Democrats choose Varilek

I don’t know if the Democratic primary for Congress was a blatant indicator that the candidates were uninspiring and that’s why turnout was so low, or if it was just a reminder of how out of touch Cory Heidelberger and his liberal friends really are. He might have been “95% sure he would support Barth,” but the 12% of South Dakota Dems who chose to vote in the primary were 72% certain he was wrong.

Varilek, 37, cruised to an easy victory over Jeff Barth, winning 72 percent of the vote with 624 out of 710 precincts reporting. Barth, a Minnehaha County commissioner, failed to win his own county.

One of the funnier quotes from the night came from Barth:

Barth said that his message didn?t connect with Democratic primary voters. But he said he hoped the campaign made Varilek a tougher candidate going into the general election.

Did Varilek really campaign that hard? I heard he sent out a mailer. If Barth did anything to strengthen Varilek, it was not creating a real campaign that made Varilek spend his fundraising. For that I’m sure Varilek is thankful. But then again, if that is the line of thinking Barth could have just dropped out…

Had I been giving advice to Varilek, I would have encouraged him to run a nice fluffy ad like Noem did in the primary to raise his profile in a positive way. It really helped Noem having 6-7 months of recognition by the average parade or fair goer across South Dakota from her TV commercials as she went from community to community over the summer and fall.

State Senator Angie Buhl joined the Heidelberger crowd and indicated how out of touch she is when it comes to liberal issues like support for gay marriage.

State Democratic Sen. Angie Buhl of Sioux Falls predicted that, had the primary occurred within a couple days after the exchange on gay marriage, Barth might have won. But during the next few weeks, the debates gave Democrats more time to evaluate the candidates on taxes and other issues.

But the bigger problem for Democrats was the enthusiasm gap and dreadfully low turnout. Maybe they need to bring back the chili feeds or oats for votes?

Maybe they need some real candidates? Or maybe they need to be more in tune with the South Dakota voters?

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