in loudly publicizing the grievances of the Democrat organization mutineers, and making sure that everyone knows that they want to throw Ann Tornberg out of office for “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.”

In other words, if Cory had not been promoting it and making sure as many Democrats saw it as possible, there might not be much of a revolt.  Sure, others had expressed dissatisfaction in the past. But no one had really undercut Tornberg until the article Heidelberger published on his blog came out. Giving voice to the dissidents made a lot of ugly family secrets open to the world. And now, interestingly, Cory is back riding the fence trying to claim the high road while dispensing advice as to what Democrats should be doing…. Which sounds a little too much like he wants the job.

The downside for Democrats is that Cory rarely follows through, and has a tendency to turn people off, much like he’s helped Aberdeen move more strongly into the GOP Column as part of his ill-fated run for State Senate.  The more he campaigned, the more ground he lost to Al Novstrup.  If we think Ann Tornberg’s current implosion is spectacular, I imagine Cory’s would put it to shame should he get the nod.

Frank Kloucek (Odds 25-1) Frank has been critical of the chair for months, and not behind closed doors. The former Senator was openly attacking her in Democrat party “listening tour” sessions where Tornberg went across the state and tried to make excuses for the Democrat party’s dismal performance.

The problem with Frank, is well… Frank. While he’d actually be the closest leader that Democrats could come up with resembling a moderate South Dakotan as opposed to the party of liberal Social Justice Warriors which Democrats have styled themselves as, Frank also has a tendency to come off as a bit of a buffoon, and they may not have a lot of confidence in his ability to lead or raise the money that Democrats need to keep the lights on.

“Effective” Ann Tornberg. (Odds 2-1)  Let’s face it. South Dakota Democrat Party chair is an awful position, and no one wants it.  Ann claims she’s been effective, despite evidence to the contrary.   If there’s a revolution and no one wants to lead in its wake, there becomes a great question of who will fill the void.

Given that Democrats aren’t entirely convinced yet that there should be a revolution in the first place, I think there’s a 50/50 chance or better that they’ll just leave “Effective Ann” in place, and revisit the whole mess in December of 2018 like they’re scheduled to do anyway, and just cancel the revolution (at least for a while).

They’ll bumble along, lose the 2018 election, and go home to lick their wounds for the next cycle.  I’m guessing that’s probably the best bet to place if you’re playing the odds for this weekend’s Democrat meeting.

Otherwise, anyone have any suggestions as to who the next chair for the SDDP should be? Sound off in the comment section. (You might want to encourage them.)

Gov. Daugaard Orders State Capitol Flags At Half-Staff For Former State Senator Richard Gregerson

Gov. Daugaard Orders State Capitol Flags At Half-Staff For Former State Senator Richard Gregerson

PIERRE, S.D. – Flags at the State Capitol will fly at half-staff on Monday, May 1, to honor the life of former legislator Richard “Dick” Gregerson of Sioux Falls, who passed away on Tuesday, April 25.

Gregerson, 84, represented a Minnehaha County district in the state Senate from 1979 to 1982, and also served 16 years on the state Transportation Commission.


Argus: Ann Tornberg thinks she’s effective. Ann, seriously. You just keep on being you. Really.

Democrats are killing me with hilarity today, as the slowly rolling coup d’etat against Ann Tornberg continues to grow to a crescendo this weekend with a party bylaw change to force a vote of no confidence against the chair, and rewriting the rules so she’s up for election immediately.

Despite the fact that no candidate for the job has emerged. Yep. No candidates, just people wanting to throw her out.

However, as reported by, embattled SDDP Chair Ann Tornberg disagrees with her detractors, and thinks she’s been ….. effective.

“We don’t hold Ann Tornberg responsible for all that ails the SDDP. She has tried her best, and for that we thank her,” Norberg wrote. “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.”

Tornberg said Tuesday that she wanted to respect the proposals and the democratic process by giving them consideration in committee. She also said she felt she’d effectively managed the party since she was elected in 2014, despite the outcome of the 2016 elections.

“I feel like I worked very hard and there was a lot of indications of effectiveness,” Tornberg said. “I understand the frustration with South Dakota Democrats as there are frustrations all over the country about the election of Donald Trump.”

Read it all here.

If effective means raising no money, not running candidates, scraping up candidates the quality of Jay Williams for US Senate, and diminishing the number of elected Democrats to all time lows…  Then Ann Tornberg is the most effective Democrat Chairman that the Republican Party has ever had the pleasure to have.

You just keep on being you Ann.

With love, the Republican voters of South Dakota. 

Former Dem Senate Candidate advocates Democrat dissidents to be “thrown out”

Well is was an interesting development in the soap opera that is the South Dakota Democrat Party.

