Did a former Senate Candidate just try to politicize a young man’s murder?

As I was writing about Dakota Free Press helping to scorch Ann Tornberg this AM, I couldn’t help but note this morning that former State Senate candidate Cory Heidelberger is actually trying to politicize the unfortunate murder of a young man:

We all know that Cory has a reputation for being a low person, such as when he attacked the grieving mother of Becky O’Connell, a child rape/murder victim. And now he’s back at it trying to politicize a young man’s murder, and connect it to the SDGOP because the victim works at the company the SDGOP Chair’s family owns, in another state?

That’s pretty disgusting.

Dems on Chair Ann Tornberg: “severe lack of management ability that has led to low fundraising, dropping voter registration numbers”

This morning, as we lead into the big Democrat event this weekend featuring Bernie Sanders Democrat Keith Ellison headlining the SDDP’s fundraising dinner, we’re treated to a public evaluation of Democrat Party Chair Ann Tornberg by members of her executive board.

Over at the voice-of-the-left website Dakota Free Press this morning, the extreme liberals of the Democrat Party are upset that Ann Tornberg hasn’t been able to move South Dakota leftward.  In fact, these members are so upset with Tornberg’s results that they’re not even trying to keep it in the family, or even civil, and are openly and publicly calling for a vote to throw Tornberg out of office.

And they have some choice words for the embattled SDDP Chair:

..we believe that the move to a four-year term for Chairperson has not served the party well and we should return to a 2-year term. Any person who finds success in the office would be able to run for unlimited terms of re-election but it would give us an opportunity to make changes in leadership when needed.

If these amendments pass, we intend to hold an immediate election.


As for the optics and the “politics” of it, we know this isn’t pleasant and it’s not fun. But, can we really be worried that the SDDP is going to get worse press than this? Do we really think the status quo is worth protecting?

We don’t hold Ann Tornberg responsible for all that ails the SDDP. She has tried her best, and for that we thank her.

What we do hold her responsible for is a severe lack of management ability that has led to low fundraising, dropping voter registration numbers, a nearly invisible message, and at the center, zero of anything resembling a strategic action plan for the State Party. The Executive Board has made numerous attempts to initiate strategic planning processes and set goals, which were either ignored, or misguided into “listening sessions” that fell on deaf ears. Many of your Democratic Party participating readers will likely share their own frustrations and experiences of Tornberg’s inability to lay out clear pathways to success despite her two years of trying.

Read it here.

What we do hold her responsible for is a severe lack of management ability that has led to low fundraising, dropping voter registration numbers, a nearly invisible message, and at the center, zero of anything resembling a strategic action plan for the State Party.”  WOW.

At the same time her old District 16 opponent, Dan Lederman, has taken over leadership of the SDGOP to good reviews, it sounds like the Democrats are disgusted, and looking to jettison Tornberg for running the SDDP into the ground.

They’re using some pretty harsh language, and when they state “The Executive Board has made numerous attempts to initiate strategic planning processes and set goals, which were either ignored, or misguided into “listening sessions” that fell on deaf ears,”  that’s a pretty damning indictment from Tornberg’s detractors of her inability to produce results, as she’s led the SDDP farther and farther to the left (as proven by her latest disaster, featuring Keith Ellison at the big Dem dinner.)

Although, it sounds as if this has been a long time coming, when they note the “frustrations and experiences of Tornberg’s inability to lay out clear pathways to success despite her two years of trying.”

With language like that being thrown around publicly, it could also be an attempt by those who want to move South Dakota leftward at a faster pace to damage Tornberg so badly that even if she has the support of a majority of the Democrat Party Governing Board, that she’s publicly ruined.  Even if they wanted her to stay, this might have been an attempt at a killing blow.

A big dinner this weekend featuring a speaker tainted with accusations of anti-semitism, fundraising for terrorists, and speaking in favor of convicted cop-killers, and a party meeting to oust a chair with “a severe lack of management ability?”

This weekend Dems might just have the most cringeworthy show in town!

Here’s who Ann Tornberg chose to be the face of SD Democrats… the same week of a Sioux Falls terror indictment.

