Release: In Hypocritical New Ad, Sutton Accuses Noem of Doing Exactly What He Did

In Hypocritical New Ad, Sutton Accuses Noem of Doing Exactly What He Did

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Billie Sutton’s latest ad claims the Noem campaign transferred certain funds “even though South Dakotans voted to make it illegal.” Beyond the fact that Noem’s transfer was fully compliant with South Dakota law, Billie Sutton fails to mention he did the exact same thing, accepting $100,000 from Tim Johnson for South Dakota and transferring more than $27,000 from Sutton for Senate.

The biggest difference? While Noem’s support – which was largely contributed by South Dakotans – came from those who believe in her low-tax vision for South Dakota, Sutton’s contributions were collected from a D.C. Democratic insider who voted for one of history’s largest tax hikes, Obamacare.

“The hypocrisy coming from Billie Sutton is unending,” said Justin Brasell, Kristi for Governor Campaign Manager. “Whether it’s his stance on pro-life issues, a state income tax, or campaign finance, the only thing consistent about Billie Sutton’s record is that he says one thing and does another.”

After IM22 passed, certain routine committee-to-committee transfers were no longer allowed. Both candidates transferred money outside of the roughly three months that IM22 was effective.

Rodney Berget, and Billie Sutton’s Death Penalty Problem. When liberalism runs up against reality.

After seven years of appeals after his murder conviction, two months ago Attorney General Marty Jackley announced that “the warrant of execution for Rodney Scott Berget has been issued by Second Circuit Court Judge Bradley Zell. Berget is scheduled to be executed between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 p.m., during the week of October 28 – November 3, 2018.”

This execution will take place in the run up to the November 2018 election, and represents a key difference between the two candidates running to be Governor.  Because Kristi Noem supports the Death Penalty. And Billie Sutton clearly and absolutely does not.

If you’re not familiar with Berget’s capital crime, this 2012 Associated Press story relates the details:

..he was sentenced to life in prison for attempted murder and kidnapping. He headed back to the South Dakota State Penitentiary — this time for good.

Then Rodney got to talking with a fellow inmate named Eric Robert about a goal they shared: to escape — or die trying.


On the morning of April 12, 2011, the timing seemed perfect. Ronald “R.J.” Johnson was alone in a part of the prison where inmates work on upholstery, signs, custom furniture and other projects. Johnson wasn’t supposed to be working that day — it was his 63rd birthday. But he agreed to come in because of a scheduling change.

After attacking Johnson, Robert and Berget made it outside one gate. But they were stopped by another guard before they could complete their escape through the second gate. Both pleaded guilty.

Read that here.

Berget had already escaped from prison once. And now that he was back serving a life term, he was going to escape or die trying.

And as planned, they took corrections officer Ronald “RJ” Johnson – a 23-year veteran of the Department of Corrections – and as planned, they beat him with a pipe, and wrapped his head in plastic wrap.  Johnson died at the hospital from his injuries.

For this April 12, 2011 crime, Berget who had escaped from prison on an earlier occasion, and who was already serving a sentence of life in prison for attempted murder and kidnapping, was sentenced to death for the murder of Officer Johnson.

While Billie Sutton has been following out a carefully mapped plan to run for Governor, running to the right of many of his fellow Democrats, there’s one issue where he’s always tacked hard to the left. In fact, Sutton has tacked harder to the left than many in his caucus at times. And that issue is on South Dakota’s Death Penalty.

If you look at the history of the issue during his time of office, Democrat candidate Sutton’s name has been attached as sponsor of nearly every anti-death penalty measure that has come through the legislature since he’s been elected.  Even when other Democrats avoided the issue like the plague.

Sutton went so far as to help sponsor a measure to include expressing political statements about the death penalty on drivers licenses.

Measures to remove the death penalty did not just have Sutton’s moral support,  they had Sutton’s explicit sponsorship, time and again.  While not all of the Sutton sponsored measures acted retroactively – one of them, (Senate Bill 94 from 2016) sponsored in part by Sutton had it passed would have released Rodney Berget from the death penalty he was sentenced to by a South Dakota court of law for killing Ronald Johnson.

And think about that.

The problem with Sutton’s hard-left stance on the death penalty is underlined when the state is faced with punishing a criminal like Rodney Berget.  Already in jail for life for attempted murder & kidnapping, Berget intended to escape from jail, no matter the cost. And it was a high one, as he killed a law enforcement officer in the process.

Compare that to Republican Kristi Noem, who has been vocal in her support for the “Thin Blue Line Act,” a measure to make targeting or killing a police officer or first responder a determining factor in potential death penalty cases.

If the death penalty is taken off the table, what is there to stop a man already serving a life sentence, since a life sentence obviously served as no deterrent to murdering a corrections officer?

