40 under 40: Top 10 SD Republicans

Jason Gant

10. Jason Gant: Secretary of State is one of the more prominent offices in South Dakota politics, and Jason Gant has shown a strong vision embracing technology to take the SOS office to the next level. Gant, a former 3-term state senator from Sioux Falls defeated a former deputy secretary of state and a former speaker of the House to win the nomination before easily defeating BJ Nesselhuf in the general election.

Brian Gosch

9. Brian Gosch: Rising to the rank of Speaker Pro Tempore last session, Gosch has shown a great ability for leadership in the State House of Representatives.  He is very active in the Rapid City Community. Gosch was originally appointed to the legislature by former Governor Rounds in 2007.

Todd Schlekeway

8. Todd Schlekeway: The state senator from district 11 has a very bright future in South Dakota and is often the subject of political rumors for statewide office, but the recent buzz suggests he could more likely be a serious contender for Mayor of Sioux Falls. Schlekeway served in the State House of Representatives before running for State Senate in 2010. Schlekeway brings a tone of civility to an all-too-often coarse political climate.

Jon Lauck

7. Jon Lauck: Senator Thune?s senior political advisor, Lauck has deep knowledge of political strategy that often makes the difference between winning and losing. He has played an important role in the biggest federal elections in SD in recent years. Lauck is also an accomplished author: Daschle vs. Thune and Prairie Republic.

Dustin "Dusty" Johnson

6. Dusty Johnson: Few can energize a crowd like Dusty Johnson. He rose to prominence in SD GOP circles by defeating Jim Burg in the 2004 PUC race, winning reelection in 2010 with over 70% of the vote and then stepping down when asked to serve as chief of staff to Governor Dennis Daugaard.

5. Ryan Nelson: Nelson serves as Senator John Thune?s Chief of Staff/State Director. He is one of Senator Thune’s closest advisers. Nelson worked with Lauck and they get credit for lining up the stars to encourage a Noem candidacy and helping ensure her success in the 2010 election cycle. It’s also hard argue against Nelson considering his boss is one of only 3 Republican Senators to go unchallenged in the US since direct elections were established in 1913.

Russ Olson

4. Russ Olson: No one dominated a contested Senate election more in 2010 than Olson, garnering over 80% of the vote in District 8. He also became Senate Majority leader this past session and is viewed by many as having a very bright political future ahead of him. Olson used to have to deal with blogger Cory Heidelberger as one of his constituents. That alone makes Olson deserving of his ranking.

Jason Glodt

3. Jason Glodt: If you are going to win elections you need good people. Glodt has become the workhorse for the party over the last decade. He has been the one constant in every election. Whether it?s been John Thune, Mike Rounds, SD GOP Senate, Dennis Daugaard or Kristi Noem on the ballot, Glodt is leading the front lines. We predict he will be worth his weight in gold again in the 2014 senate race.

Marty Jackley

2. Marty Jackley: Jackley became a rising star in the South Dakota GOP after he was selected as US Attorney for South Dakota under President Bush. He followed that with an appointment to Attorney General of South Dakota by Governor Rounds when Larry Long stepped down to become a circuit court judge. Jackley then went on to receive the endorsements of 65 of 66 SD states attorneys and handily won his own term in 2010.

Kristi Noem

1. Kristi Noem: Noem shot to the top of our list after last year’s upset win against Chris Nelson in the GOP primary and her upset victory against Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin in last falls Congressional race. She quickly made her mark in the House of Representatives by winning a leadership position among her fellow freshmen.

123 Replies to “40 under 40: Top 10 SD Republicans”

      1. Bill Clay Post author

        Olson and Jackley are both close enough to the age that we couldn’t leave them off. Great people!

  1. Name

    Top 10 what? Movers and shakers in GOP? Effective GOP leaders? Candidates for future office? Conservative spokesmen? Not sure what we’re rating.

  2. Grant

    This got me thinking.

