Neal Tapio laying out conditions if Republicans don’t want to see him run as Independent.

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.

48 Replies to “Neal Tapio laying out conditions if Republicans don’t want to see him run as Independent.”

  1. Mike Verchip

    Let Mr. Tapio run as an independent .He must think acting like a punk and threatening the party makes him look like a big deal .

    1. Anonymous

      He is just a stalker of Trump. He is only trying to mimic Trump’s refusal to tow the party line in a primary.

      I’m sure we all remember the threats.

      I’m fine with Tapio running as an independent. Get Billie in the race too. Then billie can win and we can blame Tapio. Then we can elect a conservative and one that is sane two years later.

    2. Neal Tapio


      What I love is how things are twisted by Establishment Republicans protecting their conflicts of interests.

      For example.

      Let’s say an officer of the Republican Party, or one of it’s affiliate organizations, is also on the payroll of Dusty Johnson’s campaign. Then let’s say, hypothetically, he (or she) uses her position with that organization to help the Dusty Campaign.

      I would think that would be addressed. Failure to properly address that issue would be considered an unfair advantage.

      See, there are many of us Republicans that don’t like how the Republican Party could be used to benefit certain candidates.

      I’m sure you would invest a year of your life to compete on an unfair playing field.

      I won’t.

      1. Pat Powers

        Neal, I can’t help but notice that your statement is a pretty thinly veiled poke at my daughter.

        Yes, she worked for Dusty in the last campaign. I’m pretty sure she is on the payroll taking stickers to parades and flyers to dinners now. And between those dates she ran for and was elected state CR chair.

        If a 5’3″ college girl with a snarky attitude is an unfair advantage, every candidate would have one.

        I’m pretty sure party rules permit Sydney to work for Dusty, and we want college republicans to be involved. There are a couple hundred of them out there, and they are ripe for recruitment.

        If you decide to enter the race, go speak to CR’s, and recruit yourself some college kids like everyone else.

        If you’d like to get in touch with the chapters, I’m sure you could reach out to my daughter in her role as CR chair, and she’d be glad to put you in touch with the CR chapters. Her main goal is to connect CR’s with campaign jobs, so it would be a good opportunity.

      2. JP


        It may be wise to not publish vitriol about college students. It sends a bad message, and pushes your future base to either leave the state or continuously vote against you.

        This may be surprising to you, but the 24,000 vote gap between you and Dusty in 2018 wasn’t caused by the aforementioned 5′ 3″ college girl with a snarky attitude.

        It was most likely due to your obsequious obsession with President Trump, and the lack of anyone below 40 who could support a ground game.

        Food for thought: Change the populist tone and maybe relax a little bit. The fabricated crises and stress may give you headaches.

      3. Anonymous

        Then don’t. I mean no one cares if you run or not other than you.

        Even Donald Trump doesn’t know you exist.

    3. Neal Tapio

      People that register as Republicans are the party.

      The small group of people, and so many are awesome people, have been out of touch with the people in the party.

      If you haven’t noticed, the “party choices” haven’t done so great.

      Remember “Jeb!” and “Mittens” and “the Maverick?”

      The people in the party elected “our President,” Donald Trump.

      You know, “the Chosen One.”

      1. Anonymous

        Did you really just write this?

        If you have any friends in this state I hope they can talk you down off the ledge you are on right now.

      2. Anonymous

        And by Trump calling him “the chosen one” Neal is why true conservatives are fleeing the Republican party. They no longer want to be affiliated with this buffoon and his white supremacy.

    4. Anonymous

      He can run as an independent all he wants but the general election is not his strength. Dusty has successfully played the middle. It is an empty threat. Democrats will run a bad candidate who gets 27-32% of the vote. Dusty will get over 50% and Tapio will get the rest.

      The only way threatening to run as an Independent does any good for Tapio is if Billie or Stephanie (or an unknown with huge potential Kasey Olivier) enter the race.

