Outgoing Rep Stephanie Herseth Sandlin found time to sit down with journalist Judy Woodruff to discuss the 2010 election — the interview was aired tonight on PBS.

Watch it all here:


Some thoughts on the interview:

1. SHS says her defeat came down to two main things — that it was a wave year and because of undisclosed money coming into  SD.   The wave year — okay I’ll buy that….but undisclosed money…..really?  I guess I’d like to see some back up to that…because if I remember the campaign reports SHS had the highest amount of out of state money (yes that would be disclosed money — but if we are gonna point to out of state money it seems to me that title would go to her — which as the incumbent is to be expected)

2. SHS says with improved Get Out the Vote and more money to emphasize her independent record the results may have been different.  Her person was running the State Dems, why wasn’t the GOTV effort better — it’s bread and butter for candidates.  Also SHS voting with Pelosi over 90% of the time makes the “independent” label a little hard to swallow.

3. SHS cites voting against climate change to support her position as a centrist.  I found it very interesting that she didn’t say she voted against health care when she talked about that issue — in fact she said the bill should have been a bigger priority.

4. Perhaps the most troubling statement she makes “Redistricting is one of the significant threats to the House of Representatives and to that our democratic institutions, representative democracy.”  Unfortunately there is no follow up by Judy Woodruff — but holy cow — personally I’d have jumped all over that to ask her to explain herself…..I truly find that troubling….now her defenders will say it’s in reference to the moderates in the House — but redistricting is a tradition (heck it’s even part of the constitution) — and usually it’s only bad when your side is on the losing side…meaning the majority gets more power….mmmmm I’m thinking that is democracy at it’s core.  But then I didn’t go to Georgetown.

5. SHS says she doesn’t think anyone takes their base for granted……I think Hilde/Weiland would disagree with that.  And frankly, I think when SHS says the moderates get “ridiculed from the right and demonized from the left, lambasted from the left”, I’m guessing she may have been thinking of her office neighbor Steve Hildebrand.

6. Her parting advice/threat to the Republicans — Don’t over read the mandate.  Solid advice and for those who think she’ll run again…..that very well could be her opening salvo for 2012.

I’m sure you’ll let me know what you think…..

32 Replies to “SHS on PBS”

  1. Duh

    PBS.. Ok, there’s a unbiased channel. Sniff. SHS still doesn’t get it. Hope she never does. Tired of her, her fudging of facts and her record, her lipless grin and “80’s” hairdo. Go away. Please.

    1. Kristi Golden

      Yes *73 of course it takes money to buy ads — and as the incumbent SHS had that advantage of more money early and more out of state money — that’s why her complaint about the money rings a little false….she had money — she was on the air — but “her message” didn’t sell

  2. William

    Bitter, and not good for her political future in the state.

    Were voters “tricked” into voting her out?

    “Out of state money”? – That was predominately hers?

    If this is the level of analysis for her defeat, she has no political future.

    She certainly COULD come back, but NOT with an analysis as this…
    If she wants another chance with SD voters, she’d better get out in public with them and develop a “grass-roots” within the state party.

  3. 73*

    I don’t care for SHS. She will run again and I will say I respect her for that. I think SHS learned a valuable lesson not to take anything for granted.

    It will be very interesting if SHS challenges Noem in 2012 because obviously she stayed in SD, probably still has the respect of a majority of voters, and Kristi Noem might have burned some of that conservative charisma by supporting huge ethanol subsidies, Farm subsidies and maybe she cuts the wrong item and makes the majority of South Dakotans mad or maybe she loses her way.

    2012 will be interesting. If I was SHS I’d come out right now and say that I’m not running for House. Otherwise with a strong threat looming who knows how big of a war chest Noem will raise over the next year or so. $1-3 Million?

  4. Spearfish voter

    SHS lost because Kristi Noem kicked her butt. Better candidate, better message, better result. End of story. And if the Republicans “misread their mandate” (which was delivered from voters fed up with Washington’s out of control spending) those same voters will stay home in 2012 and the Repubs will lose. They will not lose because they were too active in cutting the Federal beast down to size, only if they are too timid.

  5. 73*


    I totally agree. She needs to be much more public. She likely could have won if she’d have actually campaigned for the job.

    It wouldn’t be that hard to build up a state party. Mostly 2 or 3 people in each county willing to do the lions share of the work. In larger counties like Minnehaha, Lincoln, Brown, Brookings, Clay there would obviously need to be more. (this time maybe they get off of there butts and help her? Hopefully not though)

  6. Stan Gibilisco

    When I took a little “test” (I forget where it came from) in an attempt to figure out which candidate more closely fell in line with my beliefs, I correlated 74 percent with SHS and only 54 percent with KN. Yet, I voted for KN. Why? Well, for one thing, I call myself a Republican, but it goes deeper than that. I voten to put a stop to what some pundits call the “march to socialism.” Put the brakes on it at all costs! I suspect that this single sentiment fully explains SHS’s loss. I voted out of fear, and so did a lot of others. SHS became a “collateral casualty.” Her statement to Republicans — don’t over-read the mandate — constitutes excellent advice. I will most certainly heed it going forward. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

  7. Name

    I think Kristi Noem will turn out to be a solid rep for SD. I don’t know if she will have a lot of longevity as a congresswoman because of her family 1 or 2 terms. but if she makes it through anothe election she’ll stay in for quite a while. Her kids will start leaving for college over the next 4 years. I guess Kristi is basically giving up her time with her children at home.

