Former Congressional candidate looking at running for SF Mayor

From the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, now that Jeff Barth has a loss for Congress under his belt, this current County Commissioner is looking to take on his own party’s candidate for Sioux Falls Mayor:

Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth is considering a run for Sioux Falls mayor.

While he hasn’t officially announced his candidacy and won’t until he determines if he has the financial backing, he said he is looking into running for the position. The mayoral election is in April.

Incumbent Mike Huether has said he will run for re-election.

and…

Barth’s concerns about rising rates of crime and poverty in the city are what’s prompted him to consider a run for the city’s top job, he said. He said the mayor is not doing enough to address those issues.

Read it all here.

Varilek's glaring problem…

It’s not quite as glaring as his support for Obamacare or tax increases, but am I the only one who thinks Democratic Congressional nominee Matt “I like my analogies” Varilek should make sure his right side is facing the camera? I have no idea what he said in this interview, because I just kept staring at the glare off his expanding forehead…

I’m sorry, but defeating Jeff “I rode an Ostrich” Barth shouldn’t cause someone’s head to grow like that…

What's next for Jeff Barth?

The rumor going around is that Barth will now seek the Democratic Party’s second PUC nomination and run against Chris Nelson. Matt McGovern is currently the only announced candidate running for an SDDP PUC nomination, and he is seeking the nomination to run against Kristie Fiegen.

How would Jeff Barth fare as a PUC candidate? Didn’t he say somewhere he spent 30 years in the telecomunications industry?

I’m sure 28% of the vote in the primary wasn’t exactly the launching pad he was hoping for. The rubber chicken in his video had a better take off. However, the crash landings were about equal.

Democrats choose Varilek

I don’t know if the Democratic primary for Congress was a blatant indicator that the candidates were uninspiring and that’s why turnout was so low, or if it was just a reminder of how out of touch Cory Heidelberger and his liberal friends really are. He might have been “95% sure he would support Barth,” but the 12% of South Dakota Dems who chose to vote in the primary were 72% certain he was wrong.

Varilek, 37, cruised to an easy victory over Jeff Barth, winning 72 percent of the vote with 624 out of 710 precincts reporting. Barth, a Minnehaha County commissioner, failed to win his own county.

One of the funnier quotes from the night came from Barth:

Barth said that his message didn?t connect with Democratic primary voters. But he said he hoped the campaign made Varilek a tougher candidate going into the general election.

Did Varilek really campaign that hard? I heard he sent out a mailer. If Barth did anything to strengthen Varilek, it was not creating a real campaign that made Varilek spend his fundraising. For that I’m sure Varilek is thankful. But then again, if that is the line of thinking Barth could have just dropped out…

Had I been giving advice to Varilek, I would have encouraged him to run a nice fluffy ad like Noem did in the primary to raise his profile in a positive way. It really helped Noem having 6-7 months of recognition by the average parade or fair goer across South Dakota from her TV commercials as she went from community to community over the summer and fall.

State Senator Angie Buhl joined the Heidelberger crowd and indicated how out of touch she is when it comes to liberal issues like support for gay marriage.

State Democratic Sen. Angie Buhl of Sioux Falls predicted that, had the primary occurred within a couple days after the exchange on gay marriage, Barth might have won. But during the next few weeks, the debates gave Democrats more time to evaluate the candidates on taxes and other issues.

But the bigger problem for Democrats was the enthusiasm gap and dreadfully low turnout. Maybe they need to bring back the chili feeds or oats for votes?

Maybe they need some real candidates? Or maybe they need to be more in tune with the South Dakota voters?

Get me the "Barth-bag"

I was hoping congressional candidate Jeff Barth wouldn’t unravel until after he defeated the Tim Johnson heir, Matt Varilek, in the primary, but he is already doing so in a rapid fashion. From David Montgomery’s new blog:

Jeff Barth was recently criticized by Republicans for saying their health plan would leave people who aren?t ?healthy or wealthy? to ?die quickly.? He didn?t back down, intensifying his language to say Republicans ?want to kill millions of Americans.?

Montgomery also caught Barth talking about more than a little nonsense:

Talking about Noem, Barth said:

?I don?t know why she doesn?t answer any of those questions about her fictitious support for a balanced budget, or her final solution for people on Medicare.?

Comparing people to Hitler is almost never a good idea.

Good catch Mr. Montgomery.

What a sad state to see so many wing nuts in the Democratic Party flocking to this guy. Jeff Barth might as well be the Alan Grayson of South Dakota.

“CLUNK! CLUNK!” Sounds like the wheels are already coming off of the Barth bus…

Jeff Barth video nears 80,000 views

I have to admit I’ve watched the ad about 20 times. The Jeff Barth video juggernaut has arrived. He’s cleared over 78,000 views on youtube. In comparison Kristi Noem’s “Caucus” ad from the 2010 campaign has over 80,000 views (Without doing much searching that appears to be her most viewed video). How many views will Barth’s video get?

Over on youtube I’ve been reading the comments posted about Barth’s video and I thought I’d share some of the best ones:

At least no one can call him “gutless.” – drakono82 10 hours ago

“Dude got winded walking downhill. Stick to chess.” – sgrotjan 16 hours ago

“He’s like a fat Forrest Gump. I shall now refer to him as Forrest Gut.” –  Aceman7723 16 hours ago

“I’m glad someone finally recorded Jeff’s daily trip-to-the-mailbox speech.” – dfgyuhdd 13 hours ago

“And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the most exercise Jeff Barth has gotten since his ostrich riding days.” – Aceman7723 1 day ago

“All I want to know is: what is he smuggling under his shirt?” – neoshake 1 day ago

“What is with all the weight comments This guy is actually taking an active part in your country’s political system so that he can bring what he considers good change, and all you people can do is comment on the gut of an old man who seems to have lived a pretty cool life if you? ask me.” – Simbalis 1 day ago

“The best political ad EVER!” – kolatubosun 1 day ago

“I just Googled Kristi Noem —Wow !.. Mr. Barth, forget about Washington.” – jbjumpback 16 hours ago

“They cut out the part at the end with the firetruck and the defibrillator.” – jrblackify 5 hours ago

Barth might find himself the media darling in South Dakota politics with reporters hoping to catch his next great moment. And for a candidate with a lack of cash, nothing could be better.

