Democrat for Governor Billie Sutton has posted a 40 second commercial to his facebook page parodying the Bud Light ‘Dilly Dilly’ series of commercials:
As I was pointing out in my post about the Mercer article below, Democrat Gubernatorial candidate Billie Sutton was fairly quiet about running as a Democrat. And in fact, went to the GOP State Fair booth because no one was really hanging out at the Democrats’ shrine to liberalism at our state fair.
The bottom line is that his strategy seems to be ‘don’t tell anyone he’s a Democrat, and try to look like a Republican.’ But the problem with that is that cracks in the ‘ambiguity’ of his views seem to be showing.
A while back, we pointed out that the pro-pot crusaders consider him to be on their side….
…but everyone seems somewhat secretive about it.
And after the article below, a reader brought this recent item to my attention:
So, Democrats need ‘updates’ on Sutton’s position on abortion?
At this point, Sutton apparently has ambiguous positions on pot and abortion. So, on exactly how many of his positions does Billie’s campaign handlers plan on having to clarify when it comes to what he believes?
And does he intend to make it clear where he stands, or is he going to be squishy on the issues for the entire election?
Bob Mercer’s story on Billie Sutton is up at the Mitchell Republic. And it sounds like a lot of his campaign is going to be based on not talking about his political affiliation:
In the State Fair interview, Sutton didn’t emphasize that he is a Democrat. But as he talked, he made clear his priorities would be different.
Sutton indicated he’d seek more resources for job training, career and technical education, health care and scholarships and offer a balanced budget. But with Republicans unlikely to lose control of the two legislative chambers, he probably would need to see what he could get.
How does he greet people: There was a smattering of people Sunday in the Democratic hall. So he rolled down Midway Avenue and met folks at the Republican’s hall.
So, basically, his strategy is don’t tell anyone he’s a Democrat, and try to look like a Republican.
We’ll see how that goes for him.
On Facebook are a couple of interesting tidbits coming from Melissa Mentele, the Democrat activist and former legislative candidate who is backing two of the pot legalization measures on the ballot.
First, the pro-pot group is apparently going around the state and presenting to Democrat Organizations, such as the Democrat Party group in Mitchell as to why South Dakota needs to join Colorado, and legalize the illegal drug:
Even more interesting.. elsewhere on facebook, Mentele alludes to the fact that Democrat Candidate for Governor Billie Sutton is apparently in synch with the Mentele’s advocacy for legalization of the illegal drug:
Maybe that’s a question that the media needs to take up with Sutton…
Pass the popcorn! Former US Senate Candidate Stace Nelson and current Gubernatorial Candidate Lora Hubbel had been bickering with each other a while back, supposedly because Stace wanted to run, and Lora did, effectively splitting the hard right vote.
The bickering had settled down, but from this facebook post, I think that assessment may have been premature:
Seth Tupper has an article today at the Rapid City Journal’s website that has Democrat seeing green. That is, as a result of Sutton naming Barbara Johnson, former US Senator Tim Johnson’s wife, as his campaign chair, that somehow it’s going to open a magic door into Johnson’s leftover campaign funds:
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Billie Sutton‘s recent announcement of Barbara Johnson as his campaign committee chairwoman gives Sutton a potentially crucial connection to Johnson’s husband, former U.S. senator Tim Johnson, who still controls nearly $900,000 in leftover campaign money and could legally give it all to Sutton’s campaign.
There has been no indication that Tim Johnson would make such a large contribution to one candidate, but officials with the Federal Election Commission and the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office said it would be allowable.
Sutton announced Wednesday that the former senator’s wife, Barbara Johnson, is his campaign committee chairwoman. She said Thursday in a Journal phone interview that her husband’s campaign money was not a factor in her joining the Sutton campaign.
“It had nothing to do with it,” she said. “It was never even brought up.”
If Sutton is hoping for a chunk of Johnson money, he could rely on ties that go beyond the role of Johnson’s wife in the Sutton campaign. The Sutton family, for example, gives an annual legislative achievement award in honor of Billie Sutton’s grandfather, who was also a Democrat named Billie Sutton and who served six years in the Legislature before his death in 1982. One of the first co-recipients of the award was then-legislator Tim Johnson.
