If you’ve been on facebook lately, or here at the SDWC, you might have noticed some of the elective blowback from Stace Nelson over his successful campaign this past Tuesday. For Example:
Aside from Stace taking the opportunity to be a sore winner, of course, he tries to intimate that everyone is lying about him. According to himself, Stace is as pure as the driven snow, and never did anything “underhanded or dirty.” Despite ample evidence to the contrary such as his own robocalled voice on Sunday Night accusing his opponent of wearing women’s undergarments:
As the dust settles in the race, Nelson isn’t doing much by way of attempting to build bridges, as much as exhibiting cognitive dissonance; in that the beliefs he tries to claim do not match up his behaviors.
Aside from that, a bigger question is whether Nelson’s election represents a problem for the SDGOP?
Reading in comments on this website and elsewhere, Nelson’s election might raise a moral dilemma for some members of the GOP. Do you raise money and support the campaign of someone who is a complete jerk to a significant portion of the party? Or do you just walk away? Already I’m hearing talk from a member or two of the lobbying corps who note that they don’t want any of their donations to go into Nelson’s coffers.
It’s not unlike the GOP’s problem on the national level with whether or not to support Donald Trump as he attacks people and says offensive things. Do you get out and support the nominee, do you support the opponent, or do you just take a pass.
With Donald Trump, the Hillary alternative is even more offensive, so it’s hard to consider that an option. But with Stace, it depends on who the opponent is.
Russell Graeff is the Democrat in the race, a man Nelson has claimed is only serving as a placeholder. That’s not hard to believe, and regardless, Democrats may replace him anyway after Graeff appears to have been arrested for DUI on May 16th.
Maybe a better question to ask, is “will Nelson face a GOP problem?”
If Democrats replaced Graeff with someone with political experience and well-liked, the race could become competitive, especially given that Nelson is directly antagonistic with those who had supported him in the past.
Upon his entrance into the race, he openly attacked the sitting Senator Bill VanGerpen. From his abuse and public name-calling at Senator Bill VanGerpen, one would not have known that pre-US Senate, VanGerpen was his biggest campaign donor, and had jointly campaigned with him in the past.
Nelson has also taken after other legislators, at least one whom he accused of encouraging Caleb Finck to get into the race when he did the opposite. Nelson also attacked Jim Putnam, who had represented the area for years, and has gone after the two house members in his district enough to the point where they were openly in support of his opponent.
Going from his biggest financial supporter to the subject of Nelson’s public abuse in newspapers, its highly doubtful that VanGerpen will be lending any support to the Nelson campaign. The same goes for the House candidates, and most statewide and other elected officials. Does anyone think US Senator John Thune is going to want Nelson within a country mile of him, after Nelson called for Thune being primaried? I don’t think I even need to ask about Senator Mike Rounds.
The GOP does not provide direct cash assistance to candidates as they had in the past, which leaves Nelson’s monetary sources limited, which could crunch him for cash in the face of a serious opponent. For some, letting the seat go to a mildly ineffective Democrat may be preferable to backing someone who will be verbally abusive to his colleagues and causing the kind of drama that arose during his last stint in the legislature.
With the possibility Democrats could put someone tolerable in the race, Nelson may find that burning his bridges has only succeeded in isolating himself on an island of his own making.