    Top 5 Political Minds/Strategists
    1. Ryan Nelson
    2. Jon Lauck
    3. Dusty Johnson
    4. Tony Ven Huizen
    5. Jason Glodt

    Top 5 Most Influential
    1. John Thune
    2. Dennis Daugaard
    3. Kristi Noem
    4. Bill Janklow
    5. Mike Rounds

    Top 5 Most Likely to Win a “Big” Office
    1. Dusty Johnson
    2. Marty Jackley
    3. Matt Michels
    4. Russ Olson
    5. David Lust

    1. Kid

      Michels is not in the top 5. You better replace him with Schlek. If by “big office” you mean a statewide election for national office, Jackley, Michels, Olson, and Lust should all be taken off the list. I think Dusty Johnson would, hands down, win an election for US Senate or House of Representatives. I also think Schlek would have a better chance of winning a state wide election than Jackley, Michels, Olson, or Lust.

      1. Anon

        I’ve met all those you speak of kid, have you? You should rethink your statement. A race isn’t won with 20 year olds efforts it’s won with 60 year olds money.

        1. scooby

          That is not a true statement. Money is important but so is getting out the vote.

          Michels is strong but it is unlikely we will have 3 people in a row from the same administration.

    2. Anon

      I like this approach. This group should be broken down into groups…
      Best Future Candidates – i.e. Jackley, Dusty, Michels, Seward, Lentsch, Olson all very good
      Best strategists
      Best grass roots operatives

      I wouldn’t consider many on these lists great candidates, and there certainly aren’t many great strategists from this bunch, but many of them are awesome on the grass roots level. And for many, that’s all they’ll be good at. Know your strengths!

    3. Anon

      I’m guessing based on the ages of your top minds you are in your 20s. Crisis tests a man or woman and age brings wisdom that the spirit of youth can’t overcome. Dimiss this as you will but I’ve seen plenty ofnyouthful mistakes in the last year in Pierre that a little history and perspective could have avoided. Not that anyone is watching.

      1. Anonymous

        I agree. Pierre staffers are so much more down to earth and educated compared to the DC pukes who think they know everything.

        Lots of good people in Pierre! And a few in DC.

  3. Stace Nelson

    Not to nit pick; however, former AG Larry Long was appointed to a vacancy in the 2nd Judicial Circuit, not the SD Supreme Court.

    SD is very fortunate to have so many sharp people willing to serve the good people of this state.

  4. Re-roll

    I agree with most of the people, but not the order.

    He’s important, but I’m not sure how Gosch is going to shape anything for the future. He has to step up to the plate, and not just be a yes man for Lust.

    Jackley is over-rated, and seems more self-interested than his predecessors.

    And what is Dusty Johnson doing there at all? Besides the fact he’s sitting on a massive pile of unearned campaign cash he should have given back when he didn’t take the office.

    I’d have placed Schlekeway above Kristi, who is handicapped by Josh Shields.

  5. Grant

    Re-Roll, wow.
    1. “What is Dusty doing here?” Well, he is an electoral machine with huge success, he transformed the PUC, is an expert in energy and telecommunications, is the right-hand man of the Governor (and look at all his team has accomplished), and is sharp as a tack. I’d put his resume and ability up against anybody on this list.
    2. Josh Shields isn’t a handicap. He’s an asset for Kristi, and she knows it.
    3. Schlek is awesome, but he isn’t #1. I’d put him just a spot or two higher than Clay does.

      1. Anonymous

        Noem didn’t win because of shields. She won because she was a damngood candidate. Shields did his best to lose that race for her. Speeding tickets anyone? How about how he took a positive campaign and made it negative?

  6. Anonymous

    Senator Schlekeway is a very credible candidate for Mayor of Sioux Falls. He offers Republicans a tremendous opportunity to seize the office from Democrat hands. Schlekeway would bring common sense, civility, limited government, and fiscal discipline back to City Hall. Rest assured, Schlekeway would find a consensus in terms of building a new events center. Republicans would be awfully smart to start drafting Schlekeway shortly after the 2012 election cycle. By far and away, Schlekeway is the best option to defeat Huether and/or win an open seat if Huether opts for a statewide office.

  7. Anonymous

    Schlekeway would be competetive for any office he chose to run for in SD. I believe he could run for Congress one day if he has the desire.

  8. Anonymous

    Hopefully, Schlekeway will feel that the citizens of Sioux Falls need his leadership more now than ever before. It is apparent that Schlekeway’s heart and soul belongs to the people of South Dakota. His character and integrity is second to none.

  9. feasant

    All the people on the list are great people. We could always nit pic the order.

    Grant I like your thinking.