Here’s who will be the face of Ann Tornberg’s South Dakota Democrat Party this weekend, only about a week after a man is indicted in Sioux Falls for holding up guns and making terroristic threats outside a Christian conference:

Rep. Keith Ellison faces renewed scrutiny over past ties to Nation of Islam, defense of anti-Semitic figures

Rep. Keith Ellison’s past ties to the Nation of Islam and his defense of its anti-Semitic leader, Louis Farrakhan, are resurfacing as he campaigns to lead the Democratic National Committee.


As recent as 2000, Ellison publicly defended violent, fringe elements of the far-left. He appeared at a fundraiser that year for domestic terrorist Sara Jane Olson, a member of the self-styled revolutionary group the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), which is best known for kidnapping heiress Patricia Hearst. Olson was apprehended in 1999 in relation to the 1975 attempted bombings of two police cars and the slaying of Myrna Opsah during a bank robbery.


Ellison also spoke favorably of convicted cop killer Assata Shakur and expressed his opposition to any attempt to extradite her to the United States from Cuba, where she had fled after escaping prison.

“I am praying that Castro does not get to the point where he has to really barter with these guys over here because they’re going to get Assata Shakur, they’re going to get a whole lot of other people,” Ellison said at the event, which also included a silent auction and speech by former Weather Underground leader Bernardine Dohrn. “I hope the Cuban people can stick to it, because the freedom of some good decent people depends on it.”

Read it here.

Accusations of anti-semitism, fundraising for terrorists, and speaking in favor of convicted cop-killers?  I’m sure he’ll fit right in at Ann Tornberg’s party for South Dakota Democrats this weekend.

Well, it WAS Bud Ice PREMIUM

From the Argus:

Police have identified the man who ran into a burning house — defying repeated orders from authorities — in order to save not one, but two cans of Bud Ice Premium.


He left, Clemens said, but then returned, this time ignoring the orders of the fire captain until he emerged with two cans of Bud Ice Premium.

Read it here.

Well, the can did say premium.


US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: A Moment Worth the Wait

A Moment Worth the Wait
By Sen. John Thune 

The University of South Dakota’s (USD’s) Derek Miles has been known for a lot of things over the years, including being a father, husband, athlete, coach, and Olympian, just to name a few. Now, nearly a decade after competing in the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, he will be forever and finally known as an Olympic medalist. While nothing can replace standing on the podium in Beijing, I think Derek would agree that getting to share this special moment with friends, family, and the USD community will be a memory not soon forgotten.

This particular chapter in Derek’s story begins in 2008 when he qualified for the men’s pole vault competition at the Beijing Olympic Games. It wasn’t Derek’s first trip to the Olympics either. He’d earned several top-three finishes at various events throughout his career, including the Olympic trials, but never at the Olympic Games. Derek competed hard in Beijing, but missed the podium by one position, placing fourth overall. Derek will tell you that he wishes he’d just beaten the third-place finisher outright, but he would eventually receive what was rightfully his.

It wasn’t until eight years after the Beijing Games ended that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reanalyzed samples and determined that the Ukrainian athlete, who originally placed third and took Derek’s spot on the podium, used performance-enhancing substances that gave him an unfair advantage. He was subsequently disqualified by the IOC for using banned substances.

After the IOC took action, the third-place spot belonged to Derek, at least on paper. While knowing he’d placed third was heartening, he was still missing something important: the medal that should have hung around his neck in 2008.

I’d followed Derek’s career as an athlete and then as a coach at USD, but I wasn’t aware that he hadn’t received his medal until I met Michael Phelps in Washington, D.C., earlier this year. He was in town to testify before Congress about the perils and challenges of performance-enhancing drugs at the Olympics. Phelps knows a thing or two (or 28) about earning an Olympic medal, and I was impressed that he was willing to fight for fellow athletes like Derek.

I quickly talked to my staff on the Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Olympic Committee and other athletic organizations, about Derek’s story. Shortly thereafter, I wrote to the IOC to try to help right this wrong. After some hard work and persistence by my staff, we heard from the IOC that it had located an authentic Beijing bronze medal and would send it to its rightful owner in Vermillion, South Dakota.

Derek exemplifies what it means to be a true athlete. He’s dedicated to the sport and to the men and women – young and old, present and future – who make it what it is. I’m so honored that I could play a small role in helping to close this long and unfairly open-ended chapter in his life.

