I was reading the Argus Leader Election State legislative “analysis” this morning ….if you can call it that…. and you have to wonder if anyone bothered to notice that this analysis lacks a basic understanding about how state legislative races work in South Dakota. As well as completely failing some basic fact checking.
Why do I get the distinct feeling that they don’t understand how state house races work? It takes only a glance at this analysis to see that there’s something wrong with it.
Take a look at their charting. For example:
A recurring theme is that they have District House races broken out into two separate contests. Guys, I hate to the the harbinger of bad news, but they’re not two separate contests. At all.
It’s a single race with two seats at stake.
It’s not Bootz v Dennert and Bricoe V Kaiser. Bootz is not running against Dennert. She’s running against Dennert, Briscoe and Kaiser. And the top two vote recipients in the race win the election.
Their odd division of the contests is illustrated further with their snapshot of the Brookings District 7 House Race:
Not only does the Argus erroneously break out Hawley from the other two running in the house, it calls him unopposed. So, explain to me exactly how is Spencer Hawley unopposed? While he might wish it were so, he’s running in the exact same race as Brandt & Tim Reed. They are his opponents. He’s NOT unopposed.
(The Argus’ analysis is awful in this contest anyway. It’s not going to be remotely competitive. It’s going to be Reed & Hawley, but that’s my 2 cents worth).
And they do it again in District 19:
They have Schoenfish as unopposed, with Mentele and Peterson in a separate contest. Same as above. They’re all in the same race.
I’d say that this was bad enough, but it gets worse. Their other faux pas? The story shows that they don’t understand what an incumbent is. As found in the dictionary…..
Now that we’ve established that incumbent means people who currently hold the office, let’s see how the Argus uses it:
The problem with everyone they note as an “Incumbent” in this list? None of them actually are.
In each and every instance above, the people they have noted as incumbents are actually House members who are running for a Senate seat. Yep, Novstrup, Wiik, Stalzer, Bolin, Russell & Jeff Partridge are all House members looking to cross over to the Senate.
Don’t believe me? Click on their names, and see for yourself.
I’m not sure how someone could get so many basic election facts so wrong, as well as not bother to even look and see what offices some of these candidates currently hold. But when it came to basic fact checking and editorial oversight, it’s as if the overlords at the Argus looked at it and said Whatever. Leave me alone, time for another bicycle article.
I won’t get into the part where they claim races are going to be competitive when they’re not, and completely miss the swing on a few races that the Argus gives a “not likely” when the races are actually going to be extremely competitive. Whether races are going to be competitive or not are a matter of opinion based on experience, knowledge, insight and fact.
Not that we get evidence of that from this badly flawed mess that purports to be authoritative political analysis.
I see they’re in the middle of a rewrite putting House races together. We’ll see if they figure out which races actually have incumbents.