    I am glad to see Jason Glodt so close to the top. He is a top notch worker, I doubt that there is anyone in the SD political arena that works as hard as he does. He has spent countless hours helping Republicans get elected. I would like to see him run for a Statewide office someday.

    South Dakota is in great shape because of the top notch people we have running this State. Thank you to all who made the list.

  10. Troy Jones

    Pretty impressive list. Love to see the Democrats put together their list top 40 and compare them.

    Or our top list of 40-60 years old vs. theirs? Or our old sages against theirs?

    Why do we have so much depth? Our past leaders didn’t absorb all the light and attention but mentored and developed people. Look at everyone on this list and they all have mentors, were given credit and accolades from their mentor.

    The 40 person list are all connected with experience/success/failures to Thune, Rounds, Janklow et. al. or have risen from within their own hometowns to places of influence and accomplisment recognized by us mutts in the seats. For every Hildebrand, Erpenbach, et. al., the GOP has five people.

    The foundation of the current depth was laid by the Thune’s, Janklows, Rounds. The foundation of those before them was laid by the Janklows, Mickelson’s, Abdnors and the Mundts, Boe’s, Farrars, Andersons, Foss’ before them.

    It is not that the Dem’s have not had leaders as they have McGovern, Kneip, Abouresk, Daschle, Johnson, Herseth, Herseth Sandlin.

    I don’t know why it is different between the parties but something is. When I got involved in Teen Age Republicans, there was never a problem getting 50 teens from around the state to come to Pierre for TAR days or go to TAR camp. At the same time, I lived in Pierre during the Kneip years and there wasn’t 10 young movers and shakers in town.

    While in college, there were 50 plus active young activists associated with Abdnor and another 50 with Janklow. We had a couple of hundred show up at our state College Republican conventions with active organizations on every campus. A huge percentage have for these 30 plus years continued to be active and influential here in SD.

    While the Abdnorites and Janklowites were extremely loyal to their “guy,” maybe we were at least as motivated if not more motivated by something that transcended the “cult” of our guy?

    Maybe with Dem’s activists they are too focused on the cult of their guy to extend their enthusiasm to another.

    Maybe this is why the GOP activists are so open to contested primaries and it is so discouraged by Dem activists. Maybe one’s DNA allows a transition (and thus continued involvement) outside of cult while the others resists a transition.

    I’m not intending to be critical. Many of my friends are Dem activists and former Dem legislators. Because I believe in the two party system, I want a strong and vibrant Democrat Party for the good of the body politic as well as the good of the GOP.

    Whatever the reason is, something is healthier in the South Dakota GOP and it will manifest itself for many years to come.

  11. anon

    I see House Majority Leader David Lust got mentioned once in the comments, but not in the top 40??? That’s the most obvious mistake in the list.

    Lust would be a strong contender for any statewide office he chose to run for. Very bright, and well-spoken.

  12. Million Dollar Man

    If Jason Gloat really were worth his weight in gold, depending on what you might guess his weight to be, he would be worth about 4.6 million dollars. Senate 2014 candidates: better begin fundraising now.

    Also, with the current practices of the Congress, Treasury, and Federal Reserve, his stock is sure to rise.

    1. El Toro Loco Grande (yeah, yeah, the big old ugly Bull)

      Mr. Glodt? Aside from being a terrible landlord, he has even less to offer as a late night host of the Pierre spirited beverage locales. Lucky the young man is pure unadulterated brilliance or we would have to veto his appropriate meteoric rise to the fame that he has been ill deprived of…

      1. El Toro Loco Grande (yeah, yeah, the big old ugly Bull)

        For those unaware, the first part is dripping with sarcasm… Mr. Glodt is as kind as he is brilliant. Rumor has is that he opens his doors to all kinds of rif-raf wayward SD pachyderms.

  13. Anonymous

    Chalk up another vote to say Todd Schlekeway would be a great candidate no matter which office he runs for.

    The constituents in District 11 are well served having Schlek as their State Senator.

  14. scooby

    I think the big gossip coming off this post is the idea Schlekeway might run for mayor. He is #1 as a person in my book. I hadn’t thought of him running for mayor but “Mayor Schlekeway” sounds perfect to me!

  15. caheidelberger

    By the way, I’m still registered to vote in Lake County. Russ still has to deal with me. And he is not likely to win higher office.