      Unless one of those two runs no one cares if he runs as an Independent. Dusty with his pandering to the middle would welcome that.

      Tapio needs a small concentrated electorate in a primary and a weak dem to win anything. He also needs some lucky breaks.

      Running as an independent in a general only waters down his 30-45% in a primary to 15% in a general.

      He clearly lacks any sort of strategic thinking needed to win. He is more of an impulsive confrontational yeller than a deep thinker with a long game strategy. Lots of self destructive noise and little plan. No attention to detail and the attention span of a nat.

      Hey look – squirrel.

  2. Anonymous

    Tapio does bring up a good point. Rounds has not announced.

    Rounds announced for US Senate in 2012 his first go.

    Rounds staff can deny it all they want but many people question if he will run again.

    I hope he does because he is a good man but they are certainly leaving the door open that he will not run.

    1. Anonymous

      I would not be surprised to see Kristi or Daugaard running for Senate in 2020. I would also not be surprised to see Rounds running or not.

      Daugaard would be a good one term place holder for Kristi until she is term limited as gov.

    2. Pat Powers

      On the post, I notice Glodt posted that Rounds is 100% in and campaigning, and just holding off on the ‘official announcement’ for a while.

  3. Dwight

    Funny, wasn’t he the one who Punk’d Shantel with his own third candidate late entry?

    Lots of blow from a guy who placed third. Channeling his inner Stace Nelson I guess.

    1. Anonymous

      Is Tapio just smoke and mirrors? Pay attention to me. Over here. over here! He says. So many outlandish things.

      A challenge to Dusty will likely happen and Tapio will be involved (maybe just on the fringes) but he will be attacking Dusty and taking the attention while someone else emerges as the actual candidate. It will be someone who can self fund the entire primary, does not have all the baggage, is reasonably connected and can get Trump’s and broader support.

  4. Anonymous

    Conman. Tapio is a conman. The funny thing is that we all have short memories. Tapio has been the conman for a very long time. Tapio weaseled his way into the GOP in 2003 and used the affiliation to get attention. Fast forward 15 years later and Tapio is doing the same thing. He is not a serious candidate (as proven by his weak campaign in 2018). His campaigns have always been about what Tapio cares about the most… Tapio. So, everyone take a look at Tapio, because Tapio is making noise. Look at the baby. Look at the baby. Now let’s get back to work.

    1. Anonymous

      He has been angling for a long time.

      I hope someone better than Tapio runs as I don’t want he or Dusty.

      Maybe a better candidate can emerge? Ravnsborg?

    2. Neal Tapio

      This comment is from Rob Regier. No need to be anonymous, Mr. Never

      Do you think you’ll be able vote for President Trump, even though you think he is a disgusting human being, that he is a horrible role model for your kids, that isn’t a real Christian and that he is a racist?

      I suppose you don’t care either that there was fraud in many state government programs and it was completely covered up?

      1. R2

        Are you a supporter of Trump’s Red flag proposal or more background checks? How about all the RIN waivers? Are you unconditionally supporting your President on these issues?

        I like most of Trump’s policy, but do not agree with him 100% of the time. Your posture of being a Trump clone reminds me of the cartoon with Spike and Chester, Chester being the little terrier barking up a tree puffing himself up mimicking the larger bulldog Spike.

        Dusty is about exactly where he should be for South Dakota, he’s not a Chester.

        1. Neal Tapio

          Wow, Rob Regier. Sounds like you are in favor of a policy discussion.

          Before we begin, could you help explain what a RIN is for the people reading at home. Maybe explain the complexities of the system, and maybe how RIN’s are manipulated.

          Then maybe address why the EPA regulates CO2, and tell us why that is a horrible (or maybe you think it is a good) idea.

          Of course, I am sure you know I was the Membership Director with Growth Energy, of which POET is the largest member, so I would assume you know I know what a RIN is..

          1. R2

            You didn’t answer the questions.

