KELOland chronicling Secretary of State’s errors in primary election

KELOland news posted a story last evening regarding the bumps in the road that Secretary of State Monae Johnson has experienced in her first statewide election.  And as reader of this website know, it has been a rocky road:

Based on the error by the SOS, the office rejected Taylor’s challenge to Merkwan’s place on the ballot, which lead to an appeal to circuit court where a judge ruled that it was the responsibility of the candidate to know the number of signatures needed, and it did not matter what they were told by the SOS. Therefor, Merkwan was decertified as a Republican candidate.

The Office of the SOS has taken responsibility for the error, telling KELOLAND News that they had mounted a ‘vigorous defense’ as to why Merkwan should remain on the ballot.

“The court was made aware and the office admitted that it miscalculated the number of valid signatures needed to place Legislative District 17 Republican candidates on the ballot.  The office also put forth the argument that Mr. Merkwan should not be penalized for the office’s mistake.”


Read the entire story here.

Why is there this nagging feeling that someone should start preparing for a run for Secretary of State in 2026, because there will most likely be an open seat?

Hopefully, not the Deputy SOS, as Monae Johnson was advocating for in 2023.

Amber Hulse meet & greet Tuesday night in Hermosa, Daryl Christiansen meet & greet in Sioux Falls on Thursday

Sorry for the lack of posting – as Early/Absentee Voting approaches, it’s has been kind of nuts around here. It was good, in that I got to race across the state to see my bride on Saturday… where she got to watch me promptly fall asleep after we went to the Steerfish Steak & Smoke in Spearfish, SD.  Seriously. The 20oz ribeye was just crazy good. I ate about half of it at the meal, and had to abandon the rest for my wife to use on a steak salad, as I had to wake up the next morning and head back across to the east side of the river.

But, now that I’m back, wanted to point out a couple of events for great candidates.

First up, Amber Hulse, candidate for District 30 State Senate against the flawed post-natal counselor Julie Frye-Awful, is having a meet & greet Tuesday evening in Hermosa. Check it out, and please give Amber your support. You owe it to District 30, as well as new mothers everywhere.

Next up District 9 House Candidate Daryl Christiansen is having a meet & greet event of his own on the Eastern half of the state for his race at Shenanigans in Sioux Falls:

Daryl is one of the three candidates running for two seats in the District 9 House race, and well worth supporting. Stop on by, say hi, and find out what the campaign is all about.

Keep watching the races!

SD College Republicans disavow SDSU event with Indy Candidate

From my mailbox:

South Dakota College Republicans Stands With Chairman Wiik and All REPUBLICAN Candidates

A couple days ago, I was informed about South Dakota State University College Republican’s decision to host an independent candidate for U.S. Congress. South Dakota College Republicans in no way endorses or supports this candidate in their run for U.S House.

South Dakota College Republicans will not endorse nor support any candidate that runs as an independent—even if they hold conservative values. As an auxiliary of the South Dakota Republican Party, we exist to support candidates who meet the requirements set forth by the bylaws of the SDGOP. If a candidate does not meet these requirements, they will not make it on the primary ballot nor garnish the support of South Dakota College Republicans.

Further, South Dakota College Republicans exists to encourage students to increase civic engagement and become more involved within the political processes of our state. Part of this includes encouraging involvement with and supporting candidates that best match their individual conservative ideology within primary elections. That being said, South Dakota College Republicans, as an organization, will remain neutral in all primary elections and will support whoever the eventual Republican nominee is.

We stand with SDGOP Chairman Wiik in enforcing bylaw 6A and supporting REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES for office. South Dakota College Republicans recognizes that Congressman Dusty Johnson is the only official U.S. House candidate for the SDGOP and fully supports his reelection effort.

As the newly elected state chair of South Dakota College Republicans, I look forward to the opportunity to work with our campus chapters to further conservative values and the mission of the SDGOP on our college campuses.


Taylor Van Emmerik
State Chair
South Dakota College Republicans

Remember Carson Merkwan? Don’t blink, because now he’s gone as a candidate decertified from running.

Remember the post I did yesterday on District 17 Legislative Candidate Carson Merkwan explaining he’s ready for people to be offended?

Don’t blink. Because this happened today:

As I’m being told, Merkwan was decertified because he didn’t collect enough signatures.  The bad part was that he allegedly collected the number of signatures that he did using a guide the Secretary of State had posted online.  Except that it had wrong numbers.

His petitions were originally accepted by the SOS on that basis, but when it went to court, it was thrown out because a guide erroneously made by the SOS  does not supersede state law.

So, Carson will have to have a spine strong enough to say what is truthful without the benefit of using the soapbox of running for office.

