Daugaard picks Nelson for PUC

Breaking News:

This morning, Daugaard announced he is choosing outgoing Secretary of State Chris Nelson to replace Dusty as PUC commissioner.
Good choice.  Chris is a proven public official.

71 Replies to “Daugaard picks Nelson for PUC”

  1. PennantChaser

    Honest to God, I did not see that one coming. I like Chris, he is a great guy. But I wouldn’t think he would be interested in the PUC.

    I guess I was mistaken.

  2. Arrowhead

    I do not like this pick. Could one of these people please get a job outside of State Government?

    This is nothing but CRONYISM. I am appalled at the decision.

    I was ok with his son and son in law (I don’t know why) but now it is rediculous.

  3. Arrowhead

    I just want to say that Chris is a great guy and I really like him. I however voted for Kristi Noem in the primary because she was a better candidate at the congressional level and also because I don’t want State Government to be a persons career.

    So the reason Chris Nelson was not the nominee is because we don’t want career people in politics.

    for 25 years he has only worked in Pierre. Good man – absolutely but this is rediculous.

  4. mhs

    Arrowhead, when you’re talking about staff folks, I tend to agree. Chris, however, ran and won his seat year after year and will have to do so again for the PUC. You can’t compare winning elections to a career bureaucrats: he stood up in front of the electorate and won. That’s democracy, not cronyism.

  5. To mhs

    Regardless of whether he is elected or not having a person in government for the majority of their adult life is not good.

  6. DDC

    This is hilarious. Democrats said over and over during the primary how dumb Republicans were for not picking Nelson to run against Herseth Sandlin (while saying they would have probably voted for him) and now they’re blowing a gasket that he was picked for the PUC.

    This is a great pick. Chris Nelson is the very definition of a public servant and will be a great leader for the PUC. The fact that he’s an “outsider” in the utilities area makes him an even better pick. It’s a lot better than picking an industry insider that inevitably leads to regulatory capture.

  7. caheidelberger

    So, Arrowhead, you want government run by amateurs all the time? Ah, that would be the Palinocracy… or maybe Mongolia. (cue hate mail from Mongolian Anti-Defamation League.) I’m with “mhs”. Nelson is a proven, effective public servant. We want people in government who are good at government.

    And Derek, yes, you Republicans did choose poorly in picking Noem over Nelson. He’s much more knowledgeable, qualified, and authentic. I’m not blowing a gasket over his appointment. (And the PUC and Pierre are already captured by industry. You’ll need to elect Dems to fix that.)

  8. duggersd

    I do not know whether Chris Nelson will be a good PUC commissioner or not. But then I do not believe we really have a good idea of how a person will do, but we have a good idea of how they did do. Chris Nelson has a good track record in state government as an elected official and is probably a good choice. My understanding is if he decides he would like to continue as PUC commissioner, he will have to run again in 2012 to win the remainder of the term. That should be fair enough. By that time we will know whether he is a good commissioner or not.

  9. Steve Sibson

    “And the PUC and Pierre are already captured by industry. You?ll need to elect Dems to fix that.”

    Cory, and DC is also captured by industry and the Dems own the White House and had control of both chambers of the legislature…so how can you say the Dems can fix anything?

  10. Anonymous

    The big question is whether we’ll have 6 years of moustache, 6 years of no-moustache, or whether Chris will split time and pander to both.

  11. Anonymous

    ip, you ignorant slut, do the words “suspended imposition of sentence” mean anything to you? If not look them up

  12. Voter

    When we heard the news about Dusty yesterday we went over the possibilities of Dusty’s replacement and Chris Nelson’s name came to the top of every list. So will he take Teresa Bray with him or will Jason Gant keep her on?

  13. Anonymous

    This was nothing more than taking care of our own. I’m sure this is exactly what the voters wanted when we voted for new blood.

  14. insomniac

    I don’t agree with this decision. Chris Nelson didn’t win the congressional primary because while we were thankful for his service (and like him as a person) we thought he had served long enough. Get off the Government teet.

  15. John

    Did anyone really beleive anything would change in Pierre when Doogaurd got elected. To the victor goes the spoils. I do like Chris’s stache though. The 80’s porn look is really retro!

  16. Troy Jones

    If Chris isn’t a good pick, I’d like someone to tell me one name of someone who:

    1) Has the proven confidence of the people to serve them, via electoral success
    2) Has the proven track record of fairly administering the public trust
    3) Has the intellect to execute the duty of PUC Commissioner.
    4) They think has or might have the desire to serve in this position.

    Public service is a thankless job, especially in positions where the only news is when you screw up. All the days you do right go by with nary a thank you.