    Now if we only knew which elected officials have to deal with Clay Grüber as their constituent.

    1. El Toro Loco Grande (yeah, yeah, the big old ugly Bull)

      Simple math says he who departed stage left at that time is one and the same of he who now claims the nom de pleume of your nemesis..

      1. Anonymous

        yeah he did, got smacked by the courts but that was long ago and i think you are always allowed a couple mistakes along the way. Great guy, I would still support him

  16. Anon

    Ok,so here’s a question. Who did ‘Bill Clay’ miss? Who was omitted from the 40 under 40 list – which was really 50 or so including some in their 40’s.

    Here’s some names:

    Matt Roby – interesting that all the Gant staffers made the list, but not Roby for his work withJackley

    Rob Skjonsberg – former chief, good fundraiser, and a guy with a future if he wants it

    Angel Paulson – Thune’s fundraiser with lots of national experience

    Katie Douglas and Kelsey Webb – two young women who started as interns, worked campaign jobs and now work for Noem and Daugaard

    Matt Konenkamp

    Jerad Higman – fundraiser and former candidate and another future star if he wants it

    Who else?

    1. anon

      3 people on this list were over 40 in my estimate and they were all 40 if you ask me.

      Jackley, J Johnson and Russ Olson.

      I’m pretty sure that isn’t really streching it to 50.

    2. Anonymous

      Did Katie Douglas do anything in the last election outside of a little last minute victory effort?

      Kelsey Webb??? I’d say it’s a stretch. Dusty West River… and she worked for the SD GOP late in the game.

      Angel Paulsen is obviously an interesting choice because she didn’t really need to do much for Thune in 2010 and I don’t know if she is very active outside of the Thune world or if she really influences anything.

      Matt Konenkamp is State Party Secretary and he is mildly involved in politics at his local level. (Tell us when he does something)

      Rod Skjonsberg is probably the only person I would have argued to be on the list since he obviously carried considerable influence. But where does he rank? He’s not all that political at the moment and if Rounds runs for Senate then he might make another move but at the moment Skjonsberg seems to be checked out.

      Roby should be on this list. I don’t know how active Roby will be in future elections for multiple candidates but he probably should be somewhere between 35 and 40.

      I don’t know Jera Higman.

      1. Wing Shooter

        Skjonsberg is anything but checked out right now. Follow the fund raising trail as well as candidate recruitment and support (including a lot of names on this list) and you’ll trace a path back to him. He’s quietly become one of the major king makers in SD. He’s just not a glory hound like so many of the other wannabes.

      2. Anonymous

        Being an intern does not get anyone on a list. I remember her at convention. Douglas is a good person and I hope she stays involved because she has potential.

    3. Kid

      Good call on Katie Douglas and Kelsey Webb. This ENTIRE list only lists 5 women. I think if Ryan Budmayr and Will Mortensen make the list, so should Katie and Kelsey. Katie Douglas worked for the SDGOP for the entire summer and then went to work for Kristi’s campaign. She then moved to Washington, DC to work for Kristi. I think she definitely deserves to make the top 40. Kelsey Webb started working for Dusty Johnson’s campaign and then went to work for the Governor’s campaign. I’m not how you consider Spring, Summer, and Fall as being “late in the game.” Both Katie and Kelsey were inters with the State Legislature in 2010 and stayed working for the GOP ever since. They definitely deserve recognition. Both are very deserving.

      1. Anonymous

        I’m not sold.

        They can make a list in a few years.

        Budmyr was actively involved with Daugaard. Will ran Dusty’s campaign.

        Webb and Douglas will have there day but I don’t think we should get the cart ahead of the horse.

        1. Bobber

          6 women. Unfortunately I’m not sure there are many women actively involved in the GOP at a young age. (which is a shame) It really shows we need to do something about that.

          Douglas and Web are not top 40 but they did do a lot of hard work. I find the strike team was very unorganized and the impact anyone had working for Dusty Johnson was small. Dusty was going to win regardless and Will did run the show from winter through fall so he should be on the list. Plus he made Dusty look good because he is much more personable than Kelsey. She needs to work on what is appropriate to talk about while working for the SD GOP.

          Douglas is a nice girl. She will be on a list someday if she stays involved.

