Stuff is going on… Some negative, some… well, you decide.

I probably won’t win any math awards, but it’s pretty clear that the amount of blogging one does is directly proportional to how busy a person is at their employment. And as of this week, I think I’m officially on overload.

Big project at my day job, combined with my busiest primary ever for political work, plus not one, but two listings popping up for me at once, and trying to get a home sale put together successfully. And since I’m on overload, it’s a great time for the family dog to… um, go away, & have a kid get into a car accident at the exact same time I’m trying to get my dad to a doctor’s appointment.

I have to admit I was starting to have a panic attack today that the Minnehaha County Lincoln Day dinner I’d committed to attending was tonight. (Thankfully, it’s next week – Whew!)

That leaves me finally tapping things out on my iPad at midnight – 1 AM now,  as I try to settle in to recharge my batteries. Because I’m off to Sioux Falls, Madison, and parts unknown up north all before Friday. 

That’s not a lot of time to read, contemplate and “philosophize” about politics in general.

So, what do I have time to notice? What has punched through the chatter?  Stuff.. 

Foremost, negative campaigning seems to have taken sway in a few races, but (mostly) not from campaigns. It mainly seems to be coming from PACs designed for attacks. 

Stan Adelstein shook off the cobwebs, and wrote a check or two and had someone do a piece for one of his several PACs. Rich Hilgemann’s PAC in Aberdeen did Stace Nelson’s bidding, and went hard negative using photos of Nelson’s opponent at a charity fundraiser at SDSU.  As mentioned in an earlier post, the Lautensclager gun group is attacking from Colorado, and a South Dakota Right to Life affiliated PAC is sending out attack postcards.

Some are poorly done, but the tone may lead us back to the primary of 2014, where much of that started to backfire. The only negative piece I was commissioned to design last primary ended up being pulled before it went to homes because it could have cost the candidate the lead. The candidate won, so, it may have been a good call.

This spring, I haven’t been asked to prepare any pieces to take the bark off of any fellow Republicans, and I’m ok with that. It just may be because of public distaste for it is growing, as some of what’s being used seems to have gotten more personal, some are outright falsehoods, and some of what they’re using is less related to the job performance of politicians.

We’ll see in the two weeks left.

The other thing that is getting my attention is the amount of complaining I’ve been hearing about what had once been a good read on candidates, but seems to have fallen on hard times in recent years – the South Dakota Right to Life Voters Guide.

Like the 2014 primary election edition, this years’ primary edition in at least one case seriously misrepresented a candidate’s position using questionable sources. Again. When they very easily could have picked up a phone.

Last election in one instance, they relied on a NARAL website (of all sources) to comment about a GOP candidate. And they got the candidate’s position flat wrong. This year, it was sourcing a candidate assessment from a pro-choice, liberal atheist Democrat State Senate candidate. And again they badly missed the mark.  

But it’s not just questionable sources when a candidate doesn’t respond. Legislators themselves are grumbling that SDRTL is rating them on legislation SDRTL took no public position on, but omitting bills that they did. As one legislator noted to me “how can you support them on their legislation when you don’t know what it is?” 

Yet, an affiliated PAC is sending out negative postcards based on that same potentially  flawed rating.

I asked one of their longest time legislative supporters over the years – one who had carried a lot of water for them – about it. He remarked that he personally got busy an election ago, and forgot to send his survey in. SDRTL ended up with a statement of support for his opponent, because he didn’t get the survey in, despite a decade of being one of their more vocal advocates. Suffice it to say he was not impressed when a survey negated a decade of activism. 

SDRTL needs to take a hard look at their legislative outreach, as well as how they survey lawmakers. When they correctly list “did not respond” for some, and whether intentional or not, instead do a hit job on others who did the same thing, there’s a problem that needs to be addressed.

Lest they find out what a loss of prestige & moral authority costs them when they really need to count on it.

And that’s what I know tonight.

32 Replies to “Stuff is going on… Some negative, some… well, you decide.”

  1. Matt Bruner

    So what your saying is that since SDRTL scores your buddy Tideman so poorly it must obviously be wholly wrong.

    Or do you suppose maybe certain legislators don’t actually vote the values they preach.

    1. Pat Powers

      Matt –

      You shouldn’t assume anything. (You know the old saying.)

      I’m not sure where your hostility comes from, but actually I haven’t discussed any of it with Senator Tidemann. I’m sure he knows that he and I are on opposite sides of the life issue. I’ve disagreed with him on a lot of issues, as I’m sure he could tell you. I disagree with a lot of people.