Not long after Todd Epp wrote his piece about the “Night of Long Butter Knives,” and shortly after I pointed it out, losing State Senate Candidate Cory Heidelberger of Aberdeen came out swinging against Democrat Party dissidents – and in a shocking example of small-tent mentality, is openly advocating for the dissidents to be “thrown out:”

Epp appears to share my concern that, amidst calls for new leadership in the SDDP, no one has publicly offered names or plans for that new leadership.


The best possible outcome is that everyone meets, speaks, and departs as allies united around a common plan of action. Anyone who talks about anything other than our practical goals and action, anyone who gripes and moans about personal grievances, should be slapped back to reality or, if they keep griping and moaning, thrown out….

…Gripers and moaners add no value to the party; doers do.

Read it here.

Heidelberger is couching his bets on whether Tornberg can survive the vote on Saturday. But either way, he’s openly advocating for dissidents to be “thrown out,” because they “add no value” to the Democrat party.

No wonder they keep on losing. And throwing out “gripers and moaners?” A good reason to continue not to ever elect Cory to anything.

Tornberg’s promises versus her results.

As we count the hours until the impending collapse of the South Dakota Democrat Party this weekend, I thought it would be interesting to look at what Democrat Party Chair was promising to do as chairwoman of the Democrat Party, as she came in with hopes and dreams…. only to find out that South Dakota is not a liberal democrat state:

As reported by WNAX:

Tornberg says she wants to rebuild their financial base from the grassroots.


Tornberg says they will also be hiring more staff for their offices.

Read that here.

As reported by the Rapid City Journal:

Tornberg said she’ll focus on building the party’s county-level organization and fundraising rather than trying to influence policy positions. Nevertheless, she does not think her position on abortion conflicts with the party’s platform, which she said is broad enough to include a spectrum of views on abortion.

Joe Lowe of Piedmont was elected vice chairman of the party and said he’ll focus on beefing up Democrats’ West River operations, possibly including the opening of a West River office.


“You are electing an administrator, not a policymaker,” Heidelberger wrote. “You are electing someone to raise money, organize volunteers, and win elections. Delegates in 2016, not the chair, will determine whether ‘reproductive rights’ remain in the party platform.”

Read it here.

From Ann herself…

“Our state party has made a lot of progress over the last four years, but we’re still not seeing results at the ballot box. I want to help change that.

I’m running for South Dakota Democratic Party Chair because we need to rebuild our county parties, raise money to expand our outreach, recruit a full slate of candidates at the local, state and federal level, and register new voters among diverse constituencies.

Working together from the bottom up, Democrats across the state can build on the progress we’ve made and fulfill the promise George McGovern instilled in our party to win elections up and down the ballot.

Read it here.

If we were to summarize the promises Team Tornberg made in December of 2014 alongside the results…

Tornberg Promise Tornberg Results
Rebuild Financial base from the grassroots. Failed.   No evidence of change.
Hire more staff for offices Yes. Hired several staff members.
Build County-level organizations Failed.  Did anything happen here?
Beef Up West River Operations (Via Joe Lowe) Failed. (Where’s Joe Lowe in this coup, anyway?)
Recruit a full slate of candidates Failed. And failed again. Back to using placeholders.
Register new voters among diverse constituencies Failed.  Voter registration has dropped.
Win Elections.


Democrat office holder numbers are at historic lows. 

If I’m reading this correctly, Ann promised to hire more staff, and was able to deliver on that. Yes, she did hire a pile of staff.  For all the good that did them.

Well, maybe her staff will get to vote, and she’ll be able to hang on to her job this weekend.

KELO AM’s Todd Epp calls the fledgeling coup against Ann Tornberg “The night of the long butter knives”

You know you’re dealing with Democrats when they know they have a problem. They can identify it. They can call for correcting it. And they still manage to screw that up:

If you’re going to stage a coup, and you tell everyone you’re going to stage a coup, you better succeed.

This Saturday’s annual South Dakota Democratic Party’s McGovern Day in Sioux Falls could instead turn into The Night of Long Knives. Ok, maybe more accurately, The Night of Long Butter Knives. These are Democrats, after all.


The goal of all this is to get rid of current chair Ann Tornberg.  As I have noted in the past,  her regime has seen dropping party registrations and fewer and fewer Democratic state legislators and NO Democratic statewide elected officials. It has been an unmitigated disaster for us Democrats.


If the Night of Long Butter Knives actually occurs, it could put the state party in a better position. God knows we can’t do any worse, could we? But as is often the case for South Dakota Democrats, just when you thought it wasn’t possible to go any lower, we sink deeper into the prairie gumbo because we will have no chair and no plan and just a bunch of ticked off Democrats.

Read it here.

Any wonder why they can’t win an election to save their lives? They know they have a chair who has driven the party into the ground. But, they’re not sure they want to, and no one wants to take the wheel.