South Dakota State Republican party chairman Dan Lederman has an editorial in the Argus leader tonight where he takes a strong counterpoint to reporter Dana Ferguson’s article contending that Democrats lose in South Dakota because of some alleged, but non-existent gerrymandering:
Acting as an apologist for Democrats in the story, Ferguson tried to intimate that they would have more electoral success if legislative districts were drawn differently. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Why? For the same reason my dad would always say, “The world is ran by people who show up,” and in S.D., instead of showing up, Democrats have given up.
In the 2016 elections that were used in the Associated Press study, which Ferguson was writing about, in S.D., the Democratic Party did not run candidates in 30 percent of the State Senate races. Nearly one-third of the races were abandoned.
Mind you, as chair of the S.D. Republican Party, I’m not complaining about that fact. But I will take issue with someone ignoring the fact that Democrat chair Ann Tornberg made a decision to not run candidates in 30 percent of those races – and now, the Democrat party is trying to lay blame at their electoral failure on “gerrymandering.”
How the legislative districts were designed had nothing to do with it. They made a conscious decision to lose the races before one vote could even be cast. They chose not to show up. They didn’t show up in the State Senate. And in election after election before that, they have chosen not to run candidates for the legislature and many statewide offices.
That’s on them. Not Republicans.
But failing to run candidates for office is only part of the Democrat Party’s problems. State Democrats have had difficulty with candidate recruitment, voter registration, fund raising and a plethora of the functions that political parties are required to do to be viable operating organizations. It is very telling that S.D. Democrats are artificially being kept afloat by the national party giving them monthly stipends to keep the door open.