      But that doesn’t mean I think he’s a bad legislator. In fact, I think he does quite a bit for our district, and does a tremendous job on the appropriations & GOAC committees.

      If you’re concerned, call him. He’s an adult, he knows how he voted, and I’m sure he’d be happy to explain to you why.

      Conversely, if you think Doug is the candidate who should represent the GOP, and you want him to carry what is the biggest swing district in the state in November for Republicans, maybe you should ask “your buddy” Mr. Post to be able to articulate more than jingoisms relating to his two or three bullet points.

      1. Robin Friday

        all I can say is anyone who wants to out SDRTL for who and what they are, nobody deserves it more.

  2. Anonymous

    Theodore Roosevelt, who was frequently accused of jingoism. In a 23 October 1895 New York Times article, “There is much talk about ‘jingoism’. If by ‘jingoism’ they mean a policy in pursuance of which Americans will with resolution and common sense insist upon our rights being respected by … powers, then we are ‘jingoes’.” Credit Wikipedia

  3. Anonymous

    Rich Hilgemann and Drew Dennert’s PAC did an embarrassing hit piece. I’m mostly just embarrassed for them because it was unnesseccarily nasty, misleading, dishonest and it shows me that they are always going to be irrelevant in South Dakota politics beyond their fringe group that throws a few bombs during an election.

    1. Anonymous

      He serves on the brown county GOP board. I’d like to think that there are repercussions for these kind of actions by the county GOP central committee. The state convention is in Aberdeen and he is the committeeman. Really looks good. Is he doing this with the county party blessing or is he doing this on his own?

        1. ANON

          Mr. Higlemann, this is a despicable card. Anyone associated with you, including Mr. Dennert, is as guilty as you. Prior to seeing this card, I was planning on supporting Mr. Dennert but I no longer am.

          Mr. Dennert, I like your positions, but your association with Mr. Higlemann tells me you are too immature to serve the people of the great state of South Dakota.

          1. Richard Hilgemann

            No people pretending to be Republicans pushing massive tax increases, voting against (or testifying against in this case) good gun bills, among other things are despicable people.
            Despicable is people like Adelstein who would support a Democrat over a conservative. After the primary you will find me supporting every Republican over any Democrat. Can you say the same?

              1. Anonymous

                I’m all for people fighting within both parties and for being true to their principles.

                In the interest of a strong party though there are times when a fight needs to take place to let the voters decide which direction the party will end up going.

                Trump has basically thrown the GOP into chaos because he is remaking the GOP. Sanders is an unpolished version of Obama. He is taking the 35%-45% of the Dems with him in trying to remake the party more in his image.

                Both parties are going through a remolding, realignment. It’s going to be fascinating to watch.

                Maybe there isn’t anything wrong with what Hilgamenn did. It’s not something I would have done but maybe the parties are just facing ireconsilable differences these days within their ranks.

                I’ve always been someone that tries to find a way to hold everyone together rather than divide. I feel like the division is something that might need to take place so that both parties can understand more clearly what they believe in.

    2. Anonymous

      Let’s identify the real culprit here; his name is Stacy and he’s up to his usual bullying tactics that led to his bronze medal in the US senate race. When the going gets tough that cowardly marine either heads to the bathroom or frags his own party. Caleb’s judgment as a college kid is questionable, but he’s been married three fewer times than his opponent and probably has not had restraining orders filed against him.

  4. Fred Deutsch

    Right to Life deals with issues pertaining to the human right to life. Our concern is to defend those who are defenseless and whose lives are in danger due to abortion, euthanasia, etc. Some candidates may hold conservative fiscal positions but positions that are contrary to the human right to life. Currently there are several Republicans running in the primary who fit this description. Part of our mission is to provide information to voters so they may make an informed pro-life vote. This information is sometimes based on a voting record, but for candidates who have not previously served, the only thing we have to go on is their feedback to surveys. Should a candidate choose not to respond to our survey, the assessment process becomes more challenging. As an organization we constantly look for ways to improve, and we always appreciate and reflect upon constructive feedback.

    Fred Deutsch, SDRTL President

    1. Anonymous


      I’m a donor to the SDRTL but your organization has really been reaching as of late especially with that scorecard and your ED is a disaster and I have little respect for his skills in the organization.

      I do have a lot of respect for you though.

  5. Anonymous

    South Dakota deserves the legislature it suffers.

    Rich women have full reproductive freedom while women at middle and lower income levels experience chilling effects on their rights. South Dakota’s repeated attempts to restrict access to medical care is not only mean-spirited, it’s discriminatory anti-choice extremism.

