This is the guy the SD Democratic establishment is going crazy over. Daschle’s former campaign manager Steve Hildebrand started the “Draft Matt Varilek for congress” campaign on Facebook and it has gone pretty well for them. Already up to 534 “likes”! (Kristi Noem is approaching 15,000 “likes”!!!)
I can appreciate the Dems working hard at creating buzz for themselves and a potential candidate. It’s a good move. Noem also used Facebook to her advantage when she entered the GOP primary against Nelson and Curd, and the base quickly latched on to her.
Assuming he runs, Varilek will have the Johnson organization, what’s left of the Daschle organization, potential access to two of the three largest political data bases in our state (the Johnson and Daschle lists). Let’s assume they rival John Thune’s lists since they were his opponents in the 2002 and 2004 senate races. Maybe Varilek can even raise money and get the support of Senator Tim Johnson, Former Senator Tom Daschle and former Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin. On paper he has a lot going for him.
The biggest problem he has is reality.
In 2010 we voted Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin out of office, and she even voted against Obamacare. It wasn’t enough for Herseth-Sandlin to vote against Obamacare; she also needed to say she would repeal it, and she wouldn’t make that statement.
Now Varilek, this potential challenger to Noem, works for Senator Johnson – who voted for Obamacare. Varilek will likely come out in favor of Obamacare as well and make liberals across the state rejoice.
But Daschle, Johnson and Herseth didn’t get elected because they were liberals. They got elected as conservative/centrist democrats.
We can all see that if South Dakotans were willing to dismiss Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin for not taking a strong enough stand against Obamacare, then we are really unlikely to support Matt Varilek for Congress. But I say the Dems should go for it.