Hildebrand abandons Varilek over gay marriage

It’s official. Steve Hildebrand, who recruited Matt Varilek to run for Congress has abandonded Varilek and decided he cannot support him because of their differences on gay marriage.

?I spoke with Matt at length after his editorial board interview yesterday and told him that I was angry with his position and that I could not help him anymore,? Hildebrand said Wednesday…Varilek termed it a ?private conversation? and declined to disclose what was said….Hildebrand was an early backer of Varilek and helped launch a Facebook page in 2011 that urged him to run for Congress. But his support for Varilek is over, he said Wednesday.

How could Varilek be so insensitive? What a shame… What is worse for Varilek is it’s becoming clear that the only people who realize there is a Democratic congressional primary going on in SD are the people he’s ticking off.

14 Replies to “Hildebrand abandons Varilek over gay marriage”

  1. Steve Hickey

    Is there any politico in SD more a genius than Steve Hildebrand? He knows politics, this state, voter data, electioneering and campaign strategy and how to win and I don’t think he cares what it takes to win. He strikes me as unhappy and angry, apparently he’s volatile (an article in the WaPo says so http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/31/AR2010033103675.html) but I think he is to be respected. He’s dead wrong on what constitutes good social/public policy but the Dems are fortunate to have him.

    If it’s true Verilek lost his support (and this isn’t just a Hildebrand posturing move to get his guy Verilek elected) then it is indeed a bummer for Verilek. It is not believable to me that a year ago Hildebrand didn’t vet him on this issue. Hildebrand is not stupid and he doesn’t strike me as a guy who would publicly make that mistake twice (remember he demanded a campaign donation back from Stephanie over this very issue.) Are we really to think he made that mistake twice by helping Verilek last year and forgetting at that time to see where he stood on the gay issues? No way. This is THE issue that dominates his life and he’s way to seasoned to find out a year later where his candidate stands on the matter.

    I think this was brilliant to get Verilek more in the middle where SD voters are. It doesn’t help Noem when middle of the road SDns have another option. Verilek is saying he’s not on the extreme left just as Noem is not posturing herself on the extreme right. As I indicated in the previous post, this positioning leaves Verilek room to evolve later.

  2. Steve Hickey

    Thanks for the link Tom, it would appear it was an oversight that it was excluded.

    You reported Noem had no comment. No surprise. No one would suppose her views had changed. She can’t really say “I agree with my opponent.” Perhaps she could have said his position is soft and these guys are evolving after getting elected on this issue. But, best to give no comment.

    That day at the Argus Leader Barth might have been sitting right next to him but Verilek was speaking with his sights set on November, not June.

  3. Doug Wiken

    If Varilek is going to say something muddled, he might as well keep his mouth shut. He failed to make the distinction between state civil “unions” and religious “marriage” rites. Politicians have no business messing with the religious rites, but the civil rights are fair game for discussion.

    Despite Varilek’s endorsements and experience, this is a major unnecessary blunder on his part. It is the same old same old Casper Milquetoast blundering and pandering attempt that has made the SD Democratic party a pale shadow in the sand.

  4. William

    IS Gay Marriage really a “deal breaker” with the majority of the South Dakota Democrats (not the party, but the folks that actually vote for them)? Is Gay Marriage truly the primary issue for the general election? If it is, the Democrats may have even fewer elected officials than they have now.

    Even GOP candidates can’t win statewide without the support of Independents and cross-over Democrats and they start off with a larger base. How can a Democratic candidate expect to win if they ONLY appeal to its base?

  5. Doug Wiken

    Civil unions and even “gay marriage” should logically only influence about 5 votes in SD. The GOP and some Democrats would prefer discussing (muddling) that instead of complex issues regarding the economy. I have no clue why Varilek wanted to open this can of worms. It is not a winner in a Democratic campaign and is likely to make zero impact for a Democrat in the general election.

  6. Tom Lawrence

    Noem’s staff tells me the three requests for comment were lost in a spam filter. Rep. Noem replied today and we updated the story online. Here is the change:

    Rep. Kristi Noem said she agrees with Thune.
    “I continue to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,? Noem said in a statement e-mailed to The Daily Republic Friday.

    1. smokin' aces

      Thanks Tom! I wonder if her spam filter also caught the Argus and KELO’s attempt to get her response regarding her Ag Committee meetings?

  7. Dr. Jekyll

    Was it not also Mr. Hildebrand who advised the Heidepreim campaign? That didn’t turn out so well. Hildebrand may have South Dakota connections but he does not understand or respect how out of touch with the majority of South Dakota voters he is. Losing him costs the November result zilch–unless it helps.

  8. Just Call Me Joe

    I’m not making any moral judgment on the issue, but it likely will be a vote loser for Obama on a national level – I’ll bet he wishes he wouldn’t have been pressed into fully “evolving” his view by Biden, before the election – of course even as a vote bleeder, there’s a fair chance on a nationwide basis Obama will still prevail. But here in SD, it is such a vote loser – I doubt if Varilek can be elected have taken this postion. I can understand where Hildebrand might take the view that it’s just a waste of time to work with him further. Not that I hold it against Varilek, either, for being candid on his views, though if he really wants to be clearly on the record on the issue, at least he ought to be clear….