    I do think it’s possible Kristi doesn’t run again in 2012 and then waits until her son is older.

  8. toad

    I might be one of the few people with this opinion but I don’t like the huge margins of victory candidates are often given in SD. So for this simple reason I hope SHS stays and builds up her chances.


    1986 Tim Johnson 171,462 59% Dale Bell 118,261 41%
    1988 Tim Johnson 223,759 72% David Volk 88,157 28%
    1990 Tim Johnson 173,814 68% Don Frankenfeld 83,484 32%
    1992 Tim Johnson 230,070 69% John Timmer 89,375 27% Ronald Wieczorek Independent 6,746 2% Robert J. Newland Libertarian 3,931 1% *
    1994 Tim Johnson 183,036 60% Jan Berkhout 112,054 37% Ronald Wieczorek Independent 10,832 4%
    Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
    1996 Rick Weiland 119,547 37% John R. Thune 186,393 58% Stacey L. Nelson Independent 10,397 3% Kurt Evans Independent 6,866 2%
    1998 Jeff Moser 64,433 25% John R. Thune 194,157 75%
    2000 Curt Hohn 78,321 25% John R. Thune 231,083 73% Brian Lerohl Libertarian 5,357 2%

    Or SHS vs Whalen and Lien or Daschle’s career, Johnson v Dykstra, Thune unnopposed… Rounds winning by 20+%.

    I just feel it’s nice when the elections are always considered to be close contests so the incumbant has to campaign for the position, lay out his/her agenda and recommitt to the voters on issues. I also think it keeps the leaders grounded in SD. A lot of time the person I support wins by large margins but I still don’t care for really weak opponents or gimme races. There should alway be the chance that someone could lose if that person takes the voters for granted.

  9. springer

    The elephant in the room that no one has mentioned yet is the unholy triumvirate of Obama/Reid/Pelosi, their policies and the ways they went about getting what they wanted, with the result that their coattails killed the chances of many Dems winning anything in the entire country. I don’t know if SHS would have won if Obama had not in 2008, but it is very possible. IMO opinion she should lay the blame for her defeat directly at his feet.

  10. Anon

    SHS: It’s not a matter of over-reading the mandate. It’s a matter of the GOP getting complacent after the big wins. That’s what worries me the most.

  11. Duh

    Over reading the mandate. What a whiney little….. Here’s the mandate: SHS’s history. She’s kind of like the boyfriend/girlfriend that keeps showing up your parties acting like he/she never got dumped. Pay your delinquent bills from the election you credit risk, then start talking. Please don’t. Talk that is.

  12. anon

    How can she claim that more money would have made a difference?? You couldn’t turn the television on without seeing at least two of her ads every ten minutes. How much is enough for God’s sake!!

  13. feasant

    People are sick and tired of Washington wasting our hard earned dollars. If Republicans forget that, they will be replaced too. I think Conservatives spoke loud and clear.

    Herseth when you don’t live in your district for over a decade, you loose touch. Good-Bye.

  14. Rocker

    When the going gets tough, the entitled reveal themselves. That’s what this race demonstrated about Herseth-Sandlin. And her advice not to ‘over read the mandate’? Well, when I hear average centrist voters say that they’ll never vote Democrat again-EVER after this 111th Congress in action, I think she has a serious problem with her psychology.

    One incident during this campaign deserves comment: SHS’s playing of the race card in her response to the food for votes charge. SHS: “Native Americans have the right to vote just like everyone else.” Are you kidding Steph? When I saw Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson as my congresswoman, I lost any respect I ever had for SHS. She does not deserve to represent South Dakota again.

  15. Troy Jones

    Kristi, very good analysis. That was an interview for the ages.

    Not once did she admit she might have brought some of this on herself, it is the consequences of her being perpetually vulnerable (left of center candidate in a right of center state) or the strength of her opponent.

    Instead, she blamed her loss totally on outside forces, like she was a victim. Politics is a gladiator sport. There are no victims. Only winners and losers. To be a victim, there has to be on the other side one’s who prey on the weak. In other words, Diedrich, Whalen, and Lien too were victims and SHS was the one who preyed (when she had all the money, organization, and “wave” in her favor) and all that happened is SHS got eaten by someone higher on the food chain this year.

    I’m not sure this is the vision someone who wants to make a comeback wants to create.