  17. Dave R

    I think Nelson will do well. I do think the Republicans could use a deeper bench and that it would be good for some of them to spend some time in the private sector – of course, if they did that, the Dems would cry “revolving door” with industry.

  18. Duh

    I would have loved to see someone new at PUC. The main thrust of Nelson’s demise in the primary was in most part to his being part of the establishment. Nelson’s approach to the primary, in that he barely ran, barely advertised that he stated that he’d get a team together after he “won” the primary, stinks of self entitlement. The same thing that sunk Barnett in the Gov race. I’m sure there are many people just as qualified but didn’t get the nod. Then again, who knows who made Dennis’ short list.

  19. John

    3) Has the intellect to execute the duty of PUC Commissioner.

    Too bad we didn’t use this standard for a Congresswoman! Leave it to Troy to point out the elephant in the room.

  20. Duh

    John: The best woman won. Look what intelligence has done for us lately. How’s that HOPE working for ya? It sure has helped the GOP.

  21. Arrowhead


    This is called taking care of your friends when they don’t win an election. If Bray had won the SOS spot Nelson would have been her deputy. If Nelson had won the congressional primary he’d be in congress… Maybe.

    What I don’t like is that the Nelson dish was rejected twice this year and here we are getting serve a third helping. Nelson is a good man and he has the credentials to work in the private sector or in a cabinate level position with Dennis. It’s nonsense that he was just appointed to this.

  22. Anonymous

    One thing I agree with is the how is he qualified to be in the PUC?

    People can say Jackley, Barnett or Gant didn’t know anything about the offices they chose to run for but they took their message before the voters and the voters overwhelmingly agreed that they were the best choice for SD.

    Nelson probably wouldn’t have won this seat at the GOP convention against some other really qualified candidates. Nelson is getting this because politicians take care of their own.

  23. John

    I’m happy about this pick. Chris Nelson and Dusty Johnson are the two Republicans I actually like and will vote for. I was concerned about who Daugaard would pick, but this was definately the best choice in my opinion.

    (I need to figure out a new name to post by here because there’s another John who also seems to be a liberal. I’ve sometimes used “The Other John” but I need something better than that.)

  24. insomniac


    Nelson was an uninspired pick. Talk about sad. This is a terrible day for the Daugaard admin. Family and Nelson all in one day.

  25. MacGregor

    I had hoped that Daugaard would choose Chris for PUC. He’s a fine, honest man, a good public servant, and the best pick I could think of. Congratulations Chris!

  26. MikeH

    Daugaard had to pick someone. Who should he have picked?
    Aside from picking someone who ran for the office and failed, there was no one that meets your criteria of a candidate that the voting public chose. You can call it crony-ism, but Dennis needed someone he knew could fill the role in a public sector. Chris is experienced with holding a public office, and is a very effective public servant. He will do great.

  27. PLEASE

    How can anyone be surprised by this? Anyone who knows Chris knows that he was hoping to be picked as the Lt Gov. Beside I think that between Dusty and Dennis this person had been picked to fill this post for quite sometime. I do not think that it was a big surprise to Dusty that he was chosen as the Chief of Staff. This way they could keep any other Republican from running for the PUC and they could control that seat.

  28. CaveMan

    Unequivocally Chris Nelson is the most honest person to ever hold a constitutional office in SD. The court case against the Pro Life group proved that. The PUBLIC will be served very well and we all should rest easy tonight knowing full well that the interests of all South Dakotan’s will be front and center in all of Chris’s work in the PUC!!

  29. The Rebirtth of Chris Nelson

    Chris is a good man. End of story.

    New story. Chris didn’t win his nod for the primary. These offices have term limits for a reason.

  30. Musical Chairs

    How many people play musical chairs for these constitutional offices rather than retire after they have served their state. It’s not about a job.

    I’m glad George Washington realized that. It’s time the folks in Pierre did also.

  31. I disagree


    I think Russ Olson, Shantel Krebs, Tim Rave, Todd Schlekeway or anyone of a number of legislative leaders would have been a great choice.

    Why not pick a citizen legislator rather than a career government employee?

    What is conservative about a politician who doesn’t ever turn down a government job?

    By the way it’s not Nelson I’m upset with it’s the people who pulled someone from government who had just been retired. Appoint him to a job not an elected position.

  32. no name

    Nelson – the same Nelson that penalizes Republicans and cow tows to Democrats? The man readily eats his own but when the Dems say “boo” he cowers…Oh, this is going to be just great!

  33. Anonymous

    Well I think this is a great pick. As Daugaard said today, Chris has been elected twice by the people, and he showed at the Sec of State office an ability to be fair and impartial – even when it was politically unwise.