Today, Derek is mentoring and coaching the next generation of potential Olympic athletes at USD. As for being a part of the USD community and living in South Dakota, Derek summed it up well: “Every time you turn a corner, there’s someone there that’s going to help you. Whether it’s your track coach, or your senator, or your representative bodies, or your family, or your friends, or your coaches – it’s truly fortunate to have fallen into this place, and you guys are probably stuck with me. I’m not sure I’ll ever leave.” I doubt I’m the only one who’s glad to hear that good news.


US Senator Mike Rounds Weekly Column: Undoing the Obama Legacy of ‘Government Knows Best’

Undoing the Obama Legacy of ‘Government Knows Best’
By Senator Mike Rounds

It has been three months since President Trump took office with a Republican-led Congress in place ready to help him advance policies that grow our economy and allow hardworking Americans to keep more of their paycheck each month. Almost immediately, we have been delivering on that promise by undoing a number of Obama-era regulations, regulations that take much-needed capital away from families and small businesses. Under the Congressional Review Act, the Senate has passed 13 resolutions undoing Obama-era regulations. The savings that come from undoing these regulations, combined with the president’s executive actions and formal rule delays, will save Americans more than $65 billion total in regulatory compliance costs and roughly 52 million hours of paperwork annually, according to the American Action Forum.

For example, we have been able to reverse the Obama administration’s education mandate, which would have imposed federal education standards on how to assess schools at the state and local level. We also stopped an Obama regulation that would have imposed burdensome new restrictions on internet service providers that did nothing to increase privacy protections for consumers.

In all, the Senate has passed 13 bills undoing Obama-era regulations under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), an important oversight tool that allows Congress to undo federal regulations issued by unelected bureaucrats at federal agencies. We expect to use the Congressional Review Act to undo even more regulations in the near future, further delivering on our promise to provide regulatory relief to the American people, who are currently saddled with $1.9 trillion in regulatory compliance costs each year.

The Trump administration has also been busy using the tools available to it to undo burdensome regulations. It put a halt to the overreaching Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, requiring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps to review the WOTUS rule to make certain it promotes economic growth and minimizes regulatory uncertainty. This is a victory for South Dakota farmers, ranchers and landowners who would otherwise be forced to spend countless hours filling out paperwork to get permits from the EPA and Army Corps just to conduct normal agricultural activities or spray for weeds along our county roads.

The administration was also able to stop the Obama administration’s costly Clean Power Plan, which would have required states to completely rework their electric grids and led to dramatically higher electricity bills for every single American in the country. It also reversed a harmful regulation known as the “fiduciary rule” that would have negatively impacted South Dakotans saving for retirement by limiting the availability of retirement investment advice.

I’m the first to admit that not all rules are bad – some rules are necessary for government to operate in an orderly fashion and to keep Americans safe. But too much regulation is costly and stifles innovation. Under the eight years of the Obama administration, Americans saw an unprecedented amount of new rules and regulations issued by unelected, unaccountable Washington bureaucrats. In 2016 alone, the last year he was in office, the federal register which prints all the new rules being promulgated surpassed 97,000 pages, by far an all-time record. This is unacceptable and unsustainable.

At the end of the day, overregulation hurts families the most because they are the ones forced to pay more for goods and services. As the 115th Congress moves forward, I will continue working with my colleagues on ways to provide regulatory relief for South Dakota families and businesses.


Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s weekly column: Protecting Life

Protecting Life
By Rep. Kristi Noem

I still remember the first time Bryon and I heard our oldest daughter Kassidy’s heartbeat. There was no baby bump – yet. No baby clothes in the closet. No name picked out. I’m not even sure how many people in our family knew we were expecting at that point, but with the rapid, muffled thuds of our baby’s heartbeat in the background, we knew our lives were already changed.

I believe every life, including an unborn baby’s life, has dignity and value.  But more than 40 years ago, the Supreme Court handed down a decision in direct contradiction to those principles. In the decades since, I – along with many in South Dakota – have been fighting to undo the damage.  While there’s still a long way to go, we’ve recently taken some meaningful steps forward.

President Trump came into office with a promise to nominate a Supreme Court Justice who would protect the constitutional rights of the unborn.  I’m hopeful the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch fulfilled that promise and I was glad to see him take the Oath of Office this April.

