Theresa Stehly looking to exit the SF City Council race before it begins? Appears to be floating run for the legislature.

Coming after criticism over “spreading misinformation” after the tornado that struck in Sioux Falls (which comes after criticism for her grandstanding antics) Sioux Falls City Councilwoman Theresa Stehly stands to face her strongest challenge as former State Legislator Alex Jensen moves towards launching a race for the at-large Sioux Falls City Council race.

Jensen, who in both his primary and general state legislative elections, was known for running a very strong campaign effort in the past. With the twin challenges of both negative public perception surrounding herself, and a strong opponent who knows how to do the work of taking her on, what does that leave the embattled and criticized Councilwoman Stehly to do?

Last night on the SouthDacola website, whose author Scott Ehrisman is attached to Theresa Stehly’s hip (or at least, his nose to another part of her anatomy) and serves as her advisor, floated this:

There has been a rumor circulating that Stehly is considering a run for District 14 Senate. Deb Soholt will be term limited so Stehly could run for that seat in 2020.

As we both know, Stehly hasn’t decided to run for re-election on the city council, so maybe a run for the state legislature is more appealing to her.

Read that here.

In the face of Jensen, who is sure to be a strong opponent, Theresa is trying to gauge how exiting the council and running for the Legislature might be taken.  What would that campaign slogan be? “Theresa Stehly – Because the legislature needs more grandstanding and dysfunction.”

Word is that State Representative Larry Zikmund is looking at that office, and if not him, GOP County Vice Chair Tyler Swanger ran for it before and would likely give it another shot. I’ve also heard rumors of others with an interest in the seat being vacated.

Even if Stehly survived that gauntlet, she’d likely face Democrat Erin Healy in the fall of 2020 who pulled off a surprise win in the House, and would likely be pushed by Democrats to leap to the open seat with the backing of her allies in the Democrat party.

If Stehly wants to jump contests to avoid a tough race where she might get beaten up, guess what? The District 14 State Senate contest isn’t going to be it. In fact, she’d get the pleasure of back to back contests where she’ll be beaten up.

22 Replies to “Theresa Stehly looking to exit the SF City Council race before it begins? Appears to be floating run for the legislature.”

  1. Steve Sibson

    What is wrong Pat? Replacing Soholt with Stehly would make the Senate way too conservative for you? Or would too anti-establishment be more like it?

    1. Pat Powers Post author

      Steve, you and I have the same vote in that race. None.

      And since you bring it up, I’ve supported plenty of Republicans who you might consider “anti-establishment.” As long as they’re good people with the best interest of the voters at heart, isn’t that the important thing?

    2. Anonymous

      I like Stahley because she is anti establishment.

      Yeah she can be out there but Jensen will only serve his elitist establishment masters.

  2. Eastside Voter

    Zikmund versus Swanger versus Stehly in a race, with the winner to face Healy. Fascinating.

    Rep. Zikmund has legislative experience – he’s a known commodity. A republican lifer who understands the chain of command, he won’t embarrass the party with ill-conceived publicity stunts. I doubt you’d find him signing a marijuana petition. He numbers among the patriotic republicans who funded the Veterans’ Cemetery – a great accomplishment and, potentially, his legislative career capstone. Larry has given South Dakota long years of service. He’s paid his dues. Call me sentimental, but I’d like to see him win. Yet, this is politics, 2020 style. As Clint said, “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.” Does Zikmund possess the charisma, energy, and stamina to win back-to-back, hotly contested (& physically demanding) contests? Does he have the requisite social media presence? Can he defeat Healy heads up?

    Tyler has youth, health, energy, and ambition. A family man now, he’s gained maturity since his 2016 adventures. He seems more fully invested. He’s smarter than folks assume, and (over the last 2 years) he’s become involved in the party, attending events, contributing money, and serving as county vice chair. I suspect he’d run an aggressive senate campaign. Although he’s a better 2020-style candidate than old-school Zikmund, Tyler isn’t a proven winner. Larry and Theresa would claim, with justification, that Swanger has never prevailed in a general election. Both Zikmund and Stehly have multiple wins. In D14, Larry far surpassed 6000 votes and Stehly, running for city council, amassed 5500 (no disrespect intended – figures drawn from memory — feel free to correct). Progressive Erin Healy is formidable. She did quite well in 2018. She has solid financial backing, and folks call her the “democrat darling.” In a moderate (borderline liberal) district, one Deb Soholt dominated, are we confident Swanger beats Healy?