    And I don’t understand how you can accuse Daugaard of “cronyism” with this pick, unless you define cronyism as “any Republican.” I’m not aware that Daugaard and Nelson are particularly close.

  34. Les

    “”I think Russ Olson, Shantel Krebs, Tim Rave, Todd Schlekeway or anyone of a number of legislative leaders would have been a great choice”” Remember 10:25, Dusty testifying in DC? Chris will steadfastly pick this job up and plow through the details. The devil is in the details and I trust Chris to get them in order for his future testimony in support of our states best interests.

    Thanks Dennis for choosing the right man for the job, not the right man just for the politics!

  35. Get-a-Clue

    Troy, Whoever said Chris had great intellect? He disdn’t demonstrate any great intellect or impressive political savvy in his failed race for the House. This is just another lightweight Repub being taken care of by the Gov. Really nothing new.

  36. Reabilitate public servants

    I don’t particularly care for the choice. I think Chris Nelson is a great public servant but eventually those who serve their time in office must eventually step aside for the next generation of leaders. Chris is a good person and did a great job in the SOS office for the past two decades. I am thankful for his service but I like to believe that eventually the people we elect will go back into the private sector rather than look for another public office.

    It is almost like we need to reabilitate our public servants in this state at the end of their terms so that they are able to function again amongst those who work in the private sector.

    We have term limits for a reason and it’s not so they can office swap.

  37. Anonymous

    Chris Nelson is a great person. I however would have encouraged Dennis to go in another direction.

    There are two paths in our party. One is that we elect someone with new ideas and energy to our public offices and the other is that we elect someone who has ran before and brings experience.

    However here we are not really talking about experience relating to this office we are talking about political experience.

    Since those are the options I would have gone with someone different. As a conservative public service isn’t meant to be a career it is meant to be a portion of life. We give and then we make room for the next person.

  38. Duh

    $20 says Nelson had NO other private sector jobs lined up and came to Dennis with a donation cup and got it filled. I’m a diehard GOP’er but not blind. I’m drawn towards leaders, those that I am amazed by, those that I aspire to be like, those that capture my attention and respect. Nelsen isn’t one of them.

  39. Stace Nelson

    @DUH Chris has a large farming operation in rural White Lake, and was fully able and ready to kick things into high gear.

    (Click my link above for my address to send that $20)

    Find me another leader that epitomizes JJ DID TIE BUCKLE better than Chris, and I will send that $20 back to you.

  40. Duh

    “JJ DID TIE BUCKLE “?? Not exactly the private sector job I was thinking about, i.e. business oriented as a spin off from SOS. Very well then.

  41. MikeH

    It is a Marine thing.

    JJ DID TIE BUCKLE = Justice Judgement Dependability Initiative Decisiveness Tact Integrity Enthusiam Bearing Unselfishness Courage Knowledge Loyalty Endurance

    Sounds to me like you still owe Stace that $20.

  42. Stace Nelson

    @DUH We would all be better served if you threw it in the mail to Chris Nelson for PUC 2012 😀

    @MikeH My General Orders are hazy; however, somethings a broken down old Marine will never forget. 😀

  43. mhs

    Stace: haven’t had a chance to say congrats yet, you worked you butt off and won. Way to go.

    I grew up in the school of politics that says you reward your friends and punish your enemies. Chris is supremely qualified in the art of drawing a balance between allowing free enterprise and protecting the public that the PUC position requires. He’s a loyal hardworking party stalwart so he gets the nod, period.

    p.s. no name: The word is kowtow. Cow tow is lassoing the bull to the pickup to drag it back to the barn.

  44. John

    John: The best woman won. Look what intelligence has done for us lately

    Duh- Are you saying that the Republican Party is the Part of the uneducated? “Elect us we are more studid than the Democrats!” Should be proud to be on that team!

  45. ip

    “No party ties,” Stace? You can fool your own voters in this thread if you have the stomach for it. Are you hung over or starting early this morning?

  46. Spartan76

    to all you democrates that think that the Republicans are stupid because we picked Kristi over to Chris to run against SHS, ah who won the election? Clearly Kristi was the right choice. Can’t believe how stupid some people are.

    Now on to Chris. This was a great choice.

  47. Stace Nelson

    @IP I spent 1985- Nov08 serving this country outside of South Dakota, with 18 of those last years serving overseas. Other than family and friends, nobody had a clue who I was when I agreed to run in January.

    I have the stomach for a lot more; however, out of good manners, I will refrain from eating your lunch further out of respect for the holiday..


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