Days later, the president signed H.J.Res.43, which empowered states to defund abortion facilities, like Planned Parenthood. Now, states can instead choose to use this money to support non-abortion-providing clinics that offer greater accessibility and a broader range of preventive health care services to women.

In South Dakota, there are more than 100 federally qualified health centers or rural health clinics that could benefit from these funds, but only one Planned Parenthood center. To say that we must fund Planned Parenthood or deny thousands of women care is a false choice. We can support women’s health – and specifically, health care for low-income women – without supporting abortion providers. I was proud to cosponsor this legislation, which notably doesn’t take a penny from women’s health initiatives, and was thrilled to see it earn the president’s signature.

But more must be done.  Time and again, Congress has opposed taxpayer-funded abortions with bipartisan support.  Annual provisions, including the Hyde Amendment, have been passed repeatedly, saving an estimated 2 million innocent lives.  Even with this provision in place, however, Obamacare has allowed your tax dollars to flow to over 1,000 abortion-covering health plans.  That’s unacceptable. We need to make the Hyde Amendment permanent and government-wide. The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which I cosponsored and the House passed, would accomplish that.

Additionally, I’m working to protect doctors, nurses and others who don’t want to participate in abortions. In some cases, these individuals have faced discrimination and retribution for sticking to their principles. That shouldn’t happen. I’ve cosponsored legislation to protect these individuals and I’m fighting to see it pass the House and hopefully be signed into law soon.

Bryon and I knew our lives had changed when we heard Kassidy’s heartbeat for the first time and I hope she knows just how proud we are of the generous, compassionate person she’s become. She’s grown up quickly and I love to think back on those days when I was still taller than her.  We read a lot together back then.  One of our favorites was Dr. Seuss’s “Horton Hears a Who,” which reads, in part: “A person is a person no matter how small.”  Each time we read that line, I’d think back to those first muffled thuds.  “A person is a person, no matter how small.

Governor Daugaard’s Weekly Column – Earth Day: A Time To Celebrate SD’s Farmers And Ranchers

Earth Day: A Time To Celebrate SD’s Farmers And Ranchers
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard: 

In 1973, a woman by the name of Beverly Gabriel decided to leave her profession to get back to her roots. She had received a teaching degree from Black Hills State University a few years earlier and had taught in Rapid City and Wyoming. Her parents were growing older and it was becoming difficult for them to manage their two operations in separate parts of the state. When Bev’s father approached her about managing Blue Bell Ranch near Clear Lake, she readily accepted.

The year Bev took over Blue Bell Ranch she met Herb Hamann, who was out deer hunting with his brother. Herb saw Bev standing near the gate to her property and his brother introduced the two of them. Two years later, the couple married and began to jointly run Blue Bell.

Today, Bev and Herb continue to operate Blue Bell Ranch with the help of their children Breck and Arla. They’ve multiplied their land operation by almost eight times and they’re regarded by their friends and neighbors as being honest in their business dealings. The Hamanns are also known for their conservation practices.

Each year around Earth Day, the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, South Dakota Grassland Coalition and Sand County Foundation bestow the Leopold Conservation Award® upon a farming or ranching family for outstanding natural resources conservation leadership. The award is named for conservationist Aldo Leopold.

This year’s Leopold Conservation Award recipients are Herb and Bev. They demonstrate their deeply-held conservation ethic by taking voluntary action to improve the health of the land and habitat that sustains wildlife. The Hamanns have developed diverse native vegetation on the land, and they graze their cattle in a manner that considers ecological impacts to accommodate wildlife needs at critical times, such as nesting.

No one understands the importance of being good stewards of the land better than our farmers and ranchers. Their livelihoods depend on it. Because the vast majority of land in our state is privately owned, conservation efforts employed by those in agriculture are integral to the quality of our natural resources.

I thank the Hamanns as well as every farmer and rancher who is committed to improving the natural resources in their care. Their efforts ensure the preservation of our natural resources for generations to come.


Highlights from Friday’s Brookings Co Lincoln Day Dinner.

Sorry for the delay in posting these, but I had an open house yesterday, followed by a trip to pick up some camera equipment I bought (I’m always interested in Nikon stuff), as well as picking up and delivering signs. And then it was time for prom.

