Have we already reached the summit?

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.

39 Replies to “Have we already reached the summit?”

    1. Anonymous

      Thank you for the link to the GOP Platform Scorecard. It is obvious that the former Democrats (Rausch, Lust, Rhoden, Cutler, and Kirkeby) are, in most cases, more dangerous to the conservative movement than the democrats who have the courage to register as such. Look at the votes, not the rhetoric and name-calling.

      1. Jammer

        The TEA Party should begin at the bottom of each list and begin cleaning out the RINO’S. This is a total embarrassment for the South Dakota GOP. Get rid of the RINO’S.

  1. Anonymous

    The tea party is nothing more than a vehicle for some religious nuts’ egos. Or as we say out west, all hat, no cattle.

  2. grudznick

    If Mr. Howie hadn’t overgodded us back in 2010, the TEA party would be a vibrant, conservative group with a huge accumulation of good ideas today. The TEA party may yet be saved, if they can use their own shoes to pound out the crazies in their heads.

  3. anon

    Bingo!! Excellent post, Bill… I’ve said all along that Howie and his band of wingnuts is the best thing to happen to South Dakota democrats in years.

    They come to Pierre and throw their fellow republicans under the bus every chance they get, screaming RINO at the top of their lungs.

    What they don’t get, is that most republicans are still reasonable people that aren’t going to support their brand of extremism. They go after the seated republicans, win a few, lose a few, but give up more seats to the dems than they gain in the big picture.

    When will they realize that the folks they label as Rino’s are a whole lot more conservative than the dems that sneak in the back door. They must have learned their tactics from the NRA.

    1. Crap

      when these life long democrats change their party registration to run as republicans, it does not make them republicans!

      i am changing my name to angelina jolie, well there you have it! i am now angelina jolie! wait a minute, same old me in the mirro and what the heck do I do with the extra 60 pounds she doesn’t have?!

      you can put crap between a bun and call it a burger but its still crap no matter what you call it.

  4. Winston

    The Tea Party will be the Republican Party’s undoing. The mad scientist
    has created a monster which is out of control.

    1. Jammer

      The Republican Party is in danger of being their own undoing. A well run and active TEA Party based upon TEA Party principles of:

      Constitutionally Limited Federal Government
      Fiscal Responsibility
      Free Market Capitalism

      Is the best hope for the Republican Party.

      The “monster” in the room is the far left progressive movement that has already been the undoing of the Democratic Party and yes it is out of control.

  5. Anonymous

    When I vote it is more important to support conservatives than Republican or Democrat. If a person is a Democrat but has conservative beliefs and reregisters to run as a Republican I will support that person.

    You don’t hear me complaining about Noem attending Daschle’s victory camp when she was younger do you? I wonder if she was brainwashed? I still chose her over SHS.

    All of this talk about Republicans rather than values is amuzing.

    1. Anonymous

      Good point about the Daschle camp–maybe that is where she learned to vote in the Legislature to take all the stimulus money South Dakota could get, then attack Stephanie for also voting for the stimulus. Coupled with farm subsidies, there is quite a bit of hypocracy with Kristi.

  6. lil wayne

    Don’t blame the tea partiers for a lack of candidates. The blame should be squarely on the back of the state GOP. I can see not running candidates against Frerichs and Bradford since they’re both reasonable and fairly conservative,but to give Buhl a free pass 2 cycles in a row in inexcusable. She is ultra-liberal and a weak candidate. The scorecard thing is skewed because of missed votes. Which in itself (missed votes) is a good reason to vote against her,just like it’s a good reason to get Abdallah out.

    1. Anonymous

      Can any of you talk Kathy Miles into running against Buhl as an Independant? A very conservative Democrat, Kathy would be a shoo-in at the general election. Switching parties to run after he lost in the primary worked for Jim Bradford and I’d love to see Kathy do the same thing.

        1. Les

          When you have the votes you need, why take out seat filler who can’t compete for your pork?

          The Dems get nothing, except Obama’s affordable health care. Oh well, SD state income tax come 2014. Any bets??

  7. Rick Sommers

    Actually, with all due respect to my good friend Lee, the last Repulican to win a seat in District 1 was Mike Jaspers!

  8. Clay Bill

    “…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 didn’t know the Tea Party had taken over the management of the state GOP. Did Tony Post move back to Minnesota?

  9. Anonymous

    Go Tea Party! Outing the RHINOS is a noble cause, even if they are the “leadership” of the GOP in Pierre.

  10. Anonymous

    Between us the SD GOP didn’t do as well as I had expected in candidate recruitment for a group that inherited 50 house and 30 senate seats.

    The Dems did even worse but they actually had to recruit many many more candidates.

  11. Troy Jones

    I think a good thing is happening (more in the GOP) but overall good.

