With regards to former Democrat Mayor Mike Huether, upon his abandonment of the Democrat brand that helped his rise to power in South Dakota’s Largest city; I had a thought last night.
If he’s going to shed the Democrat brand and go independent in his ambitions for higher office, as he declares himself a moderate in conservative South Dakota, where is he going to draw his votes from?
If I think of Mike Huether that way…. I can’t help but think of a Republican who went independent, Larry Pressler.
Pressler had been more conservative (in addition to having had a lot of people vote for him over the years), yet in his race as an independent, with far more statewide name ID, and a very long history of people voting for him, he could only place third in the US Senate Race. In fact, if you look at this chart from Ballotpedia…
Running as arguably the independent with the highest name ID in State history, Larry Pressler could not move past 20%. And more importantly, what he did do was steal votes from the Democrat in the race, Rick Weiland. If Weiland could have had Pressler’s votes, he would have been within 10,000 votes of Rounds, instead of 60,000.
With Mike Huether, you have a lesser known candidate, with no statewide campaigning experience; now former Democratic Obama Delegate self-identifying as a moderate. I can’t envision a scenario where he steals votes from any well-defined Republican candidate in deep red-state South Dakota.
But what he does do – and we in the GOP should love this – is fracture the voting bloc of the opposition. Let’s say we have a race for Congress as follows…
Certainly, Republican advantage. Dem is generally an unknown quantity, but there is a generational component for Dem nostalgia, coming as the son of one of their prior candidates, so there could be some excitement generated in Dem circles. The Dem Party (or it’s current empty shell) would get behind their candidate, and might even get excited about him… as opposed to the current crop of what they have to offer.
Now, throw Huether into the mix.
Mike Huether is not going to pull votes from the Republican. In this, and almost any case, with Huether in the contest, I would argue that Huether causes the race to go from Republican advantage to Republican certainty.
I argue that Huether splinters the vote enough that he becomes their ultimate spoiler. He isn’t conservative to draw off those who rail on about “the establishment” from the Republican candidate. For Democrats, he’s about as establishment as they come, and may draw off the few remaining business oriented Democrats, and those Dems who otherwise reject the Bernie Sanders wing of the SDDP.
I don’t see any scenario where he can pull out a win. His only possible road forward is to act as the biggest spoiler that Democrats ever saw. And (borrowing from Ghostbusters) he has become the “form of their destroyer.”
Agree? Disagree? Think he can somehow pull Republican votes running as a “Moderate former-Democrat?” The floor is yours.