            The whole premise of your campaign is we need an unconditional supporter of President Trump. I’ve named two policies he has either supported or enacted. Explain your unconditional support of these two policies.


            1. Neal Tapio

              Hi Rob Regier!

              Wow. You should run for political office. It looks like you are living up to your promise to expose me for the fraud I am.

              What else you got up your sleeve besides making comments on a website run by a Dusty Johnson supporter and partisan campaign operative that does large amounts of campaign work for the South Dakota Republican Party?

              But I digress…

              You asked me a question…

              My previous questions were to explain my background in supporting South Dakota farmers. Your questions could be construed as my loyalty would be to President Trump instead of my future constituents.

              Now I understand your real question is whether I would ever disagree with the President.

              Let me explain. For instance, you told me that Trump is basically a horrible person. I just don’t agree with your assessment. It is apparent that is how John Thune has looked at our President. So, too does Dusty.

              That is fine. I don’t begrudge you of your opinion. What I dislike is slick politicians don’t tell us their true opinions in order to get elected.

              I simply believe we have a completely broken system and it takes someone that is willing to break the system in order to fix it. Dusty believes, as one of 435 Representatives, he can fix it from the inside the establishment system.

              Just tell us what you believe. Be honest. Why is that so difficult to understand?

              Now, specifically, to think two people will never disagree with each other is ludicrous. However, I promise you, I believe having a strong supporter of our President in the US House would be very beneficial to South Dakota for the next 6 years of Trump’s presidency.

              I am so impressed with Governor Noem. She was able to get to know President Trump. She vocally supports him. She doesn’t publicly criticize him. Now that she has a relationship with him built on trust, I promise you, this is good for South Dakota.

              This is I can tell if our elected Representative is a supporter of President Trump. When talking to Democrats and never Trumpers, do they allow critics to claim President Trump is a racist, a xenophobe, a homophobe or an Islamophobe. Or do they correct them?

              That simple.

              btw. Your question on ag policy is simplistic. But I don’t have time to explain that to you on an obscure website. You’ll have to tune in to the 90 minute debate just on Ag and trade policy.

              1. Pat Powers

                “I don’t have time to explain that to you on an obscure website.”

                Well, that’s kind of harsh.

              2. R2

                So we have come to the conclusion Neal Tapio, is ok with NOT supporting President Trump at every turn. That is interesting to hear.

                How about you provide us examples of actual bills where you would’ve voted different than Rep. Johnson (besides the wall emergency vote).

                Let’s keep this on substance.

              3. Jeff Lassle

                I would love to hear this debate especially on trade where I’m sure Neal has zero expertise in. I would be disappointed if Neal flaunts the Trump misrepresentations of trade issues or as I like to call them, the Trump Follies or just another Trump conspiracy theorem instigated by Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro, et al.

                When is the debate? Where? Who is in the debate?

  5. Lee Schoenbeck

    Senator Rounds had a fundraiser in Rapid and has a full time campaign staff already. He’s in and he will win
    Dusty is a perpetual motion machine, always moving and always working. He will win in 2020
    Anybody that wants to can run, and it’s their decision whether they want to run with a political party or not. Unless the 5-7 zip code was moved to a gulag somewhere, no threat will line up any significant number of free thinker South Dakotans – especially unruly GOP conservatives.

  6. Anonymous

    PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT….voters don’t like getting manipulated. Get professional help, Mr. Tapio!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Neal Tapio

      “Voters get manipulated?”


      You create such entertainment while I am working out!

      So I would assume you would not support a political system that rewards insider power brokering? Or uses Federal grants to line the pockets of former government employees and legislators?

      Would you think sharing that information is “manipulating the voter?”

      Just curious.

  7. Anonymous

    Neal Tapio Nation and Shad Olson Nation have united to become a galactic force to be reckoned with encouraged by my good friend Lar. Lar is always trying to split the vote.

    1. Neal Tapio

      “Neal Tapio nation?”