    1. Anonymous

      Your premise is that an abortion is “medical care” and those opposed to killing babies are “extreme”. You minimize life itself and condemn those who disagree with your (lack of) logic.

      Maybe your premise is wrong and the “mean spiritedness” is reserved for those who lack the compassion as those of us who value life?

      1. Anonymous

        Women who can afford it merely fly to Minneapolis or Denver for their procedures leaving poor women to reproduce often at the expense of taxpayers. How is that either conservative or sustainable?

  6. Anonymous

    Somebody get a bucket and a mop to clean up all these crocodile tears. This blog is the attack arm of the establishment and has launched more dishonest attacks against conservatives, than any other source in SD politics.

  7. Anonymous

    I am disappointed in this very young Dennert candidate up in District 3, Mr. Hilgemann and the others involved with Prairie Country PAC. It all seems very childish and could of been handled more professionally and with class in getting points across in the differences between candidates. Rather than go the no holds barred nuclear option against another in the Republican party save the resources for those far-left extremist Democrats that have taken over the state party and really need to keep from getting elected.

    1. Anonymous

      Few will want to talk to Hilgemann, Santema and Dennert. Way to make yourselves pariahs. Waste of talent.

      The Republicans in Brown County should disavow this fiasco.

  8. Anonymous

    It would be interesting to some to know how much SDRTL has diverted to the lobbyists who drafted law to end victims’ rights in suing for clergy sex abuse cases.

    1. Anne Beal

      See your statement shows how SDRTL has Failed. Big time. We still have people who believe the abortion issue is a religious issue. It’s not, it’s a civil rights issue. If SDRTL had been doing their job everybody would understand that. Medical science has declared that life begins and ends with electrical activity. The electricity is either on, or it’s off. Life ends when the electricity is off, and all 50 states have affirmed that principle with brain death laws. The presence or absence of respiration has nothing to do with it. This is not a religious belief, no matter how hard the pro-abortion lobby works to convince the public that it is.

  9. Anonymous

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the local GOP reacts strongly to this garbage and has Hilgemann choose between the pac or the party.

    This is about as low as I’ve seen in SD.

    I wonder what we would find and take out of context if we started looking into Hilgemann’s past?

  10. Anne Beal

    SDRTL has squandered resources focusing on political races and have accomplished NOTHING. They get a bunch of pro-life legislators in office who vote for some unenforceable restriction or a meaningless resolution and then congratulate themselves on their failure to stop a single abortion.
    What they should be focused on is public education, targeting the people who are considering abortion.
    If Roe v Wade is ever overturned, the issue will go back to the states. And in SouthDakota, it won’t matter who the governor is, or how pro-life the legislators are, all that will matter is how the public votes when it shows up as a ballot measure. Because that’s where it will be decided. And how it will be decided will depend on how well pro-life groups have reached out to the public.
    In the meantime, it would be nice if SDRTL and related groups stopped getting bad legislators elected.

    1. Anonymous

      Anne I completely agree. There have been some very bad legislators endorsed, promoted by SDRTL that wasted valuable limited legislative time on bills that went nowhere and never should of been introduced in the 1st place. SDRTL needs a new ED and direction. Enough of the fringe nutball candidates & legislators we South Dakotans end up as a result of SDRTL and other special interest groups.

    2. Fred Deutsch

      Anne, you couldn’t be more wrong in your assessment. In the pro-life community, South Dakota is regarded as one of the top pro-life states in the nation for the pro-life bills we pass. We proud and very grateful for each legislator that steps up to the plate to sponsor a bill, and for each legislator that votes for them.

      We believe South Dakota Right to Life has accomplished a great deal over the years. It’s easy to be critical on a blog – but if you really care about the issue, I invite you to join us. The organization has many outreaches, including education. If that’s your passion, help us make a difference.

  11. Anonymous

    We need more mature & sensible candidates like Todd Kolden up in Aberdeen’s district 3 running. Both he, the other winner in the primary being probably Dan in the state House, Al Novstrup who will easily win the state senate race will serve their district and SD well.

  12. Troy Jones

    I’m with Anne and Fred:

    I think in many ways SDRTL has been an indispensable leader on this issue with great accomplishments (especially legislatively). I also think their focus has resulted in some places where there has been insignificant progress (informing and educating the general public).

    I know sometimes groups have to decide either/or but sometimes they creatively can engage in both/and strategies. I think we would be better served with more of the latter but since I’ve never served on the board I may be unrealistic. I hope it is worth at least some consideration.


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