Former State Senator Neal Tapio has a fairly long facebook post tonight where he lays out his interest in running for both US Senate and Congress. And while he notes he’s a Republican, he also seems to be laying out conditions if Republicans want to avoid him running as a third party candidate:
The particular portion of Neal’s statement I’m referring to is where he says:
Many South Dakotans have encouraged me to run as a third party candidate. I am a Republican. I would only run as an independent if I felt I was treated unfairly in my Republican Party.
As a lifelong Republican, I would expect all representatives of the state and local parties to be completely fair and above board. Any favoritism would be looked at as grounds for a possible independent bid in a general election. I would expect access to state and local voter data as has been provided to Dusty.
Further, attempts to limit head to head debates would be grounds for a possible independent bid in a general election.
Issuing an ultimatum that “Any favoritism would be looked at as grounds for a possible independent bid in a general election” in a primary is … well, it’s an interesting demand to make of the people involved with the party.
Because, isn’t that the point of a political party primary? To convince the people who make up the party to get on board your specific campaign train and to get them to play favorites? And most candidates really like it when they can get people to admit that they like them. and to declare “I like the candidate. I really, really like them!”
As a precinct committeeperson, I know I’ve been asked for my vote and my support in races. I mean, that’s what campaigns are about.
And at what point does Neal intend to forbid open support? If he’s going to wait until he’s in and filed, what about those who have already pledged support? Because right now, there’s only one Republican who is actively campaigning for the office in the House race. Neal’s last statement just this last weekend was that he’s going to be forming an exploratory committee.
I know a lot of Republicans who don’t tend to be fence sitters when it comes to political campaigns. And there are many who are already declared that they’re all in and supporting the current Republican officeholders. If Neal is saying they can’t do that, that’s kind of tough to walk back.
I suppose there’s an element of unfairness about it, but that’s the point of challenger campaigns – the challenger is running to get people to change their minds.
And if Neal feels that he has to run as a third party candidate because he thinks state and local party people are playing favorites… well, that’s what happens in campaigns.
No offense to Neal, but he’s going to have to do what he’s feels he’s got to do. And if that involves abandoning the GOP because he feels that they like a Republican who currently has the office… well, I suppose he can do that. Which will leave Republicans to do what they’ve got to do.
And by the GOP’s track record over the past couple of decades, what they’re probably going to do is to run hard and win.