          1. Kid

            I realize it’s easy to pick and choose which arguments to reply to, but in the interest of fairness you should recognize that Kelsey didn’t just work for Dusty. When it became clear Dusty was going to win she went to work on the Governor’s campaign during the summer.

            Katie worked for the State GOP for the summer as well. They weren’t latecomers so I’m not sure where that is coming from.

    4. Anonymous

      Good calls on Dusty, Marty, Tony and further down the list … also thinking back to the gov’s race, don’t forget about Ben Arndt, “Republican” who ran with Heidepriem. I could see him coming back to the GOP if he wants any form of political future

      1. tr

        Palin ran away from the public service stress when the heat got turned up. Dusty ran toward the fire. Totally different. He’s a stud.

  17. Yellow Submarine

    Noem is #1 because she road a wave. Lauck and Nelson should be #1 and #2 because they put her in that spot.

    Chris Nelson and Blake Curd got screwed royally and the Scott Howell ads prove it.

    The real question to me is who do Lauck and Nelson back nexttime?

      1. El Toro Loco Grande (yeah, yeah, the big old ugly Bull)

        He may be; however, the man is brilliant, which youth cannot overcome by years alone! ** A side note, Gov. Daugaard shows his true leadership abilities with the folks he surrounds himself with…

  18. 73*

    I would give Schlekeway a better than 50% chance of becoming the next Mayor of SF if he ran for it.

    He would outwork anyone and he understands the issues.

  19. Duh

    Schlekeway? Don’t know the guy, but sounds like a grocery store. Seems to have a backing…

    Glodt, excellent backroom strategist. Front line politician? Questionable.

    However, what is missing from this list and attention that should be ackowledged is the lack of prominent females and non-white guys. If you want to chew at the heel of the demos, that’s your area. That’s what stirs the electoral pot and should be the expansion focus of the GOP (now how many years have we heard that???). I’m an aging white guy and I’m sick of seeing the same in government. Look at the GOP debate last night. You could go to any VFW tonight and see the same demographics.

    1. smokin' aces

      We do need more women. I would rank Krebs higher than Gosch but Krebs showed a lack of willingness to pull the trigger against SHS in ’10. She seems to want a sure thing. Sometimes you just have to take a shot in the dark and hope the stars line up. Or a tidal wave hits like with noem.

      1. anon

        Why don’t more women run in SD?

        Fiegen is the only woman out of all the constitutionals and the PUC.

        The younger electable women just don’t run. Miller and Bray were both much older than what SD typically elects at a statewide level.

        1. Anonymous

          Honestly, it is tough to run as a young woman in any conservative area, especially if you have young children. There is a different look that the women should still be around their kids more often and closer. Not to mention, Mommy Guilt. I’m sure fathers have it too, but it is a very real consideration for young women that want to run for political office.

    2. Sue

      It’s priorities. I was in College Republicans at SDSU at the same time as many of these gifted politicians (mid ’90s). When we have finished setting our families on the right path, we will step off our front porches and out of our offices and continue to make certain our state and country travel the right path.

      (Oh, and don’t doubt that we are working overtime behind the scenes. Not only do we do a lot of the local footwork, but also we are laying the groundwork for the next generation of properly educated conservative politicians.)

  20. Steve Hickey

    Reading this made me feel old and out to pasture. 🙂 But the contrast between the rising potential on our side of the aisle and the seemingly sparse potential on the other side of the aisle is striking.

  21. Anonymous

    Top Dems:

    1. Herseth-Sandlin
    2. Brendan Johnson
    3. Hundstad
    4. Fargen
    5. Frerichs
    6. Nessellhuf
    7. Matt McGovern

    Wow! that is more people than they have in the Senate!!!

    Very top heavy and once you get past the top 3 the list really falls off.

    1. anon

      Frerichs platform would be I served as Minority Leader in the State Senate.

      And the GOP response would be that there were only 5 of you.

      Makes Russ Olson getting support from 30 people look impressive.

    2. Anon

      Hunstad is a safe no. 3. Would put Tom Katus ahead of BJ, he’ll I’d put Angie Buhl, Marc feinsten, Suzy Blake, Kevin killer all ahead of that guy.

      1. grudznick

        Oh my goodness. Mr. Hundstad and this young Mr. Katus fellow who Stan helped years ago and then spanked his bottom are numbers 3 and 4 on this Demo list?

