Election Analysis – In District 3 Senate Race, is Democrat his own worst enemy?

I noted with some amusement yesterday that District 3 Democrat Senate Candidate Cory Heidelberger continues to perseverate over the recent forum where the attendees chanted for him “GET OUT” and cat-called “He’s making a speech,” as others seemed to rush over to him in a menacing manner.

It was an incident that I don’t know I’ve ever seen the like of in state politics, where a crowd disliked someone so intensely that you would not have been shocked to see someone throw a punch. I certainly can’t say when the last time I saw someone rush out of the crowd to call someone speaking from the audience a “son-of-a bitch.”

You know, it’s not one of those situations that reflects well on a candidate.

As one reader, a former elected official, pointed out to me, it was akin to a conservative candidate going into a PETA meeting eating a turkey leg and questioning attendees’ relations with their mothers.  It basically was the political equivalent of throwing a rock at a hornet’s nest.

And that never ends well for anyone.

But coming back to Heidelberger’s actions, I think he’s made the 4th or 5th post on his website droning on ad nauseum on why they were wrong, and he is right as if it’s going to change anyone’s mind. I don’t suspect that those who agree with him are going to change their minds, and neither are those who attended, yelling “GET OUT” like he was a clergyman visiting the Amityville Horror House.

His “I’m right and they’re wrong mantra” isn’t going to change people’s minds, but what it does remind people of is what some may term “the poop show” over his not liking how they spoke about what he wrote.

And it brings up the basic fact that as a candidate, Cory is his own worst enemy.

If you look back on his extensive writings, you don’t have to look very hard when he’s run roughshod across the grain of what a majority of South Dakotans would consider as their values.  For example, at the start of 2013, Cory was seeking a sponsor for a bill for an important problem he felt needed to be addressed.  The lack of condoms in high school.

Hey, South Dakota Legislature! If you can consider House Bill 1087 to keep kids safe, then surely you can round me up a sponsor for this public health and safety bill:

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to authorize individual school boards to create, establish, and supervise individual school prophylactic programs to promote sexual health.


Section 1. Any school board may create, establish, and supervise the distribution of condoms in such manner and according to such protocols as the board, in its sole discretion, may believe to be most likely to protect the school, its students, its staff, and members of the public against the threat of unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and any other risk associated with sexual activity.

Heidelberger (D)
Heidelberger (D)

Cory wanting to be South Dakota’s Condom Kingpin to distribute rubbers to “the school, it’s students, and staff” isn’t the kind of thing that’s going to attract anyone other than the most liberal left to his campaign.  It’s certainly not going to be a magnet issue for church attendees.

And the condom thing is where the list starts. I don’t have enough space to point out how far out he goes leftward on taxes, taxes, and more taxes, Obamacare, abortion, death penalty, right to work, and calling expressions of faith in God disgusting.

If we’re comparing the candidates in the District 3 State Senate election you have to put the record of Heidelberger, a man who has already been labeled as “the extremist at your front door,” against that of his opponent, Representative Al Novstrup.

Novstrup has been in the legislature for some time, and has handily turned aside several tough challengers. Cory? Well… not so much. After filing to run for office within 2 weeks of moving to town, he dropped out the week before the election, after people had already been voting absentee for several weeks.

Best Picture of Al Novstrup 2012
Al Novstrup (R)

Unlike Heidelberger who moved to the city in the last 16 months or so, Novstrup has lived in Aberdeen most of his life. Novstrup is a long-time area businessman who formerly had a computer business, and has been associated with the Thunder Road Amusement parks across the state. Heidelberger? According to his campaign finance form, he claims he earns his keep as a blog writer, and works occasionally as a substitute teacher.

Al Novstrup is member of a local Church, and has supported parochial schools in the legislature. Heidelberger is an avowed atheist, who has permitted an atmosphere of anti-Catholic rhetoric to flourish on his website, and at least in one instance talked about Catholics like they’re all conspiring together.

And that’s where the list of differences start.

Could I possibly be wrong? Sure. But if you believe that, explain to me how exactly do these words and deeds attract a significant enough portion of the electorate to achieve success on election day? Because I certainly don’t see it.

With views that put him farther to the left than a majority of most South Dakota Democrats, it was hard before to see how Heidelberger had any path forward in his election.

And now that’s he’s unnecessarily inserting himself into events and causing a ruckus simply because he doesn’t like how people characterize what he writes, that path forward seems far more narrow than the rocky path was before.