Numbers 40-11

This list is a compilation of those who made a substantial impact in politics during the past election and is made up of people we see having considerable involvement in the political world over the next several cycles. The list represents elected officials, activists and staff members. Obviously it is not a perfect list, but it is the way several of us saw the last election and forsee future elections. We tried to restrict the list as much as possible to people the age of 40 (or under). There were too many good people to stick with 40 names, so a few are combined.

40. Ryan Budmayr ?Budmayr was a staffer for Daugaard during his campaign for Governor and currently serves as Dennis Daugaard?s scheduler.

39. Jenna Haggar ? She won in District 15 in Sioux Falls with over 40% of the vote in a 3 way race. Hagaar has been very active in Sioux Falls GOP politics and with pro-life initiatives.

38. Lance Hildebrandt ? Hildebrandt worked on the campaign of Scott Munsterman in the 2010 Governor?s primary helping deliver a strong second place showing by the Munsterman campaign. Hildebrandt also helped get Larry Tidemann elected in Brookings and is currently working as constituent service representative for Congresswoman Noem in Watertown.

37. Andrew Christianson – Christianson worked for Noem?s election campaign during the final couple of months and is her current legislative director.

36. Kristin Conzet ? Appointed to the legislature by Governor Rounds in 2009. Conzet won her own term in 2010 and represents district 32 in the state house with Brian Gosch.

35. Justin Rollins ? Rollins served as Jason Gant?s campaign manager during the 2010 SOS election. He currently works for Gant in the SOS office.

34. Jessica Arends ? Arends took over as Noem’s Finance Director after the primary ended. She inherited a well run-machine from volunteers who organized Noem’s primary campaign and continues to raise sizable funds for Noem’s reelection.

33. Will Mortenson ? After serving as Dusty Johnson?s campaign manager and helping him win over 70% of the vote during the 2010 cycle, Mortenson now serves as a policy analyst for Governor Daugaard.

32. Aaron Lorenzen ? Last year Lorenzen was appointed to fill the vacancy of County Auditor in Faulk County then ran for the position in the November election winning over 70% of the vote. Lorenzen was then hired to serve as Election Supervisor of South Dakota Elections in the SOS office with Jason Gant. Chris Daugaard ? Epitomizes the kind of person Dennis and Linda would raise. Daugaard was very active on many levels during his father?s election and has been a great ambassador for his family during the primary and through today.

31. Tony Post ? Though new to South Dakota as the new ED of the SD GOP, Post is known for his skilled work in the election of Congressman Chip Cravaack in Minnesota?s 8th congressional district and his organizing skills with the Minnesota GOP.

30. Quentin Riggin?s ? ?Q,? as he?s become known as to his friends, is an active member of the 2002 and 2004 victory campaigns and delegate to many conventions. Q was elected as President of the South Dakota Young Republicans at the 2010 GOP convention in Huron.

29. Eric Fahrendorf (former Chair Lincoln), Josh Haeder (Chair Beadle), Drake Olson (Former Chair Minnehaha), These three county chairs worked very actively with candidates through the primary, convention and general election. They made a strong impact when it came to getting the right people nominated in June. It was very striking at convention that we had so many young people stepping up to leadership roles in our party.

28. Brock Greenfield – At Greenfield’s young age, it’s hard to believe he’s been in the legislature as long as he has. Greenfield has served in the Senate and is currently serving in the State House. He is also the former Executive Director of South Dakota Right to Life.

27. Jason Lutz ? Lutz was a constituent service rep for Senator Thune. Following the 2010 election Lutz began serving as Deputy State Auditor for Steve Barnett. Justin Ohleen ? A former staffer to Vice President Cheney in the Department of Homeland security, Ohleen returned to work for a short time as political director of the SD GOP with Lucas Lentsch. Ohleen currently serves as the Deputy of School and Public Lands under Jarrod Johnson.

26. Mike Lauritsen ? His presence has been a staple of GOP politics since Beth Hollatz was interim ED of the SD GOP following the 2004 election cycle. Lauritsen has become a go-to guy for legislators across the state.

25. Joshua Shields ? Kristi Noem?s campaign manager during the 2010 general election. Shields now serves as Noem?s Communications Director. Prior to working for Noem, Shields ran Blake Curd?s congressional campaign during the primary.