SDGOP Chairman drops the hammer: “If that makes you uncomfortable, you are able to resign your position with the party.”

Big update from the South Dakota Republican Party.

Last night, I’m hearing around 11:30ish, the Chairman of the Republican Party, backed by the State Party executive board, sent a nice note out to SDGOP Central Committee Members.

The message to a few of them? Knock it off:

Chairman Wiik pointed out that there are bylaws that talk about people running as indys. And if members of the Central Committee want to support a non-Republican candidate:

Justin McNeal is not a Republican candidate for anything. Nothing against him personally, but he didn’t get enough signatures to appear on the ballot as a Republican. Congressman Johnson did. Dusty Johnson is our Republican Party recognized candidate for Congress. If you support anyone else, you are not supporting the Republican in this race. If that makes you uncomfortable, you are able to resign your position with the party and work on McNeal’s campaign, but we cannot allow you as a member of the Central Committee to support a non-Republican candidate.

Boom! and then the other shoe dropped, as the chair also recognized that Yankton County was dabbling in areas it was not supposed to be dabbing in:

..we have first hand reports of county parties supporting one side of a primary amongst Republicans. Simply stated, that violates a century of tradition in our party, and I cannot allow it. We are fighting a ballot measure that threatens to open our primaries. Unless we lose that battle, Republican voters choose our nominee. We can offer forums, meet and greets, and countless ways to inform our voters, but the final decision belongs to the voters, not the party. Please do not endorse in primaries either financially or by resolution.

Chairman’s Wiik’s Update letter puts significant pressure on the county groups (and auxiliaries) to rein in some of their more troubling bad actors who have been actively straying outside of their lane and campaigning against Republicans.

So, if someone like Minnehaha County GOP Vice Chair Jennifer Foss who has been lending aid to the Independent hopeful doesn’t like it,  the State Party Chairman and Executive Board are actively encouraging her to find the door, and to not let it knock her in the rear-end on her way out.

Keep on reading. I’m sure there’s more to come.

Another D17 House candidate doing odd things. Tells voters he is “prepared for people to be offended by his stances.”

This week, while one District 17 House Republican challenger is in the greybar hotel telling officers about the CIA Cameras in her teeth, you’d think that we would hit the limit for odd things that candidates do. But this year, our cup appears to runneth over.

Carson Merkwan, another challenger Republican for District 17 House, is on social media and happens to be telling those following his facebook that he is prepared for people to be offended by his stances:

“A negative perception will be inevitable in today’s polarized landscape no matter how positive someone intends to be if they are willing to make meaningful stands. He is prepared for people to be offended by his stances.”

I look at this kind of statement and just ask, “Why?”  “Why on earth would a person think that this makes people want to vote for them?

I’ve interacted with Carson before, and found him to be personable, and seemed to even care about serving his community on local boards.  So, why would he run a campaign saying up front that he’s going to offend people? It just defies logic, and is illustrative of the state of politics our country is in.

There are a class of politicians who operate under the misguided notion that elections are won by division.  That could not be farther from the truth, and the kind of thinking that is going to put Democrats back in office in the state.

Elections are won by bringing people together and building a coalition in support of your cause or candidacy. No one is saying you have to want to snuggle up to everyone, but to find common goals.   Plenty of politicians quote Reagan, citing “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.”  But nowadays if you aren’t walking in complete lockstep, there’s going to be an ideological, or maybe even a January 6 style physical throwdown.

Candidates, don’t do this. It’s not good for your election. And even worse for the state of politics.

South Dakota Legislative Candidate arrested for obstruction of a police officer, jailed pending further charges and possible committal.

It looks like yesterday was not District 17 Republican House candidate Robin Schiro‘s day. Because she spent part of it in the Union County Jail charged with 22-11-6, obstructing an officer. And it sounds as if she may be picking up other charges in Clay County, as well as law enforcement having her case brought in front of the Union County Mental Health Board of Directors.

It appears she was brought to jail after refusing to sign.

The ticket is bad enough for a legislative candidate facing a primary on June 4th..  But the narrative is so much worse.

From the Affidavit of Probable Cause for warrantless arrest:

“Shortly after, the Frontier and Trooper Gonzalez passed me. The Frontier took exit 18 southbound off-ramp into Elk Point. Myself, Deputy Gardini and Sergeant J. Christie, Elk Point Police Officer C. Trudeau and Chief J. Limoges, all surrounded the house; however, Iwas advised by Officer Trudeau that the female driver already exited her vehicle and entered her residence. tI was decided to leave the situation be at the time, and to just wait for Clay County to approve a warrant for the driver’s arrest for eluding law enforcement (SDCL 32-33-18.1). Al units then went back into service. I later found out that the female was the registered owner, Robin Schiro (white female, DOB 11/13/1959). I was told Schiro has mental health disorders. I also discovered that Clay County Sheriff’s Office began to pursue her because they were able to identify her driving with a warrant. She refused to stop for Clay County units and Trooper Gonzalez.”