      Keep trying to marginalize mainstream Republicans who want a fighter to take on the broken system.

      You are just like the loons in the Democrat Party who continually use the ostracizing words, “racist, xenophobe, homophobe, Islamophobe and antisemite.”

      Every person who watches Tucker Carlson, Fox News and loves President Trump knows your game.

      The gig is up.

      1. Anonymous

        Neal don’t get all defensive and over react. Neal Tapio Nation entirely depends on the groundswell of support that you get and believe in in shared goals. Time will tell if you’re campaign gains traction and you can build a nation of passionate supporters to the cause.

        Relax! Breath in. Breath out!

      2. Anonymous

        Why do you want to be called all those negative words? Just because you need attention? There are other ways to get attention that don’t require making a fool of yourself.

      3. Jeff Lassle

        Neil, mainstream Republicans don’t agree with the Trump folly of protectionism on trade as Donald Trump has done, kowtowing to the union sector of the Democratic party as the reason for such nonsense. Protectionism was abated following the 1930 Republican disaster called the Smoot-Hawley Act of tariffs that threw the country into the Great Depression. Mainstream republicans also do not go after the Muslims, as a whole during a campaign. Much of the man you adore, Trump, is not of mainstream conservatism and why many have left the party except for states like South Dakota where far right conservatism reigns. Yes, Trump was amusing and funny at first…but he’s gone too far and today is not fit to hold that office. He also ordered American companies to look elsewhere other than China for their supply chains and what is called a command economy or in essence socialism.

  8. Anonymous

    Tapio would need $250k-500k for his campaign and $500k-$1 million from outside dark money to have a chance.

    Or one Trump endorsement.

    Dusty got the outside money help last time.

    Dusty is a hard worker and good fundraiser. He would be hard to beat but I’m sure there are 35% that will not vote for him. Preventing the GOP from coalescing around Dusty is probably all Tapio is capable of. But that would likely have long term ramifications.

  9. Neal Tapio

    Much closer to 45%. Just to start.

    Do you know how many people have told Dusty they will never vote for him again?

    Trust me. They call me.

    Also. The same anonymous people that claim I have no chance claimed I would get 4% of the vote last election.

    But who knows? I’m sure if Dusty is confident of getting 75%, he won’t mind a fair and level playing field and policy debates as well.

    Have a good day!

    1. SD Republican

      I hope you know a large number of people calling you does not give an accurate representation of how many people are truly “Never Dusty”.

      Maybe Dusty deserves a primary. A little competition is a good thing and we know the SDDP won’t put up any. But the guy who got 3rd last time is probably not the best choice. Personally, I’d like to see someone who thinks a little less of himself.

    2. R2

      Back of the napkin figuring, 20 of your 49 itemized donations last cycle were from out of state. The un-itemized were statistically irrelevant and the bulk of the campaign you had to fund yourself. Your in-state support is marginal at best.

      Put up some numbers or get a reality check.

    3. Anon....

      Trust you….. they guy who comes onto a political website whos base you need to vote for you and bashes anything negatively said about you while sounding like a 4th grade bully wearing a tin foil hat. Trust…..sure….. you do realize these comments are in no way helping you, right?

    4. Anonymous

      I hope you get 45%.

      That would provide sufficient entertainment, a blood bath but still make you a loser.

      A real Tapio.

  10. Anonymous

    For someone who claims to be so rock-solid in his politics, Mr. Tapio is rather wishy-washy when it comes to running for something. Make up your mind and get on with it.

  11. Anonymous

    Tapio is just laying the groundwork to cry about not getting a fair shake from the Republican Party. His primary campaign will be anti-establishment because “poor me” couldn’t get invited to a Lincoln Day Dinner. I think victim politics is better suited for the Democrats. Maybe Tapio should try to sell his wares with the Dems and leave the GOP alone.

  12. Anonymous

    As Neal put it, as a fellow SD’an I encourage and advise him not to run for any office again. Ever.