24. Deb Peters ? Senator Peters tends to stay more low key than some of her fellow lawmakers who are presumed to have greater ambition. She holds a CPA and for a time was discussed as a potential candidate for Auditor last election. The discussion now tends to focus on whether or not she will enter the National Committeewoman election since Mary Jean Jensen is widely expected to step down.

23. Casey Phillips ? Phillips has had a very active career in politics working for the Republican State Leadership Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Phillips is a welcome sight at GOP events in Sioux Falls or at GOP conventions.

22. Justin Cronin ? Cronin ascended through the ranks and became Assistant Majority Leader in the House of Representatives when Kristi Noem left to run for Congress. He is 1 of 3 officials from legislative District 23 to currently hold a leadership position in the State Legislature.

21. Matt McCaulley ? A former legislator, McCaulley is an influential lobbyist and has considerable influence in conservative politics.

20. Sam KooikerA veteran of Rapid City politics, Kooiker had previously served on the city council until he was elected Mayor earlier this year in an upset victory over incumbent Alan Hanks.

19. Tony Venhuizen ? Venhuizen served as Dennis Daugaard?s campaign manager during the 2010 election. He also serves as the Governor?s Director of Communications and Policy. Venhuizen helped deliver over 50% of the vote in the primary election and 60% of the vote in the general. Jordan Stoick ? A surprise choice to serve as Noem?s Chief of Staff following the 2010 election cycle. Stoick has a strong reputation around the state and in DC.

18. Ben Ready ? Largely considered by many to be the first person Noem asked to be her State Director, Ready continues to serve Senator Thune as his economic advisor. Ready?s influence goes beyond his job title; he also carries considerable weight with GOP activists across the state.

17. Bob Gray ? Gray stepped in to the SD GOP Chairman role succeeding Karl Adam after the 2008 election. Gray?s first move as Chairman was to make Lucas Lentsch Executive Director. Gray has been a veteran of political activism and his knowledge was a great asset in rebuilding the SD GOP into a true force.

16. Lucas Lentsch ? Lentsch led the SD GOP to historic victories in 2010. As Executive Director, he rallied the troops after the devastating election of 2008. Lentsch was relatively unknown in most political circles at the beginning of his tenure beginning in 2009. After the GOP feared losing the Senate in 2008, under Lentsch?s leadership we regained supermajorities in both legislative houses.

15. Jarrod Johnson ? Johnson is a solid guy and a hard campaigner. In 2010, he didn?t have a credible opponent so he didn?t need to campaign much. Since he will be term limited in 2014, we are left to wonder what is in his future? Johnson is someone who has potential for higher political office.

14. Shantel Krebs ? She certainly was on the radar screen as a potential congressional candidate in 2010 before taking a pass. Krebs is a current state senator and the former Vice Chair of the SD GOP. She is considered by many to possess the skills needed to run as a serious candidate for statewide office.

13. Steve Barnett – I ?m not sure a candidate could come from farther off the radar than Barnett did when he entered last year?s convention primary. For his first political race he faced off against the gracious former first lady Patricia Miller and Representative Tim Rounds. In the general election, he faced off against Julie Bartling who had many years in elected office behind her. Barnett was a former constituent service representative for Senator Thune.

12. Dan Lederman ? It is impossible to be more active in SD politics than Lederman and would be foolish to look at the future of politics in SD and not expect to see his name mentioned as a potential candidate for statewide office. Lederman represents District 16 in the state senate.

11. Corey Brown ? Brown is a hard guy not to like. He is Assistant Majority Leader in the SD Senate and represents District 23. Brown chose to seek elected office in 2006 following his service in the military. Brown also serves his hometown of Gettysburg as Director of Economic Development.

83 Replies to “Numbers 40-11”

  1. caheidelberger

    Who’s “we,” Hans? And what exactly did Jenna Haggar achieve in the legislative session that makes her so influential? Is he really any more influential than fellow freshman conservative Patty Stricherz?

    And Tony Post? Zero influence in South Dakota so far. Is he even living here full-time yet?