I could see Tim Johnson making a significant donation… but not in the neighborhood that Sutton would need to be competitive in the contest. Think “tens of thousands,” as opposed to “hundreds of thousands.” In red-state South Dakota, it would be chasing good money after bad, and at some time in the future, as mentioned in the article, Brendan Johnson may decide to enter politics, and he would be the natural inheritor of the lions’ share of the funds.
If Democrats are clinging to false hope that Tim Johnson treasury may open to them, I think they should not waste their time. The Magic-8 ball says “doubtful” in this case.
Interesting noting this comment on Facebook from an opponent to energy independence (the Keystone XL pipeline for the rest of you). They’re not exactly enthused with the candidacy of Billie Sutton to be the Democrat’s offering for Governor in the 2018 election.
In fact, the criticism smacks of some of the same type of criticism that Rick Weiland leveled against Jim Abbott, when Abbott was derided as a “DINO” because of his status as a businessman and sometimes donor to Republicans, such as Bill Janklow.
Arguably, the same party purists can be said to have significantly impacted the armor of Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Toeing a careful line to keep both the right and the left happy while in office, Herseth made some votes her far left base didn’t like, triggering them to field a candidate against her. While Kevin Weiland ultimately withdrew, it exposed a major chink in her armor, and may have signaled the beginning of the unravelling of her base.
In Sutton’s case, the opposition within his own party is starting to spin up because they don’t view him as “Democrat enough,” because of portions of his voting record, as well as his stated opposition to abortion.
There have been rumors of another possible candidate looking at the race, but the information on that is pretty murky at this point, which gives indication that it hasn’t progressed beyond ‘talk,’ at the same time Sutton is already out approaching donors.
Might the Democrat party purists come up with a more liberal alternative to Sutton? We shall see.
Now there’s fighting words if I’d ever read them.
Former Argus Leader Editor Patrick Lalley who is trying to establish himself at KSOO is saying that Democrats and Billie Sutton blew Sutton’s announcement because it was too cowboy, and not enough Sioux Falls:
How did they mess it up so badly?
Billie Sutton could be a great candidate. He could be governor.
To do that he has to connect with the middle class households in the four to six counties surrounding Sioux Falls.
To be blunt, the Democrats introduced Billie Sutton to the state by putting him up on a barren stage in the middle West River ranch country.
They emphasized rural life, solid work ethic and calf roping. It’s a beautiful South Dakota scene that we like to romanticize.
But it doesn’t look forward.
I’d probably argue that Dems are trying to recapture the people who’s values they abandoned a long time ago, and they are not going to convince anyone, even with a Democrat who takes a conservative view on abortion. They can try, but Sutton has a voting record.
But in the meantime, I’m happy to sit back and watch the fireworks on Lalley’s thesis.
In today’s Argus Leader article on the Sutton announcement from Dana Ferguson (which she has a glaring error in), South Dakota REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN Dan Lederman points out the Sutton record when it comes to his politics:
Dan Lederman, executive director of the South Dakota Republican Party, was quick to point say Sutton was a not a moderate, pointing to Sutton’s votes on a bill that would legalize marijuana and against bills viewed as favorable by the National Rifle Association.
“Billie Sutton is a hyper partisan liberal Democrat that doesn’t want voters to know his record,” he said. “Sutton’s policies would be wrong for the state.”
As for myself, I’d be curious to know if in the presidential primary, Sutton was a Bernie Sanders Democrat, or a… nevermind. I was able to answer my own question:
Read the entire article here. And there’s more. He apparently was her biggest spokesman in the state:
“I am proud to join my fellow state legislators in endorsing Hillary Clinton for President,” Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton said. “Secretary Clinton has shown she has the same values as families in rural America. She understands our issues and has been a tireless advocate for our farmers, our ranchers, our veterans, our Native Americans, and all working men and women. As First Lady she brought the importance of pre-k education to the forefront of the nation by piloting literacy programs and fought alongside Senator Tom Daschle to create the first national children’s health insurance program. As U.S. Senator, she worked with Senator Tim Johnson to secure vital investments in renewable energy and bio-fuels, that helped drive the economy of our state. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton lead this nation in an increasingly complicated world. Hillary is the most qualified person running for President. I couldn’t be more thrilled to support her campaign.”
Hot off of his announcement, Billie Sutton’s Gubernatorial campaign has released the below campaign video…. which like his website and press release, also omits his political affiliation.
Given that being a Democrat in South Dakota is the electoral equivalent of being the kiss of death, I have no doubt that it’s being done intentionally.