        That is bad news. Bad news indeed, for Mr. Neselhuf who is probably still in the top 10 of that weak pile.

        Katus. At least top 5. That scares even my good friend Bill.

    1. Anonymous

      Roby probably should have been on.

      I like that it stuck with people who are hands on right now and didn’t go back an pull people out of the box who haven’t done much for a few electoins. There were a lot of people who didn’t do much for Noem that I remember busting their butts for Thune in ’04.

      Skjonsberg could be back if Rounds runs for Senate but going to work for Poet kind of was like taking a break from the daily grind of politics. Did he do anything for Daugaard or Noem?

      Obviously he is still “involved” at some level but not to the extent he was as CoS. He can reelevate himself whenever he wants and he’d be top 20 but right now lets give credit to those actively involved.

      1. Anon

        For anyone who knows anything, they would know that Rob was more involved than many on this list and certainly had more impact. And guys like McCaulley and shields and VenHuizen and Gray would be way higher than the constitutionals.

        1. Anonymous

          Tony could be higher but he is also in that job because his father in law is the Governor. Tony is a good guy though.

          Tell me why you would want Shields? For the way he ran Curd’s campaign? That was where his true colors shined.

          Or was it the fact that he went to work for Noem because Thune’s people preasured her into hiring him? She was up 12% before they hired him.

      1. Anonymous

        Looking through the list, I really appreciate so many bright people serving the State in a variety of capacities. Dusty would be right near the top of the list for me, and I am taking in terms of public service, impact and potential.

        Say what you like, but the reality is that Marty Jackley and Dusty Johnson are great people, and the party and voters across the state would unite and support either one in a heartbeat. Both Marty and Dusty could win a statewide top-of-the-ticket race tomorrow. Oftentimes, it appears the negative comments are made because someone fears a stellar future candidate. I think that’s what is going on here for these two guys.

        1. anon

          trying to predict the future of SD races is like… Well almost impossible.

          If Noem and Rounds both run for Senate than that opens up a House race. If Noem wins Rounds is still done (nothing major changes) if Noem loses the primary then she is out for a while and Rounds is in (major change). If Noem defeats Rounds and it is a buising primary maybe SHS enters the general the favorite and unscathed. Maybe Noem wins.

          Noem leaving the House in ’14 to run for Senate means it’s an open seat and the top GOP candidates enter the race. Dusty, Shantel, Jarrod, Corey Brown, Dan Lederman etc… on the dem side they have Brendan Johnson who is waltzing through the primary unscathed. Obviously Dusty has some weaknesses since he left office before ever being sworn in and all of them view him as the front runner so they dismantle him one by one. Until whomever emerges is severly damaged. Dems win. or maybe the GOP wins…

          Maybe Noem doesn’t choose to challenge Rounds and instead stays in the House until 2018 and then she runs for Governor. Well that will suck for Michels, Jackley and Dusty and Russ Olson because then we have a serious mess on our hands.

          Or maybe Noem runs against Rounds in the Senate race and loses and then she is never really viable again?

          Or maybe Noem runs for senate wins and then we only have an open house seat. Dusty wins it.

          Then in 2018 Dusty decides to leave Congress to run for Governor and faces off against Michels and Jackley?

          It’s hard to predict the future in SD at the moment.

          1. old guy

            I can’t agree with you about Jarrod as this is a guy that seldom even comes to work in Pierre. When the budget cuts happen in Pierre he went in front of the committee and said his office is so small a 10% cut would only be $50,000 so he thought his budget was OK but of course it got trimmed back by 10%. My question to him would have been why don’t you cut back a FTE and come to work yourself. Dusty is a great person both personally and professionally but I have a problem with anybody that wants you to commit both money and your vote for his commitment to do a good job at the PUC. He then gets elected and says sorry give me a break as a commitment goes BOTH ways.

    1. El Toro Loco Grande (yeah, yeah, the big old ugly Bull)

      Dusty is a sharp young man. Major contendor! Only a fool would take his rise to Chief of Staff as a PASS! He works as rubber on the road for the public without the glory of being his own boss. That young man can out work all 40 of the list combined! Only fools would write him off, or some hacks that are sharpening their own little sticks…

      1. anon

        I don’t doubt Dusty works hard but I will take several of these people ahead of him. Especially the ones that aren’t in it for themselves.