    It sounds to me like you’re just fishing for attention from various Republicans, thinking that they’re waiting with bated breath for DWC’s stale endorsement.

    1. anonymous

      Hmmm… Tony Post is the ED of the SD GOP and you wouldn’t want him on a list of influential Republicans in SD? Maybe people don’t know him but if I know people in South Dakota as well as I think I do they will give him a chance. He could fizzle or do great.

      And Haggar won a district handily that few people thought was possible. Now there was a wave but she also was a reason she won.

    2. duggersd

      So make your own list and post it on your blog and let everybody read it. Oh, wait. There is a reason you posted on this one. It is the only way you can get someone to read your posts.

    3. anon

      Cory was going to publish a list of the 30 most influential democrats, but he decided against it…..too embarrassing!!

  2. Anonymous

    Bill –

    Ignore Cory. Didn’t I hear that that during session the object of his affection Stricherz was asking how much the state was spending to heat Capital Lake?

  3. caheidelberger

    He’s already ignoring me… and ignoring most commenters… and obviously struggling to win back some credibility that DWC only imagines it had in GOP circles. “I know! I’ll write a butt-kissing post naming all the Republicans I can think of. Then they’ll like me and buy ads!” Shill on, Hans.

  4. Officer McClain

    If I had a french-speaking, sweater vest wearing “dusty johnson-lite” monkey nipping at my heels, I’d ignore him too.

  5. Too bad, so sad.

    Cory is upset that he’s losing the few readers who migrated to his website over the past few months.

  6. Stace Nelson

    Some great names; however, a huge shining star is missing from this list in the form of District 25 Representative Jon Hansen. Pound for pound one of the hardest campaigners out there. He won his seat handedly over a popular Democrat incumbent, in one of the larger legislative districts. More importantly, his record indicates that he not only talks the talk but walks the walk.

    Sen. Corey Brown is one of the sharpest people in a group of very sharp people.

    1. anon

      I met Hansen and was also impressed. Most of the people on the list appear to have been active on a broad scale minus a few influential legislators. I have no doubt that we will be seeing Hansen’s name on lots of lists one day.

      And yes Corey Brown would be my choice for Congress the next time there is an open seat… If this guy was from a populated area I bet he would have no doubt made the top ten.

  7. Anon

    Did Corey Brown make the move ahead of Jarrod Johnson because of the appropriation hearing? OUCH!!!

    Jarrod could have a future if he starts lining up support.

    This list is a good thing because I doubt most people across the state know much about Corey Brown if they don’t go to Pierre for the legislature or live in D 23. Brown should be on a lot of radar screens.

  8. Michael Quinlivan

    Wouldn’t Chris Daugaard, by virtue of being The Gov.’s son, inherently epitomize who they would raise? I mean, that seems like some rather backhanded praise. If they didn’t have a son would you have nominated one of their pets? And Casey Phillips…oh boy, ask me about his old college band, Stuntcock, and his idea to wear a swastika armband if they ever played a live show, amongst many other goofy things he said and did. Eric Farindorf was a nice kid; always liked him.

    1. 73*

      Honestly can’t say I know anything about Casey Phillips other than the fact that he thinks he is a really big deal.

      Swastika’s on the arm is a quitter for me. But the kid has some pull some where or at least he acts like he does. It’s probably a little of both.

  9. anon

    “34. Jessica Arends ? Arends took over as Noem?s Finance Director after the primary ended. She inherited a well run-machine from volunteers who organized Noem?s primary campaign and continues to raise sizable funds for Noem?s reelection.”

    Don’t know her but to claim it was a well run campaign is a joke.

    1. Anonymous

      Hard to take you seriously as a critic of the Noem campaign if you don’t know her. (I don’t expect Arends to do much for anyone but Noem but she’s a competent person).

      Also I’m pretty sure the campaign in the primary that was a joke was Blake Curd and Chris Nelson’s.

      Noem won didn’t she? And the fundraising side of things wasn’t a joke since she outraised Nelson and almost raised as much as Curd (who gave himself almost $200,000).

      1. aspire

        I personally thought Noem’s primary campaign was better run than the general election campaign. The general was like watching a campaign that had everything to lose attempt to lose it. “How can we talk about speeding tickets a little more often?”

