So, when will 2018 begin?


Back towards the end of November in 2012, just after Thanksgiving, Former Governor Mike Rounds officially announced that he would be a candidate for the US Senate in 2014.

Former Republican Gov. Mike Rounds announced plans Thursday to seek South Dakota’s U.S. Senate seat, setting up a 2014 battle between two men who have never lost an election – a campaign that figures to draw widespread national attention as Republicans and Democrats jockey for control of the chamber.

Read that here.

It didn’t come as a huge shock, as Rounds had made an earlier announcement of it at a Lincoln Day Dinner in October, but it licked off the campaign and Rounds started raising money and campaigning in earnest.

Fast forward a couple of years, and we’re literally at that same point at the end of the 2016 cycle.

So, after the election, will we see Marty Jackley schedule a visit with the Sioux Falls media?  Will Mark Mickelson announce a press conference?

And what about Kristi Noem?

Noem is arguably the key driver in how 2018 will play out. If and when she jumps in for Governor, it sets the table for her successors to start showing their cards. If she decides to stay in Congress, it may be a largely mano a mano contest for Governor.  The outcome of tomorrow’s election will probably be the deciding factor in whether she chooses to stay in Congress, or run to be South Dakota’s next Republican Governor.

And once that decision is made, we still may not hear for several months.

It could be a wild ride over the next six months as to which candidates will and which won’t on the Republican side. We may see Mike Huether run on the Dem side, derided as a DINO, facing a far more liberal candidate.

And if there is a congressional opening, get ready for the real free-for-all.

33 Replies to “So, when will 2018 begin?”

  1. Anonymous

    Noem can’t start right away as it looks bad right after an election to the US House….

    if Mickelson wins his state house race and becomes speaker (expected) he will be tied up in the session with that job, but able to get a lot of headlines at will….

    Jackley is the most free to start anytime…..

    I would predict no one starts before spring though…give everyone a break for 2016 as the season has been long enough…..

    and that also leaves Michaels…and maybe a Rhoden or a Stace or someone else some time….

    plus if V passes what will the rules be…lots of talk of GOP caucus or convention to endorse someone to avoid a split and WA sate type scenario….

    Hopefully V just dies tomorrow…..

    plus unlike when Rounds announced there are no Lincoln Day dinner until spring I believe..isn’t that right?

    1. Anon

      Very different dynamics. Noem will have plenty of money for this race, that was a concern against Rounds. Also, a 3-way race is much different than taking on Rounds head-to-head.

      1. Anonymous

        I agree. Donors in this state do not want to wait for Noem. I get the impression that they don’t want her. Look at Mickelson’s donors. Many of those are Noem donors. They obviously want Mickelson.

        The base doesn’t want Mickelson or Jackley. I think they want Noem or someone else.

        1. Anon

          A lot of those donors have given to both Mickelson and Noem. I think quite a few of them are just hedging their bets. I don’t take too much stock in who has donated to who at this point. I think both Noem and Mickelson will have plenty of resources.

  2. grudznick

    Yes, if the Rhoden Rhangers rhide again, they would be quite a force. But I wonder about that young lady Ms. Peters. Might she throw in for Governor too and we’d have a real contest going then. A Peters/Rhoden ticket would be a sure bet.

    1. Anon

      Rhoden is far more likely to join Noem’s ticket than Peters’. Peters is a pro-choice liberal. Plus her potential base of financial support would be mostly people who are already in Mickelson or Noem’s camp.

      1. Anonymous

        Jackley needs a spine. Noem needs to be less interested in what Paul Ryan thinks. Mickelson is a liberal.

        I’d choose Noem over all of them. Jackley is a woos on most issues if it means ruffling any feathers. Conflict of interest, EB5, Gear Up, Legislators with conflict of interest, criminal justice reform… he caves on all of it.

        Maybe Matt Michels is the sweet spot.

  3. Anonymous

    Noem has done little for Trump. Mickelson said today that he voted for Perot in 1992 on Dana Ferguson’s twitter feed.

    1. SDGOPer

      Is there a point to your comment?

      Also, Noem has done far more for Trump than any of the rest of the “Big 4”. You should’ve heard her at the Lincoln County LLD, best argument for Trump I’ve heard all campaign.

      1. Anonymous

        I have no problem with that. That’s her right but I don’t think she has been overly supportive of Trump. Thune has hurt Trump. Rounds has actually been the most supportive of Trump.

        1. Anon

          How has Rounds done more? He’s hardly said anything the las few months much less actively supported Trump.

  4. Anonymous

    I think the big question I have is does Noem honor her term limit pledge that she made in 2010 or not?

    From Mitchell Daily Republic in 2010:

    If she does win, Noem vowed to serve a maximum of 10 years in Congress. She said she isn’t looking for a career in politics.

    Noem said she wants to follow in the footsteps of the nation’s founding fathers and serve for a time before deciding to “step back and be part of the community” [emphasis mine; Tom Lawrence, “Noem: I Can Win,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2010.06.23, quoted by].

    1. Anon

      What does that have to do with whether or not she runs for Governor? She could pass on Governor and still run for reelection to the House.

      Also, I could definitely be wrong, but I don’t believe Noem ever actually had a term limit pledge (the way Thune did for the House). The quote above is Cory Heidelberger’s version of what the NRCC said about what Tom Lawrence wrote from her remarks, I’m not sure how accurate it is. She has always talked more generally about not wanting to do be in Congress forever the way some members are.

