Ann Tornberg was surprisingly candid in this morning’s paper regarding Jay Williams’ candidacy for the US Senate. Williams had been cited for months among insiders as telling Democrats that if no one else would do it, he would. And in this morning’s Argus, Tornberg confirmed as much.
Williams’ announcement puts to rest speculation that Thune would go unopposed in his third Senate run. In 2010, the Democrats failed to field a challenger.
Ann Tornberg, chairwoman of the South Dakota Democratic Party, said that was a mistake, and finding a candidate was a priority. She said Williams, the only South Dakota Democrat interested in committing to challenging Thune, made known his plans last summer but chose to hold off on announcing until the election season neared.
“No one else emerged and Jay always had that in the back of his mind. It was really based on the need for the Democrats to run a candidate in 2016,” she said. “I can’t imagine that we wouldn’t have heard about it if someone else was interested.”
There is also evidence to support the supposition that they were looking for someone else up until the last minute, if you examine Williams web site registration, as well as his petitions. Petitions for the candidate only started circulating in the past week or so, and his website was registered in the same timeframe..
Note that it was not even registered for use until 2-10-2016, about the same time Tornberg was said to be carrying petitions. This is a big red flag that Democrats continued to try to scrape someone else up down to the last minute, and Williams is the candidate of last resort.
Even someone who is willing to take one for the team as Williams is has to get signatures to be placed on the ballot. Dems decided to pull the trigger with what they had. It will be interesting to see how national pundits call this one, but I think we can safely speculate that this seat will remain “Deep Red and in Republican hands.”
With the clock having run out for Democrats, they decided to play the hand they were dealt. Unfortunately, they’re challenging a straight flush with a hand that contains a couple of low cards, a joker, and the instructions for the deck that someone forgot to throw away.