        I don’t think a lot of people expected Noem to beat Chris Nelson in the primary. I do think most people expected Noem to defeat SHS once she was dominating in the polls. Noem’s general campaign was mismanaged.

        1. Anonymous

          The biggest factor in the general election was Noem’s speeding record. That is what just about did her in. Her apponent, whether SHS or someone else, in 2012 will not have that to attack her with.

  10. anon

    omg, thanks for the list. i needed a laugh today. many good people listed but also some that are a joke outside of the far-right convention going crowd. a number of the people on this list deservedly will be around for years to come, a large number of them should do us all a favor and start mowing lawns for a living.

  11. Clockwork

    Lots of good people on this list. I would only argue with a few selections and they would probably argue that they should be higher than they are.

  12. Wow

    If Aaron Lorenzen is one of the top 40 people in South Dakota politics things are in a lot worse shape than I ever could have imagined.

      1. Wow

        Winning a “contested” election in one of the least populated counties in the state after being appointed to the position is an accomplishment? I fail to see how. There are a lot of other people doing much bigger things than working in the Secretary of State’s Office. It’s almost as if people believe working in the office of a Constitutional Officer in South Dakota is an accomplishment. Give me a break.

        1. What?

          His current success, say whatever you will about it, will carry him much further than your current bitterness. Your negative message will never win out in the end. Grow up.

          1. name

            You arguement makes little sense. Marty Jackley was appointed to AG in a Republican state also. So what. They both do a great job and deserve the credit.

            1. Anon

              Omg yet again, appointment as ag vs auditor in whatever county it was? Do you know what each office holder does or are they functional equivalents?

              1. Anonymous

                Regardless of office it is impressive that he would get the backing of a county commission and then garner over 70% of the vote in that county. (must have done something right) Oh yeah and he’s like 23 years old. Did I mention he is now Election Supervisor for the State of SD?

                Impressive resume for a kid his age.

        2. a

          I think a lot of people would like to work for a politician. Especially if they are close with the individual holding office.

          It’s a rare experience and I hope all young people who have the oppurtunity to serve an elected official and the state enjoy it.

    1. what?

      You don’t know what you’re talking about. Lorenzen has proven himself by winning a contested election for county auditor and now continually proves he has one of the hardest work ethics in Pierre. He has immense “staying power” and will be around for a long time if he so chooses.

      Furthermore, in a sector in which loyalty is very difficult to find, it can be found in Aaron Lorenzen.

      Next time, please think before you speak.

      1. anon

        He won a contested race for county auditor? This is your basis? Good golly. The problem with young people in a hurry is that they mistake success for something greater. Not everyone who wins a contested auditor race and works for a constitution office in pierre will rise up and be the next auditor for the state of south dakota.

  13. Mike Quinlivan

    Upon talking to Casey, I went to far in bringing up that story. What I remember from college, and what Casey did are to completely different things. I remember an offhand comment; and I probably misinterpreted it. Casey, I am sorry. While I suppose it looks as though I was trying to slander you, in no way was I. There are some crazy stories from college, but that is what it is. College hijinks. So, for the record, though I don’t think I said it like this, Casey never wore a swastika band at school; whatever was said in the conversation was probably either taken out of context or misunderstood. Lets be honest; band practice involves beer, even for those not playing (me). Beer inhibits the ability to, well, think. And I should have thought more before posting my little rememberance. I am sorry Casey, truly. It was dumb of me to post what I remember, like I said, was an offhand comment one time at a band practice where there was some beer ingested. I hope this makes it completely clear that I have no ill feelings or bad memories of Mr. Phillips. Although after my mistake I am sure he has some bad feeling toward me, which are completely my fault. Sorry to all.

    Mike Quinlivan

    1. Mom

      When you say “I’m sorry” too many times in one paragraph people begin to wonder if you have had too much beer–or if you are really not sincere in your apology.

  14. Duh

    The only one that was surprised that Noem beat Nelson was Nelson. He got beat by his own sense of entitlement and no sense of urgency.

  15. Anonymous

    Josh Shields, Andrew Christiansen and Jessica Arrend… Does anyone know any of them personally? I don’t know any of them and I was in the campaign office regularly… There were some really nice people in her campaign headquarters but I find it odd that those three are not very well known.