“Around 1630 hours, Officer Trudeau radioed that the Frontier was not at the house anymore, but he did not know a direction of travel. I advised I would keep watch for it. I called Union County Dispatch and asked if Schiro’s warrant was valid out of Lawrence, SD. I was told that a confirmation was sent, and Lawrence replied that it was still valid and they wished for her to be held, if located. It hen ended my phone call. Deputy Gardini was partnered with me in my patrol vehicle during this time.”

So, Schiro was not only in trouble for what had taken place in Clay County, but as I noted earlier, she already had an outstanding warrant in Lawrence County.    And she seems to be hanging on to the talk about the IRS (my emphasis…)

Schiro then got very angry with me as I told her the facts I knew at the time. Schiro began to contest her outstanding warrant. Schiro mentioned that she did not stop for the officers earlier in Clay County because they did not have a valid warrant for her to stop. Schiro kept raising her voice saying I work for the IRS despite me identifying myself as a sworn and certified Deputy Sheriff of the Union County Sheriff’s Office. I had to ask for her ID multiple times. After arguing over it for a bit, she finally complied with my lawful command to give me identification, as I was investigating her for the previous eluding and her warrant.


Upon arrival to the jail, we entered the booking room. I called the Union County Mental Health board of directors to speak regarding a mental health committal for the time being, as Schiro was in the sally port making comments about her being bugged by the IRS. She said she was bugged and that they were watching her with cameras in her teeth. Sheriff Prouty was notified and advised to allow her to be booked into the jail on her charges/warrant and that we wil continue the mental committal process. At the time of this report, the process is still being worked.

I am charging Schiro for violation of SDCL 22-11-6 (obstruction). Schiro’s charges for eluding out of Clay County, SD, for earlier, are still pending. Her warrant with Lawrence County, SD, is for violating SDCL 32-25-7 (speeding on other roadways). A copy of the warrant was uploaded into this report.

Bugged by the IRS and that they were watching with cameras in her teeth..  That’s not good.

Read that in the attached, below.

Robin Schiro 63cri24-000157_affidavit of Probable Cause for Warrantless Arrest by Pat Powers on Scribd

The bottom line is that she should not be on the ballot.. and we can hope she gets help for what ails her.

And trust me. Going to Pierre as a legislator is not the cure for having personal problems. We have enough people there who you have to take a moment on, without accusations of teeth bugging.

Introducing the Real Conservative Scorecard: How do your legislators rank?

A short time back, a group no one has ever heard of came out with a scorecard of how they ranked the candidates for office with such interesting tidbits as how they ranked the candidates running in District 3:

Basically, Carl Perry stinks, but we have beef with Katie, so vote for Carl.   Objective, wouldn’t you agree?  (That was sarcasm. Katie rocks).

Along those lines, we see scorecards from the left, right, and in-between telling people who is and is not the better candidate. So, which one is correct?

Well, I’m going to solve that problem for you with the first ever SDWC scorecard. Working with several conservative Republicans, we’ve come up with the one you should consider when making your decision who is the best – the first ever Real Conservative Scorecard!

The scorecard bases it’s measure of conservatism on 4 different areas:

1) Supporting Law Enforcement and Keeping Communities Safe
2) Cutting Taxes and Discouraging Welfare
3) Protecting Life and Promoting Family Values
4) Securing Our Elections and Giving Voice to All Voters

Pretty basic areas I think all Republicans can agree on over what constitutes a conservative viewpoint. There might be an issue or two that we disagree on, but … well, you can go do your own scorecard. But here’s where I and several other Real Republicans draw the conservative line.

The list of what the bills are comes after the scorecards.  And looking at the data, there are more than a few surprises. The list is broad enough that one vote doesn’t swing it. And legislators are graded on the “tough teacher” scale.. not any of that 90% 80% 70% scale stuff.

So read it for yourself, and let us know what you think:

SDWC first ever Real Conservative Scorecard by Pat Powers on Scribd

Are they going to change their name to the SDSU College Not Republicans now?

Looking like the same cancer infecting the Minnehaha and Deuel County GOP has made it’s way to the SDSU College Republicans, as they blasted a message out earlier today that they’re hosting Not Republican/Independent hopeful for Congress Justin McNeal tomorrow night..

Are they going to change their name to the SDSU College Not Republicans now?

No word when they’ll be hosting the Democrat for Congress, since the concept of being a Republican party auxilliary organization escapes them.