As we move closer and closer to Berget’s execution date, it’s a strong reminder that there’s a clear difference between the candidates for Governor in the next election. One supports the Death Penalty for those who kill, including those who target law enforcement officers.

And the other one has been a leading advocate for repealing it.

Release: South Dakotans Continue to Support Dusty

South Dakotans Continue to Support Dusty

Republican Candidate Received over 1,000 Separate Donations in Q3

Mitchell – Today, Dusty Johnson announced that his campaign had received over one thousand (1,000) separate donations in the third quarter of this year for a total of more than $540,000.

“I’m incredibly thankful to have such broad support from South Dakotans,” said Dusty Johnson.  “The energy and enthusiasm for a positive, policy-focused campaign has been incredible. The sheer number of donations we’ve received is a testament to that excitement.”

Since July 1st, Johnson’s campaign has received 1,065 donations for a total of $543,000. Over 90% of donations came from South Dakotans.  Dusty received the “Most Local Candidate Award” from news outlet Axios, which is given to the U.S. House candidate who received the lowest portion of donations from outside the district. Support of small dollar donors continues to be a huge part of Dusty’s campaign.  In the third quarter, 510 people gave donations of $200 or less to Johnson’s campaign.

“Dusty has more South Dakota support than any candidate in this race,” said Will Mortenson, Johnson’s Campaign Manager.  “South Dakotans are tired of the anger and the dysfunction. This is just another sign that Dusty’s hard work and positive message is connecting with voters.”

Dusty Johnson is a Republican businessman running for U.S. Congress to rein in federal spending, combat DC dysfunction, and return power to families, businesses, communities and states.  He is a former South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioner and former Chief of Staff to Governor Daugaard.  Dusty is a husband, a father of three boys and Vice President of a private sector engineering and consulting firm based in Mitchell.


Board of Regents reply to Rep. Qualm on Campus Free Speech

After observing incidents squelching of free speech on South Dakota campuses, South Dakota free speech advocates have been adamant that the violence and suffocation of free speech that has taken place in Berkeley and other places won’t be allowed to happen here.

If you recall, GOP House Majority Leader Lee Qualm sent the Board of Regents a letter with some pretty specific questions.

And now the Regents have responded:

Board of Regents Reply to Qualm by Pat Powers on Scribd

Tonight’s AG forum on Public Broadcasting: While Seiler rambled, Ravnsborg rolled over him.

My daughter sent me a note asking if I was watching the debate tonight, so I had to switch the channel and check it out.  I’m glad I did. It was good show. But not for Democrats. If you happened to catch it, you were left with no doubt who our next AG will be.

Jason Ravnsborg wiped the floor with Randy Seiler. It was a definite win.

Of course, there were highs and lows for both candidates. It was a bit of a slow start. And both candidates could have had a better close. But in the middle – after they got warmed up – Seiler seemed to solely spend his time falling back on that “he had more experience.” And that challenge was met in  the breadth of Jason’s command of the issues. And you got to watch him land some solid hits on his opponent.

But I have more experience…

While Seiler kept talking about how we needed more time to work the bugs out of SB 70, the often maligned criminal reform measure, Ravnsborg roasted him with statements such as if Seiler “knew any Sheriffs or State’s Attorneys who liked Senate Bill 70, to have them give him a call, because he hasn’t talked with them yet.”

And Ravnsborg got to note that a majority of Sheriffs, as well as 30 State’s Attorneys are actively supporting him.

After Seiler spoke about the need to address “corruption” and how he would take another look at cases, Ravnsborg AGAIN roasted him, with Seiler becoming visibly flustered, as Jason pointed out that as US Attorney during EB-5 and Gear up, Seiler brought NO federal charges in the issues. And Ravnsborg further noted that the charges brought and being prosecuted are being done so by the current Attorney General, Marty Jackley.

While Seiler spoke yet again about the need to work the bugs out of Senate Bill 70, and that “SB70 is not a problem,” Ravnsborg fired back again noting that we’ve already had five years of it, questioned how much more time we needed. Ravnsborg also talked about the need to remove presumptive probation, the effect of SB 70 on the counties, AND he brought up how Senate Bill 63 was not having the intended effects for juveniles as well.

During the entirety of the debate, as Seiler kept falling back on that he had more experience, Ravnsborg took the opportunity to concur, and point out the fact that for all of his experience, Seiler was not bringing any ideas.

I suspect that this forum was not at all what Randy Seiler was expecting, or was prepared for. Because Ravnsborg met and answered nearly challenge.

While Seiler rambled about all of his experience, Ravnsborg rolled over him with a breadth of knowledge, and a wealth of ideas. This was a definite win for Ravnsborg. And I suspect not what Seiler was expecting.