Jeff Barth ad gains traction

When I first started the ad I chuckled at how poor the quality was and how Barth was out of breath before speaking. It was certainly not filmed by a high end ad agency (and maybe that’s some of the appeal). But when Barth started to speak, I could feel it resonate on some level. Maybe I didn’t agree with all of what he was saying, but I could tell this guy is frustrated and maybe feels a little bit like many conservatives did leading up to the 2010 election.

I recommend watching the ad. Matt Varilek might be in some serious trouble as he approaches the June 5th primary and find himself wishing that he’d given the Democrats more reason to vote for him than the fact that he’s in tight with the establishment.

 

The Argus has more on the ad:

Various props are scattered along the path, including a cutout of a horse’s rear end, a mannequin representing incumbent Rep. Kristi Noem, and a gun, which Barth appears to fire.

Since going online, it got picked up by national news organizations including the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and MSNBC.

Barth said Thursday evening that he might be making an appearance on national cable news Friday to discuss the ad, but wouldn’t say which channel.

If I was a Dem, I’d hitch my wagon to Barth and never look back. He’s somewhat brash and doesn’t come off as rehearsed.

Never thought I’d say this but Jeff Barth is clearly head and shoulders the best candidate the Democrats have running and most likely the one they will enjoy supporting the most.

If Barth pulls off this upset, it will not bode well as a sign of strength for Senator Johnson’s organization.

Dems debate tonight in Brookings

Tonight, fresh off of seeing liberal Democrats fleeing his campaign in droves over the gay marriage debacle, “Mr. Analogy” himself, Matt Varilek, will be participating in a Democratic debate with rival Jeff Barth.

ONE NIGHT ONLY!!! Brookings County Democrats are hosting a debate between Matt Varilek and Jeff Barth on Wednesday, May 23, at 7 p.m. at the Brookings Public Library. Esteemed professor emeritus of political science Bob Burns will moderate. Come out and get your debate on!

Varilek has clearly seen a slide in his support, and it will be interesting to see if he can recover the ground he lost. Madville Times has new online polling:

Online polls are very inacurate, but one would assume Varilek would have won that poll overwhelmingly a couple weeks ago. If nothing else, the most liberal voters have signalled to Varilek that he will struggle to garner grassroots support in the coming primary election.

Washington Examiner highlights the growing divide amongst Dems and gay marriage

Is Obama intent on destroying the Democratic Party? One might think so after seeing the dramatic losses Democrats suffered in 2010 after only two years of hope and change in power. Now he’s put them on the defensive again with his “evolution” on gay marraige.

That didn?t take long. Just over a week since President Obama flip-flopped to endorse gay marriage, a significant split among Democrats has opened and threatens to become Grand Canyon-wide in moderate and conservative states where congressional candidates fear the issue will sink their election chances… The issue is helping Obama raise money in liberal circles, but the South Dakota and North Carolina fight shows that it is also energizing conservatives and threatening establishment Democrats in red states.

The Washington Examiner also discusses Senator Johnson’s timid approach to gay marriage as it was reported in Tom Lawrence’s column from the MDR.

As for Varilek, he doesn?t appear to be alone in his opposition to Obama?s views. When the Daily Republic asked Johnson about his view, he deferred to a state law barring gay marriage. ?Some states choose to allow it and some states don?t.?

A growing divide in the SDDP

David Montgomerey’s recent post on Mount Blogmore goes a long way in highlighting the different positions on issues that have plagued the South Dakota Democratic Party’s statewide candidates for the last several years. The story also indicates Jeff Barth might be willing to drive a wedge even deeper into the Democratic party by taking on Matt Varilek, the establishment’s chosen one.

?I?ve campaigned across the state with Matt Varilek,? Barth said. ?I talk about issues like Medicare and Medicaid and the Ryan budget. Matt generally regurgitates Sen. Daschle?s endorsement letter.?

Barth is also finding energy and support from the base for his support for gay marriage.

Some Democrats have been outspokenly critical of Varilek for this position, and Barth says he?s gotten more donations and support from people who like his position in favor of same-sex marriage.

The whole exchange seems to have reinvigorated Barth, who called the newsroom today, declared himself ?cranky? and proceeded to lay into Varilek in much harsher terms than I?ve seen so far in this largely civil and quiet Democratic primary.

Now your guess is as good as mine as to how many people care one way or the other about same sex marriage in SD… But I would assume Ben Nesselhuf had it right when he said it was a “peripheral issue.” The problem for Varilek and Nesselhuf is that it doesn’t appear to be a peripheral issue to an active segment of the Democratic base in SD.

Varilek might have some fence mending to do with the base if he is to win the nomination in June.

Varilek admitted he?s gotten some backlash from Democrats upset about his position on same-sex marriage.

?Some people are disappointed that I support civil unions and support letting churches and states define the term ?marriage,? in particular,? Varilek said. ?I?m talking to a lot of folks who feel that way, as well as folks who feel differently.?

Don’t worry Matt, just tell them you were endorsed by Daschle. Maybe they’ll get over it…