    The GOP is conceding three Senate seats and 8 house seats. The Dem’s are conceding 10 Senate seats and 11 house seats.

    Net GOP +7 in the Senate and +3 in the House before the first vote is counted.

    What is also good is the GOP has alot of primaries (I think primaries are good in whole because name ID is enhanced by primaries).

    On the Senate side there are 12 GOP primaries. On the House side there are 15 GOP primaries.

    This compares to the Dem’s only having one primary in the Senate and two in the House.

    In short, I have the following comments:

    1) Good job to both Post and Nesselhof to recruit so many candidates.

    2) There has been alot of talk about who are good Republicans or RINOS. These primaries are going to put it to bed because in the end the primary voters will decide that. In particular, the primaries I identify as illuminating:

    Senate (the other primaries appear on the surface as not as defining):

    District 4: Begalka vs. Sibson
    District 9: Hubbel vs. Peters
    District 20:Sibson vs. Vehle

    House (might be more as I am not that familiar with West River dynamics):

    District 10: Haggar, Haggar & Munson (the Tim Johnson acolyte)
    District 14: Abraham, Hajek, Tornow, Zikmund
    District 19: Hofer, Nelson, Putnam, Schoenfish
    District 30: Behlings, Bies, Russel, Thompson

    1. Bill Fleming

      Heard this morning on a talk show the idea that the GOP (nationally) is no longer a “conservative” party but has instead become a “radical” party. As per Troy vis a vis South Dakota, it looks like we’re about to find out.

      1. springer

        Wonder which station you were listening to, BIll??!! The conservatives have been considered radical by the lib networks for a long time now. Nothing new here.

      2. Anonymous

        Yes. The democrats have long believed that it is radical to believe that the Federal Government is limited to enumerated powers. The Constitution was written by old, racist white guys, right?

  12. This is . . . MMMMMYYY Country

    Grab your coffee an enjoy this mornings post from Gordon. http://www.rightsidesd.com/?p=9438 Note first how his graphic tells us to vote conservative but the graphic includes a british flag back drop. Next he thanks his vast media audience for working hard and being responsible for 27 republican primaries all because of his statewide efforts to recruit conservative Christian candidates. There were 18 in 2008. We can thank redistricting for 6-10 more this year and yes we have a few challenges coming from his friends. But by and large the facts don’t bear out any of his claims. Take District 10, are we to believe Former Sioux Falls Mayor Dave Munson is among these conservative Christians responding to Gordon’s statewide candidate recruitment efforts by challenging a conservative independent like Jenna Haggar in a primary?

    1. John Carter

      Gordon had nothing to do with Munson running in D-10.

      You’re being a dolt. You might as well have said that he recruited her dad to run against her.

      How about you confine your comments to something you know about ? Such as attention deficit disorder, perhaps.

  13. The Watcher

    I don’t see the Tea Party as responsible for the huge number of candidates. I also do not see the State GOP as having a hand in the numbers.

    There are a good share of first time candidates that are Glen Beck followers and others that are concerned citizens who are fed up with the status quo.

    As for District 15–Jenna Haggar ran as an Independent. She was not recruited or supported by the GOP–though she did attend the GOP convention and individuals did give her campaign $$. There is still time for someone to run as an Independent in the District 15 Senate race. There are no Republicans running in the house race there either but there is still time for an Independent to run.

    Angie NEEDS an opponent–she has been very careful how she votes at the state leg. level because she doesn’t want anything to come back to bite her later. If the GOP doesn’t want to deal with her later–then they should be looking at those Independents to challenge her now.

  14. Troy Jones


    Your comment always amuses me (not you but the fact I hear it all the time.

    Reality #1: Much of what is called “radical” by the press was the norm even 20 years ago and in many cases is held up in direct expressions of the voter, eg gay marriage. Radical by definition in this context is “thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms: a radical change in the policy of a company” or “favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms: radical ideas; radical and anarchistic ideologues.”

    Reality #2: What is often called “mainstream” by the media is a concept as early as 2009 when President Obama spoke at Notre Dame with regard to protection of the religious conscience of Americans. Who would have imagined what is being proposed and how can it not be “radical?”

    Reality #3: There are a few Dem. legislative candidates and assert they are “radical relative to traditional historical Dems. Just to name a few in Sioux Falls definitely are “radical” by traditional standards (Angie Buhl, Susan Randall).

    Finally, IMO, the victory of a few of a “new breed” of Republicans listed above doesn’t make the party necessarily more “radical.” Instead, it is symptomatic of a phenomen both parties are struggling with- “statism.” For those on the right, it is a willingness to use the government to prohibt certain social behaviors they consider “immoral.” For those on the left, it is a willingness to use government to prohibit certain economic activities they find “immoral.” And, in both cases, they are willing to sacrifice individual freedoms to achieve their goals.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.