I say jokingly that the South Dakota GOP must have made the decision not to go on the offensive against the remaining Democratic Senators in our state. (Is there some kind of a mercy rule I am unaware of?)
Of the five who survived the 2010 wave, Jason Frerichs, Jim Hundstad, Angie Buhl, Billie Sutton and Jim Bradford, Republicans are only challenging one. Billie Sutton (District 21) who will run against John Meyer of Winner. Senator Jim Hundstad (District2) is term limited in the Senate, making him ineligible to seek another term.
That leaves Frerichs (District 1), Bradford (District 27), Buhl (District 15).
These remaining districts are heavily Democrat. Bradford had switched from Democrat to Republican in 2008, but for the 2010 elections he rejoined the Democrats.
When it comes to Frerichs, I believe we should have put a challenger on the ballot. Even if Lee Schoenbeck was the last Republican to win a seat in District 1 (mid 90’s). The sitting minority leader should face some sort of a challenger.
And then that brings me to my biggest disappointment – Angie Buhl going unchallenged. As a reader pointed out a couple of months ago, Buhl won a Democratic Primary in 2008 against incumbent Democrat Kathy Miles who Buhl felt was too conservative. Buhl recieved 398 votes to Miles 276, thereby winning the election with fewer than 400 votes because she was unnopposed in the general in 2010 as well. Now I would say this district was a waste of time and couldn’t be won, except for the fact that Jenna Haggar showed in 2010 that hard work, an exceptional candidate, and knowledge of the issues can win in that district.
But what truly bugs me is that certain members of the Tea Party (Gordon Howie) have been so focused on primarying Republicans they see as unfit that they allowed three Democrats to go unchallenged. I would have loved it if the energy behind Gordon Howie and his “Tea Party” would have gone to recruit a paltry three candidates to challenge the three unchallenged Democrats rather than focus all of their energy on creating primaries for incumbent Republicans.
The Tea Party is a great movement across this country, but some of its leaders in South Dakota have become severely misguided when it comes to understanding which indviduals truly oppose the causes they espouse.