As a candidate, would Billie Sutton reject the Liberal Democrat social agenda, or is he aligned with it?

On Wednesday, District 21 Democrat and State Senator Billie Sutton has invited people to visit his family ranch outside of the town of Burke for an announcement regarding his political future.

Since most people don’t invite media out to their ranch for an announcement that they’re retiring from politics, I think we can safely assume he’s running ‘for something.’ He has been long rumored to be interested in running for Governor, so it is a safe bet that this is the campaign that he’s going to be throwing his hat in the ring for.

Billie’s candidacy is kind of unique for South Dakota Democrats, as on the surface, he comes off as a kindred spirit to the party’s offering for Governor in 1990, Faith rancher Bob Samuelson who made teacher pay a major issue in his campaign (and was handily defeated in the contest on a 59 – 41% basis by Governor George S. Mickelson).

Sutton comes off as a rare West River Democrat who on the surface seems to have a conservative bent.  Pro-life Democrat Julie Bartling from Sutton’s own District is counted in that number. And there’s another one or two of them. But by and large, and driving the reason behind conservative South Dakota’s further reddening into one of the deepest red states in the country, traditionally conservative Democrats don’t exist anymore.

So as voters may seek a palatable candidate who has the same values as they do, they immediately pass over Democrats because they know they don’t share their values, based on what they see on TV and read in the media on a daily basis.

What people read and see is a world outside the Midwest which encroaches more and more on their own and it’s one that they’d largely like to shelter themselves from.  They don’t want their kids showering with the opposite sex in locker rooms. They don’t want anti-police riots in the street. They don’t like being told what to do, or lectured what they think is ‘political incorrectness.’  They think people should be paid what they’re worth, and they don’t want to give government one more dime than their fair share.   They hate President Obama and Obamacare, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, etcetera and so on.

So, nearly thirty years after the last “West River Cowboy Democrat” tried it, where does a Billie Sutton candidacy stand in this election as taking on the mantle of being the spokesman and leader of the Democrat Party agenda versus a South Dakota that has rejected it with more and more fervor every year?

While he’s not a Sioux Falls or Aberdeen liberal firebrand, in looking at the Sutton record, his record isn’t especially in red or even deep purple territory. It seems to be quite blue.

Sutton was rated at 100% supporting the LGBT Activist group South Dakota Equality in 2015 and 2016. According to the American Conservative Union, he has not been ranked at above 50%, and most recently was scored at 30%.  And he’s gone up and down in the NRA’s rankings, from C+, to 50%, and was at 79% in 2016.

And if we start drilling down into specifics, Sutton has been advocating for a bill on Medical Marijuana, increasing state legislator salaries, was against prohibiting the employment of illegal aliens, recently sponsored a bill for state-funded preschool, and has been a vocal proponent of Obamacare.   These aren’t exactly positions solidly in “red” territory.

About the only consistent conservative position Sutton has held is on abortion. In 2011 and 2012 he was at 100% for South Dakota Right to Life, but dropped in 2015 before being ranked at 100% again in 2016. NARAL has Sutton at 50%

Fairly conservative on Abortion, but when it comes to the other issues, Sutton seems to openly embrace and even promote the larger Democrat agenda pursued by the most openly Blue, “Bernie Sanders loving” liberal Democrats of the extreme left.

So, to answer the question “As a candidate, would Billie Sutton reject the Democrat social agenda, or is he aligned with it?”  I think you have your answer.   Sutton may be a nice guy. And he may wearing a cowboy hat.

But don’t think it translates into him being a mis-identified Republican by any stretch of the imagination.

16 thoughts on “As a candidate, would Billie Sutton reject the Liberal Democrat social agenda, or is he aligned with it?”

  1. This reminds me of the time the Dems had sitting Democrat legislators run for statewide office leaving seats open for Republicans. I am going to guess that this move results in one or more Republicans joining the legislature from Sutton’s district. Keep up the good work Tornberg- by the time you are done as Dem Chair the Republicans will have all 105 seats.

    1. Sutton was already term limited. If he runs a respectable statewide race and loses, he will likely be back in the Legislature by 2020

  2. Will he condemn the rest of the SDDP and national dems for expelling members who are not strong enough in their desire to kill innocent life? The DNC chair’s stance may be a final straw for him and he pulls a Heuther and drops the D from his name.

  3. I had it relayed to me that Sutton is listed on the agenda at Girls State at 10:30 AM on Wednesday. Not sure how that’s going to work…

  4. If Sutton embraces the Hard Left/Antifa, white privilege, everyone is a victim, war on cops and drugs are cool wing of the SDDP this Democrat will vote Republican again and leave the Democratic party behind and just be an Indy.

    1. look above to anon 11:12 am post. Heidelberger/hard left wing of the party that gets trounced in South Dakota. If Sutton campaigns on their garbage he will join in their defeat here in South Dakota.

      1. ” white privilege, everyone is a victim, war on cops and drugs are cool “— The exact point of my question— Conservatives cannot answer the question..just spewing meaningless Fox slobber is their idea of facts……………..What is the ” Liberal Democrat social agenda,”?

  5. I don’t think that Mr. H is really in line with any wing of the Democratic party, I think he just espouses some of the same ideas that many of the insaner libbies espouse. He is a rogue pinball, lightly bashing against whatever random think he encounters.

  6. Running for the House where he will tickle 40% of the vote which is within 5% of best a statewide Dem has done in a decade. If he were to run for Governor, 35% is his tops #.

    He’s term-limited and willing to take one from the team but not be embarrassed, if you consider losing 60%-40% not an embarrassment.

    1. Troy,

      Visditing with many friends back home in SD they feel Sutton is a would have a fighting chance against Johnson for the house. Their primary reason is thst he is a career state government employee with little real world ability to connect to Trump voters. Do you agree or disagree?

      The Republican has an advantage in SD but Sutton is a real homegrown South Dakotan who was paralyzed doing rodeo. I think he’d have serious appeal to real hard working folks. The media will love him and he would be the ultimate contrast candidate with Johnson. Macho vs Wonky.

      A good general election candidate by the dems probably hurts Johnson in the primary though. Republicans will want to win this seat.

      1. I don’t agree either of those items are soft spots for Dusty.

        With regard to the media loving Sutton, what media is that which you think matters?

        Regarding the wonk vs. the cowboy, that COULD be a factor but not as you think. Depending on the issues and narratives of the campaign, style might reinforce the issues and narratives to be a factor.

        At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter. The SDDP as a formal and informal entity is wholly irrelevant* and a member of the party with 30% voter registration and no legislators to be boots on the ground has no chance without organization.

        *I almost said dead but whatever life they have will be used on ballot initiatives. While the SDDP seems never to fail to surprise me in their incompetence, this Augie Event might be the biggest WTF thing ever. It is as if the hung a “kill me now with mercy” sign on heir door.

        1. I think Dusty not working outside of state government will hurt his chances of winning. It’s what did Chris Nelson in.

  7. If Sutton slams Islam a few times SD voters will give him a pass on the other issues. Especially if Johnson keeps distancing from Trump.

  8. Sutton would be better served running for the US House…you can raise money nationally and it takes money to be competitive in such races….

    For Governor —-best chance is against Jackley and talking about Pierre crowd and need for change and corruption and IM 22.

    1. Noem would be easier for him to run against because Congress can’t get anything done.

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