    I’m not here to stick a knife in Theresa. It’s been my pleasure to meet her at various events. I don’t spend time on facebook, and I don’t attend many council meetings, so I don’t care about those (alleged) meltdowns. But she’s made enemies. Assuming she wants to duck Jensen, wouldn’t she be wiser to run for house than senate? Regardless, we know she has the guts to prosecute an aggressive, in your face campaign. She’ll court media attention and she’ll come out swinging. A Stehly v. Swanger primary would be brutal (albeit entertaining). Theresa embodies the “take no prisoners” attitude 2020 seems to demand, and she boasts a cadre of devoted partisans (eg Sibson). I’m far from sure she’d win, but I would not care to run against her.

  3. Legislator

    Her self-centered BS, publicity stunts and rudeness will be much less tolerated in the legislature than it is in Sioux Falls.

  4. Anonymous

    Stehly’s Project Trim amendment passed the council last night 8 – 0.

    She asked for an investigation into the tornado warning devices and the Mayor agreed.

    She asked for the city to assist in picking up debris after the storms and while she was castigated on this blog for being “big government” the Mayor agreed.

    Clearly her ideas have merit and are constitute sound policy.

    And now she voted against a 4 million property tax increase.

    The other councilors, who some on this blog did not go after for being big government types, voted FOR a 4 million tax increase.

    Where’s the condemnation for these tax and spend councilor’s?

  5. Zach

    If Zikmund runs for Senate I’ll support him. I’ve reached out to all my legislators in District 14 with comments and only Zikmund took the time to respond.

    Lets hope this year the Republicans in district 14 actively campaign unlike 2018 (save for Zikmund).

    -District 14 Voter

    1. Noem Voter

      Good post. My sense is that both Stehly and Swanger have made more enemies than has Zikmund, even though he’s been around longer. But I’m far from an expert on this topic. I oppose a property tax increase, fwiw.

      1. Zach

        I was actually thinking that it would be a good idea for both of them to run for both House seats if Zikmund runs for Senate. In my opinion, if all three seats are open (assuming both Healy and Zikmund run for Senate), we’d have a good chance of swinging District 14 fully R again.

        1. Eastside Voter

          PP wrote: “I’ve also heard rumors of others with an interest in the seat being vacated.”

          I’m curious to hear those rumors, but if Larry, Tyler, and Theresa are the 3 Republicans, I’ll support all three. I must admit, I have some lingering concerns about Rep. Zikmund’s health. It’ll be a strenuous, stressful campaign. As a very wise grandma (and soon to be great-grandma) on my street remarked, “What we don’t want Larry running himself into an early grave.” For the Senate, we should nominate the candidate most likely to win. Otherwise, we risk elevating SD’s most liberal house rep to the upper chamber.

          1. Zach

            Very well stated and good to hear that perspective.

            I’m anxious to see who does what in District 14 and will enthusiastically support the GOP in November.

            Hopefully we’ll find out soon!

  6. Troy

    Project Trim: What will this amendment do that wasn’t already done under the Mayor’s prior emergency declarations?

    Investigation: While the investigation had already been done (human error, miscommunication, and non-redundant controls which have all be rectified) by the Mayor, TS (channeling AOC) asked the question almost like “when are you going to quit beating your wife” where if the Mayor had opposed it he’d have looked like he had something to hide. If TS wants to be like the Dem’s in the House and have investigation after investigation, she just confirms being part of “The Squad.”

    Plus, in the end, the “findings” will highlight a single employee who messed up, who knows they messed up but has yet to have their name dragged through the mud. TS seems to be motivated by a sick and perverse desire to trash this person. Who does stuff like this for their own personal gratification? Certainly not decent people.

    1. Anonymous

      To be clear, I think the Mayor should have not succumbed to this investigation but should exposed TS for how little she regards common people just trying to do a tough job in tough circumstances (a tornado) and messed up (who is grateful the mistake didn’t cost people their lives).

    2. Steve Sibson

      I find it interesting that on another thread Stehly is run through the mud because see did not tell “many citizens” that they need to rely on more than the outdoor warning sirens, but then on this thread the government employee, who in error, did not fire up that outdoor warning system is to be protected.

  7. Jeff Partridge

    Sioux Falls will be well-served by Alex Jensen in a professional, visionary way. His business approach will benefit the future of Sioux Falls.
    Voters eventually tire of side shows. They watch for a while, but ultimately want competency, not political expediency.