  16. J Rae

    The undisclosed funding SHS was probably talking about was the Nancy Pelosi attack ads that ran and were funded by the Iowa based America Futures Fund.

    1. J Rae

      Springer, did those groups fund millions of dollars of attack ad against Kristi. Not sure I remember, but they are different in that NARAL etc. gave directly to the SHS campaign and the Americas Future Fund ran attack ads separate from the Noem campaign.

      1. William

        J Rae,

        Probably the biggest difference, is that one group funds its own issue ad while the other contributes directly to the candidate to make their own issue ad. Editorial control is probably the biggest factor,in the long run. I will say outside groups are less in touch with the local politics involved and are more likely to backfire on their candidate.

        National elections will gather national support, which means national money to support ones cause and I don’t necessarily consider that a “bad thing”. “Free speech” is the ability to makes ones message heard and in today’s society, that means commercial broadcasts and a presence on the internet. “Street Corner Talking”, local fliers and knocking on all the doors of the constituents doesn’t constitute a national campaign. I think we also need to remember, when we elect officials to a national office, while we’re still electing them within our states, their decisions and votes are important on National Issues. I’ve contributed to a number of out of state candidates for national office for years and I feel I should have every right to do so. I, for one, would be much happier if more of the laws and regulations affecting us locally were made by our local and state officials and not those in Washington. I would be relieved if Washington did NOT feel it needed to address every issue that affects humanity a with a “one size fits all” mentality and micro-regulation over a vast segment of the Northern Hemisphere…

        I also have “causes” I contribute to, that if national legislation affects it, then I want a voice and a lobbyist to support it. Every “special interest” represents someones beliefs, and I think they should all have a “seat at the table”.

  17. Rapid Rezzer

    I sensed Herseth Sandlin was doomed in the Summer of 2009 when she refused to host public forums on the proposed health care reform measures. That summer Senator Thune made her look very out of touch when he hosted such public forums. Even extreme liberals showed up and were welcomed to comment at Senator Thune’s forums.

    I am very glad that my fellow Natives began to see through Herseth Sandlin’s fakey persona about caring for Natives and reservation issues. With the levels of support Herseth Sandlin received from reservation voters, one would assume that she would show up on the reservations more than once every two years but such was not the case. It was insulting to see her show up on the reservations this past fall only because she was in a tight race, proclaiming to be the champion of Native issues because she took Senator Thune’s Tribal Law and Order Act and claimed it as her own in the House.

    Now she’s a member of the Tribal Law and Order Commission after six years of doing nothing on the matter. Thank you, Washington, DC.

    1. William

      As the Democrats hope to restore some of her lost credibility. Fortunately, it will only work if does the work. I suspect, and hope. that the reservations are beginning to expect some accountability from those they deal with at the Federal level. As Federal resources become more restricted, will Natives realize the futility of their promises?

    1. springer

      She made a very dumb statement that people did laugh at or mock. She’s not the only politician to do such a thing, but that is no reason to then hide from her constituents. I believe that she didn’t want to hold public meetings because she didn’t want to make any more statements that might come back to haunt her during the election. The sad thing for her though is that she would probably have done better in the election had she held public meetings when we were all so upset about the health care bill. She blew us off and we blew her off!

      1. William

        While I don’t underestimate her ability to return as a force in South Dakota politics, I suspect we sometimes overestimate her political instincts. A “smart political” would have realized their mistake and used public meetings to correct it. A “smart politician” would have never allowed this to become an issue in their re-election campaign. That leads me to believe that SHS is more liberal than her constituents tries to but conceal it. What EXACTLY will she do now?

  18. Duh

    Rapid Rezzer: Glad to have you back. You stated: “Now she?s a member of the Tribal Law and Order Commission after six years of doing nothing on the matter. Thank you, Washington, DC.”

    Do you think this is merely a ploy for her to dig in deep for a potential reelection?

    1. Anon

      I’m no fan of SHS (yeah Kristi!!). But SHS (and any other Democrat) already has the Rez vote, so I’m not sure that getting appointed to some feel-good commission is going to have much impact.

  19. Jerry Garcia

    Anyone who brings Al Franken to South Dakota to campaign is going to lose.
    I still can’t believe SHS and her handlers let that happen. This from the educated, enlightened folks on the left who love to point out the Noem doesn’t have a college degree.

  20. Patrick Leary

    I think the key to SHS’ future will include: Will she maintain her residence in South Dakota [allegedly in Brookings]? Will one of her boosters/supporters create a job for her so she can maintain a profile in South Dakota? (I’m thinking of the Farmers Union [in the ’90s] or the rural electrics or the newly created entity which includes George McGovern’s grandson who conveniently dropped his surname.) To me, that will be clear handwriting on the proverbial wall. I personally called my cowboy relatives West of the River to thank them for their role in retiring SHS . . . Brookings County is relentlessly turning blue!


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