While there’s lots of rumors swirling in Pierre lately (Some more than others), there’s one that is more recently bubbling to the top of the tidepool that political observers should find interesting. Namely, that the Chairmanship of the South Dakota State Republican Party might be a contested race at the next Republican State Central Committee meeting, scheduled to be held on February 11th.
Long-time Gubernatorial Cabinet and Staff member and current Republican Party Chairwoman Pam Roberts of the Pierre/Ft. Pierre area, who in recent days gave indication that she would be running again is possibly facing a challenge from businessman and former Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dan Lederman of Dakota Dunes.
Previously, Lederman had also served as Union County GOP Chair, as well as County Commissioner and State House member. Lederman had served in the Legislature for many years, but resigned during his last Senate term to spend more time with his family, but vowing to continue his involvement with politics.
And running for the GOP Chairmanship just may be how he intends to do it.
Often, the GOP State party chair has been a slated position, serving at the request of the sitting Governor and often based on who they could find to do it. And it has been that way for many years.
However, officially, the position is actually selected at a vote of the Republican State Central Committee. And, it is possible they could choose to act independently of the Governor’s preference.
If the race comes to fruition, I suspect the race would serve as a contrast of styles and illustrate differences between party leaders and the rank and file on what the current mood of the party is.
As noted, Roberts has been close to party leaders, and Governors in particular, going back to Governor Janklow. In April of this last year, Governor Dennis Daugaard expressed his continuing trust in her by appointing Pam to the South Dakota Board of Regents.
Whereas at times, Dan has been more of a maverick and has gone his own way. Dan has been active in working with candidates directly, including through his work with the RJC, and independently forming a political action committee, Rushmore PAC, which has supported conservative candidates logistically, and financially independent of the State GOP on both the state and federal levels.
What do you think? Clearly, there’s two good and qualified candidates, and we’d be well served by either one. It all depends on mood of the state Central Committee on February 11th.