      2. GOPDAD

        Could not have said it better myself. Dusty is not just a good politician, he is an even better person. We need not just more politicians like him. We need more people like him.

    2. Anonymous

      What switcharoo game is that? I only wish he’d have stayed in the PUC. He ran for it and then dumped it at the first sign of something better. (I can only imagine what he would have said if Barnett, Gant, Sattgast or Jarrod Johnson had done that). If you make a promise to the people then KEEP IT!

      1. Name

        Dusty didn’t leave for something better. He answered the call when he was drafted. He knew it would be politically damaging, and the fact that he still did it tells you a lot.

        1. SP

          Umm? Yeah right.

          Dusty totally did it so he could get to know donors. He’s said that to people before.

          Anyone who knows Dusty knows he isn’t the one being taken advantage of.

  22. GOPDAD

    Kristi Noem #1? Does anyone really believe that if she was 4′ tall and 270 pounds that she wins? I am not saying that she will not do a good job, but she was elected on her looks, period. Unfortunately, that’s what we American’s find important to often than not, maybe thats part of the problem. Lets get our priorities straight.

    1. El Toro Loco Grande (The Big Crazy (old) Bull)

      GOPDAD? Yeah, and I am a pure bred yearling Santa Gertrudas..

      Last election pitted two lovely & brilliant young women in the general election; however, their looks are not what South Dakotans voted on no matter what the whiny sour grapes losing party wants to claim.

      If looks were the key in SD, Old Wild Bill Janklow would have never made it past his SOS filings.

      Your comment is disrespectful to both the brilliant women who ran, and South Dakotans. Thankfully, South Dakotans do have their priorities straight..

      1. GOPDAD

        It was not meant to be disrespectful, sometimes the truth hurts. We had to have an attractive woman to beat SHS (neither lovely nor brilliant). As far as SD’s having priorities straight. We have elected Tom Daschle and SHS. These two will never live in SD again, unless its time to run for office. SHS is a sandbagger that was hand picked because of her last name. She talks of how great SD is, yet its not good enough for her and her family? And yet we send her to DC? I think its disrespectful to our state for anyone R or D, to move “back home” to represent us and when they are finished they never return. We need to NOT elect these type of people. Also, you comparing Noem to Janklow is apples and oranges, its a different time. If you think being attractive is not a HUGE advantage in politics, or as far as that goes, in everything, you are ignorant. The truth is that MOST people pay little or no attention to the idea’s of candidates, unlike all of us junkies that get on this blog. They vote for the most attractive smoothest talking person that promises the most.

        1. El Toro Loco Grande (The Big Crazy (old) Bull)

          Have you met Congresswoman Noem or former Consgresswoman Herseth Sandlin? Like or hate either of them, they are both clearly intelligent. Better eyes than mine also indicate they are both lovely. Nothing wrong with any of those circumstances. I am sure their looks did not hurt them; however, dismissing both on their looks and claiming South Dakotans simply followed the flashing lights following both of them, is ignorant.

          That being said, you hit a couple nails on the head. Clearly being attractive is a bonus to get elected and Mrs. SHS shot herself in the foot with the very being from SD actions you speak of which lost her the election more than anything and which prevents her from rising from the ashes.

          But what do I know, I thought OJ was guilty.

          1. GOPDAD

            I am not saying that just SD’s “follow the flashing lights”, I am saying it is all 50 states that do it, look at the people that we continue to send back to congress. We bitch and bitch and bitch about them and then re-elect them.
            We elected a president with absolutely NO experience and now we are paying for it. Why was Obama elected, was it his great leadership or his business credentials? Really, why was he elected?
            I agree with you on OJ.

            1. Anonymous

              The smart money says Noem is going to have a serious race on her hands in the future. Maybe it’s Rounds and maybe is Herseth.

              Either way we’ll get to see what Noem is made of. Right now I’m back on the fence about her simply because she is not following through on her town hall committment to the people of SD.

  23. PlanningStudent

    It blows my mind by how many posters write negative or critical posts about people on here and hide behind anonymous or some other title..

    I understand taking a philosophical stance on a political issue w/o revealing who you are because it isn’t a personal attack..