      1. Anonymous

        That is interesting. I didn’t realize she pledged to serve only ten years (why do people make these pledges?) Obviously it won’t matter until 2020 but that is a clear indication that she is either going to run for governor in 2018 or against Rounds in 2020. I think the running against Rounds is unlikely since that would still mean she is in DC and not back in her native SD just like the founders wanted.

        Reading it again she didn’t pledge to serve ten years she pledged to serve a MAXIMUM of ten years. So she might bail after 8 and run for governor.

        (Argus) Noem had, in fact, set herself a personal term limit in the 2010 campaign, and followed up a few minutes later with a link to a Mitchell Daily Republic story that included the following:

        If she does win, Noem vowed to serve a maximum of 10 years in Congress. She said she isn’t looking for a career in politics.

        Noem said she wants to follow in the footsteps of the nation’s founding fathers and serve for a time before deciding to “step back and be part of the community.”

  5. Anonymous

    My prediction is that Noem does the opposite of what Rounds did in 2014. Rounds pulled the trigger quick to keep Noem out. Once he was in that race she had a lesser than 50% chance of winning the primary and by challenging him in the primary would mean that SHS or Brendan Johnson probably would have been the general election opponent.

    She will drag out her decision until around August. The reason is that she is the frontrunner for the Gov spot. She has money. She can keep raising money. She can feel out congress and President whomever wins tomorrow. She can feel out if Rounds will run again or if he is planning to go back to Pierre for good. That would give her a Senate seat option in 2020.

    But the other reason she waits is because the longer she can avoid a campaign the less time the underdogs will have time to undermine her. Kristi has always been the underdog in her elections that were competitive. This time she will be the person taking all the shots and all the criticism. The longer she can put that off the better.

    My personal favorite for governor is Matt Michels.

    1. Anon

      Interesting analysis. I don’t entirely disagree. However I think a lot her delay will be the fact that she truly doesn’t feel the need to start the campaign already. She already proved in 2010, when she announced in February of the election year, that she is comfortable with a shorter election cycle.

      1. Anonymous

        In 2010 she ran against an underfunded Nelson (with little charisma but still more than Mickelson) and Blake Curd who’s campaign manager put him in a bowling shirt. She was able to win because she had momentum and enthusiasm. I think if she makes it a short campaign that works for her again. If she gets in right away then I think the question becomes what have you done in DC. If that is the question then Bookers debt is obviously higher, Obamacare is still there, you name it it’s still there.

  6. Anonymous

    Rounds can retire after one term and get a pension for life.You think we should get a deal like that.Working 30 years to get a 2000 dollar pension.While just one six year term makes at age 62 they can start collecting.Just think how much photo op will get.

    1. Troy Jones


      Rounds’ pension is not as good as Daschle and Johnson’s as he (and Thune) entered Congress before the last Congressional Pension Reform.

      For Rounds and Thune, it is comparable to a private sector pension.

      Nice try at your slur.

    2. Michael Wyland

      Adding to to Troy’s comment, a one-term Senator gets a pension equivalent to about 9% of their previous salary – once they reach age 62. See:

      From Congressional Research Service (CRS), as quoted in the article:

      “CRS, June 13: Members of Congress are eligible for a pension at the age of 62 if they have completed at least five years of service. Members are eligible for a pension at age 50 if they have completed 20 years of service, or at any age after completing 25 years of service. The amount of the pension depends on years of service and the average of the highest three years of salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary.”

      From the article:

      “Take Kay Hagan, the North Carolina senator who lost her bid for a second term, for example. After finishing just one six-year term in the Senate, Hagan, who will turn 62 in 2015, will be eligible for a pension of nearly $16,000, according to calculations done by the conservative National Taxpayers Union. Hagan’s pension would be a little more than 9 percent of her most recent salary of $174,000, the amount paid to rank-and-file House and Senate members.”

  7. Anonymous

    I still want Mike Rounds to run for Governor, win, pick his LG, appoint his successor to the US Senate and retire happily ever after in Pierre, SD after 8 more years of successful governance.

  8. Anonymous

    When Thune was considering a run in 2002 Barnett and Kirby were not going to run against him even though Barnett had more money than Thune.

    Mickelson and Jackley have less money and don’t care. Donors are giving to them and don’t care what Kristi is going to do.

    I don’t know why people don’t give Noem the same respect Thune got.

    1. Anon

      I think both Mickelson and Jackley have been planning the 2018 Governor’s race for a LONG time and already had the wheels in motion before there was speculation about Noem running.

      And I think you would see a decent number of the donors jump to Noem if she pulls the trigger. Most of them have no qualms about donating to Mickelson or Jackley now and then switching if someone they prefer gets in.

  9. Troy Jones

    Anonymous 10:18,

    My recollection of 2002 is different. What I remember is:

    Barnett was running for Governor regardless of Thune’s decision.

    If Thune ran for Governor, Janklow was going to run for Senate and Kirby for Congress.

    I might be wrong and I apologize to Barnett, Kirby and Janklow if I remember it wrong.

      1. Troy Jones

        That was a great article. Thank you for reminding me of the character of Barnett. I met him when we both served on the Oahe YMCA Board (I was the Student Representative) and not once haven’t had an occasion to even contemplate anything but a real solid person and his public service with integrity is indisputable. Last time I saw Mark was we were both getting gas after hunting pheasant. As I had been in Sioux Falls for a long time, we had a lot of catching up to do.