Former District 28 Senate Republican Ryan Maher turned in petitions yesterday to become “new” District 28 Senate Repubican candidate.
Maher is said to be replacing Betty Olson who is passing on running for another term in the State Senate after a long career in the State Legislature.
Maher, who originally started out as a Democrat, came home to the GOP in 2010, and has been consistently one of its most conservative members.
Interestingly, Maher’s colleagues always thought he was in the wrong party to start:
…Maher landed the support of Senate GOP head Russ Olson of Wentworth, and was given the post. Olson now says he knew Maher was truly a Republican five minutes after meeting him.
As for his party switch, Maher said was a pretty natural process, though he doesn’t give himself over completely to GOP values either.
“I didn’t buy into the Democratic philosophy. My voting record shows I don’t really buy into the Republican philosophy. I’m more of a libertarian. It’s like the ranchers out there — independents,” Maher said.
Olson said he’s never had any question about Maher’s political beliefs
“As a legislator, Ryan has always been a true conservative with his voting. I believe the John Birch Society had him ranked consistently more conservative than most Republicans, including me,” Olson said. “Ryan has been a fine legislator, whether he was registered as a Democrat or Republican.”
Ryan is a good egg, and it will be great to see him back in Pierre.
The only sad thing is Senator Betty Olson giving up another run. Agree or disagree with her, Betty has always been entertaining, and a dose of reality in a legislature that gets too caught up in politics at times.