    (I guess I know Shields a little but that was mostly because of his days with Thune)

    Shantel should be higher on this list.

  16. grudznick

    My granddaughter said she saw that young Mr. Greenfield and his band Rude at the Clark potato days street dance this summer and he’s one of the biggest up and comers around that area.

  17. CaveMan

    You are close to giving it up Grud. Pierre coffee every morning, big breakfasting, and your granddaughteeeer sniffing Clark Co. boys at Potato Days? Yuppers!! They are flying…………………….

    1. grudznick

      Are you saying there’s something wrong with big breakfasting? I’m just asking, because my Dr. seems to think I should crank back a notch on the bacon, so you’d be the second fellow to give me that opinion in the last week.

      1. CaveMan

        Multi low carb meals with lots of veggies and protein. Just make sure the bacon is SD grown and not from the flying kind. That would make for good health Grud. But you are big, older than your years, and extremely smart. 🙂

  18. Anonymous

    Nice list, but is there no one on west side of the state that contributes? If I remember right Nome would have lost had it not been for the Republicans in Rapid City and the Black Hills area of this state.

  19. Troy Jones

    Alot of good up andd comers and very few never will be’s Good list. Ryan is way uder rated but for he his age, making the list is a great trivute.

    ps on phone and too hard to edit or use punctuation. hope u understand.

  20. Anon

    Amusing list. Not particularly difficult to figure out those behind it and perhaps easier to determine who is not behind it. Several don’t belong on the list at all, or should be lower. Should be interesting to see the top 10 – who is high and who was missed altogether.

  21. grudznick

    Who’s left for the top 10?

    PP, Gant, my potato buddy the young Mr. Greenfield, Johnson, Jones, the other Johnson, Clint and ??

    1. delegate

      Anyone specific who’s still involved? What have they done for us lately? Did they help Noem, Daugaard, Gant, Dusty, etc in 2010? People shouldn’t get to take cycles off and still be on a list. Lots of awesome people sat on their butts in the Noem v Sandlin race (unlike Thune ’04).

      People like Rattler could turn it on and immediately ascend the ranks if they get back to their old political selfs.

      But truth is most people are only active in politics for a couple cycles if it isn’t their election or their job.

      1. anon

        Russell would be a top ten name but he left the state and he’s been absent for a long time.

        Where do these guys go?

  22. Troy Jones

    If I had a “football” team with a 40 person roster, I’d go with this group all day long against a similar list from the Democrats and we haven’t even gotten to the “Top 10” which will include Powers, Schleckaway, Nelson (if he is under 40 as he is close), Holien (if he is under 40), Johnston (if he is under 40), & Johnson.

    I am having a hard time imagining how Gray, Cronin & Brown because they are leadership in the Legislature and Johnson as he is an elected Constitutional Officer. Not to slight those who make it, they are in my mind definitely “Top 10.”

    But in the end, it is a great list where whether one is in the top half or not, this team doesn’t lose much when the bottom half is “on the field.”

      1. Anonymous

        Before he was a Dem he was a Republican. Switched to Dem before taking on Ted Klaudt whom he defeated, Thank Goodness! He always had conservative views and is a hard worker. Glad he came back.

        1. yo momma

          Well unless maher makes up his mind he won’t be on a list of mine. I can see him running for school and public lands in ’14 but he needs to get to know the voters better so they are convinced his credentials go deeper than a political wind.

            1. PlanningStudent

              I thought Maher was going to focus on his business (having just bought the building he had been renting) and wasn’t going to run again..

  23. Anon

    top ten imho: Noem, Dusty, Brasell though he’s gone, Jackley, Lauck, Glodt, Venhuizen, Ryan Nelson, Gray, Lentsch

    How old is Jackley?

  24. Lee Schoenbeck

    I realize there is an age factor, but the most effective GOP organzation in the state year in and year out is run by Al Koistenon and Judy Trzynka —- the fine wine that should be on any list

  25. Anonymous

    I’d put Dusty #1 and Noem #2.

    Hey if Dusty had run for congress no one would have ever heard of Noem cause Dusty would have walked away with the nomination. I know I am right on that.