Dovetailing off of my earlier post on Secretary of State Shantel Krebs talking like she’s running for Governor, it bring up a question of who all we’ll actually see in the field running for the office.
I thought I’d put this up to see if we can fill in the blanks from the Crystal Ball based on precedent, the current landscape, and throwing darts into the wind.
There is absolutely no doubt that Attorney General Marty Jackley and incoming House Speaker Mark Mickelson are firmly in the race. And except for the fact that Congresswoman Noem has to dispatch
sacrificial lamb Paula Hawks, I’d say that she would be a sure thing.
But instead, we need to wait for December or so for confirmation.
From there, it gets a lot murkier. Lt Governor Matt Michels does his job quietly, but being at the podium this past weekend at the GOP convention, Matt showed us that we should not forget about him as time goes by.
Michels might be less likely than Noem to run, but as a familiar face to politicos and donors, he’s got a lot more game than many people might think, with extensive connections to this state’s healthcare and legal industries. In other words, he has resources people might not credit him for. And he’s an exceedingly approachable and friendly guy.
As noted earlier today, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs giving speeches on the budget, and challenging other agencies on the same, as well as talking about our tax structure are topics far broader than the confines of her office. You don’t give speeches on those things, unless you want people to talk about it.
And given the level of comments and attention my post is getting, people are talking.
From there, we start throwing darts.
Given the reality of South Dakota politics, I suspect we can anticipate we will see a Tea Party Candidate running on the Republican ticket in the vein of Gordon Howie, Lora Hubbel, or Stace Nelson, if Nelson catches another case of legislator-itis. It might not be any of them, but there will be a close alignment.
They’ll be out there proclaiming they’re the true Republican in the race, but will probably lack the money or organization to make a significant dent. The Tea Partiers enjoy some level of support from the base of the party, as they say the right things, but they have yet to be able to produce a candidate with charisma, or to translate that into hard dollars for advertising – two important factors that actually help in winning a race.
If they don’t feel a native son like Marty Jackley represents them sufficiently, someone may arise from West River Farmers & Ranchers to talk about agriculture and grasslands issues. We saw that with Larry Rhoden in the past US Senate Race, and Ken Knuppe in the last open Governor’s contest. Don’t be shocked to see someone roll the dice and enter the GOP race for Governor wearing a cowboy hat. I think it could happen.
And then we have what I call “Random Legislator.” That person who has been elected to represent their constituents in Pierre who just can’t get the concept of being Governor out of their head, is looking at the landscape, and doesn’t feel they can wait for another race with no incumbent to open up in 2026. That’s a long, long time off. They might feel the best time is to roll the dice now (in 2018), and they have both the dream and the drive.
Being “Random legislator” isn’t always a bad thing. Ask former Governor and current US Senator Mike Rounds how it worked for him. They key there is for this person to have some money, experience in statewide efforts, and some sort of statewide network. Mike had helped races long before he was elected to anything, and had an energized staff. I’d argue, while he wasn’t a legislator yet, Scott Munsterman also fit this archetype.
On the Democrat side, there are two. Literally. That’s all they have on their bench. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Mike Huether.
Huether is already running for all practical purposes. He wants it so bad, he can taste it.
I argue Herseth Sandlin might not be 100% confidence that she’s running, as she’s quietly below the radar for now. I can’t help but think she might be looking at her stock portfolio and $500k plus salary at Raven and asking herself “why do I want to take a massive pay cut, move to Pierre, and get my butt kicked by a Republican Legislature who attacks me at every turn?”
Common sense might keep her out.
So readers – What do you think I omitted, or what do you disagree with? Sound off in the comments!