Suffice it to say, I had a busy Saturday.  But, I did get some of the processing work ahead of time, so I can get these posted without further delay:

Here’s US Senator Mike Rounds speaking with State Senator Larry Tidemann immediately prior to the meal…

SDGOP Chair Dan Lederman watches as the ceremony kicks off..

Here, my graduating senior and Teenage Republican Sydney is called on to give the Pledge of Allegiance before the meal.

Master of Ceremonies and Congressional Candidate Dusty Johnson addresses the large crowd…

And it was a large crowd….  They ended up adding extra tables which were quickly filled.

Congressional Candidate & Secretary of State Shantel Krebs is at the podium, where she gave her talk, and introduced her husband, Mitch.

Here Senate President Pro Tempore Brock Greenfield laughs at one of the speakers’ jokes..

Attorney General and GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Marty Jackley addresses the group …

…as does Congresswoman & fellow Gubernatorial Hopeful Kristi Noem (Whom I got a chance to sit down with earlier in the day)

Senator Tidemann presented Brookings Co GOP Chair Jim Gilkerson with a well deserved award for his work for the party.

I had more than one State Official comment to me how well the dinner was ran this year, noting it has been the best one they’ve been to, and I’d agree. It was nice and tight, timewise, and you didn’t start looking at your watch wondering when it would be over.

Afterwards, the candidates milled around and spoke with the crowd..

And another great Republican event is put to bed!


Governor is Huether’s Dream job, but he would settle for US House.

Stu Whitney’s big Huether interview is up at the Argus, and apparently Mike Huether thinks a lot about Mike Huether.

Ever since he was easily re-elected in 2014 and saw term limits looming next year, speculation has raged about Huether’s next move. When the longtime Democrat announced at a December press conference that he was registering as independent, it seemed a calculated move to trumpet his moderate credentials in a heavily conservative state.

The 54-year-old Yankton native admitted in a wide-ranging interview this week that South Dakota governor, not Sioux Falls mayor, is his ultimate dream job, and the one he first considered before running for City Hall.


The problem, of course, is that the last non-Republican elected South Dakota governor was Dick Kneip nearly half a century ago. Huether is well aware of that historical hurdle and may lean toward a 2018 bid for U.S. House, a race in which voters have been more willing to stray from partisan norms, especially without heavyweight GOP contenders in the hunt.

“When you look at races where you can ultimately succeed and make a difference, the strategists and odds makers will tell you that the U.S. House race is the one that holds the most potential for me,” says Huether, stopping short of referring to Republican candidates Dusty Johnson and Shantel Krebs by name.


“There are people who have known Mike Huether for a long time who still don’t know what drives him,” says Hildebrand, who has been mentioned as a possible Sioux Falls mayoral candidate. “Some might argue that he’s been a strong leader, but saying ‘my way or the highway’ is not being a strong leader. That’s being a strong dictator.”


“Running for statewide office as an independent is a very bad idea,” says longtime Democratic political figure Drey Samuelson, who served as Johnson’s chief of staff for nearly 30 years. “What a Huether statewide race would do would be to divide Democrats and independents, and almost certainly elect the Republican nominee.”

Another option, with many of the same hurdles, would be to challenge a possibly vulnerable Rounds for his Senate seat in 2020. Huether could also choose to make another run at Sioux Falls mayor in 2022.

Read it all here.

Huether thinks he can run and win with no organization… And Huether, a former Obama delegate, thinks he has a path to victory by being third man against what will certainly be two major party candidates in any race after abandoning his former party? 

Two words…. Larry Pressler. 

Here’s a little chart from Wikipedia how that race turned out:

Pressler HAD some loose infrastructure, some loyal former aides, and some loyalties from former voters who remembered him. And he was a former Republican.

Huether? Aside from his massive ego and serving as mayor in his own dictatorial fiefdom in Sioux Falls, Huether is saddled with his former association with the Democrat party and Barack Obama in the state that was among those that detested the former President the most.

Not only is that dog not going to hunt now or anytime soon, but Republicans would salivate at stripping the bark off of him in a statewide race; Governor, Congress, or whatever.

Bring it on.