Cook Political report updates Congressional baseline analysis: Noem can likely hold this seat as long as she wants.

The Cook political report (Subscription required) recently updates their baseline analysis for several states including South Dakota. And what they had to say shouldn’t come to any shock for SDWC readers.

Because Congresswoman Noem is not going anywhere anytime soon, and is ranked as Solid Republican:

SD-AL: Kristi Noem (R) – Entire state

Solid Republican. After skilled Blue Dog Democrat Stephanie Herseth Sandlin held this seat for six years, Republicans finally caught the break they needed in 2010 when Noem, a state representative with farm roots and appeal, capitalized on a great GOP year to beat Herseth Sandlin 48 percent to 46 percent. Noem wasn’t just an ideal image comparison for Republicans. She developed into a serious and aggressive candidate who proved adept at staying on the offensive, hitting Herseth Sandlin on support from EMILY’s List and her husband’s lobbying role. In a year like 2010, any ties to the inner dealings of Washington were toxic, especially in a small town state like South Dakota.


Democrat Matt Varilek, an energetic 37 year-old former aide to Sen. Tim Johnson, sought to turn Noem’s record on ag issues into the silver bullet he needed to beat Noem in a reliably GOP state. Varilek raised a very respectable $983,000, and earned strong reviews on the stump. But Noem wasn’t about to be caught napping: she raised $2.8 million, contested Democrats’ allegations on her committee attendance, and reclaimed the offense by hitting Varilek for earning environmental degrees abroad (Varilek won a scholarship to attend the University of Glasgow) and for advocating cap and trade in the past. Noem prevailed 57 percent to 43 percent.

In 2014, after passage of a new five-year Farm Bill, Noem finally found her footing, defeating 25-year Army veteran Corinna Robinson 67 percent to 33 percent.


Noem can likely hold this seat as long as she wants.

Read it all here. (Subscription required)

Mitt is out of the 2016 Presidential sweepstakes.

From Fox News:

Mitt Romney announced Friday he will not run for president in 2016, after briefly flirting with a third White House run — a decision that only slightly narrows the crowded field of potential Republican candidates.

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it’s best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” Romney told donors on a conference call Friday morning.

Read it here.

Having a bad computer day week, but posting straight from Pierre ahead.

There could be spotty posting ahead, especially in the evenings. I think my “bitter computer” might have bit the dust.

My main computer with all of my software, records, e-mail, etcetera and everything decided to inconveniently die. Just because it really hasn’t been turned off in 2-3 years, and is used day and night is no reason to bite the dust. I usually have power supplies give up the ghost and wear out, which is an easy fix, but I think my motherboard went, and that’s major surgery.

I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that the SDWC mothership is up on blocks at the moment, and I’m posting from iPad & iPhone, and a computer that doesn’t have 1/4 of the resources that my main one does.

Actually, it so happens that I would have been on remote anyway, as I’m going to be on the road to Pierre this next week. I’m coming over for some REALTOR things (Thumbs up for the Chili/Oyster feed), and my wife is getting a nice award for being recognized as the Special Ed Administrator of the year.
Hopefully late next week, the SDWC signal will be back at full capacity. But in the interim I’ll be bringing your daily fix of political coverage straight from out state’s Capital!

AFP South Dakota Statement on Senate Passage of the Keystone Pipeline

AFP South Dakota Statement on Senate Passage of the Keystone Pipeline

President’s Attempt to Stop Keystone Running on Empty

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Americans for Prosperity South Dakota State Director Ben Lee released the following statement upon Senate approval of the Keystone Pipeline:

“We congratulate Senators Thune and Rounds on taking bold action to approve the Keystone Pipeline. After years of delays and obstruction led by President Obama – the Left has finally run out of excuses. The American people have spoken clearly: now is the time to build the Keystone Pipeline. This common sense investment will provide relief for middle-class families, create 42,000 good-paying jobs and provide secure energy for the Nation’s future. We urge the President to put aside partisan differences and swiftly sign this bill into law,” Lee said.

Thune: Following Senate Passage of Keystone XL, All Eyes on the President

Following Senate Passage of Keystone XL, All Eyes on the President

“This is the kind of common-sense legislating the American people hired America’s New Congress to do.”

John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressWASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) issued the following statement on the Senate’s bipartisan passage of a bill that would approve the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline:

“Keystone XL would support thousands of jobs and invest billions of dollars in the economy at no expense to taxpayers. This is the kind of common-sense legislating the American people hired America’s New Congress to do. The president is out of excuses. He should support this project and join Republicans in getting Washington working again for the American people.”


Press Release: Senate Passes Keystone XL Legislation

Senate Passes Keystone XL Legislation

MikeRounds official SenateWASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) voted today to approve legislation authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline. It passed the Senate 62-36.

“The Administration’s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline is long overdue,” said Rounds. “I’m pleased Congress took matters into its own hands and we were able to come together in a bipartisan manner to finally get this accomplished,” said Rounds. “This project will create jobs for hard-working South Dakotans and free up our railways to get more of our farmers’ grain to market.  It’s a commonsense piece of legislation that the President should sign into law as soon as it hits his desk.”

The Keystone XL pipeline will run through South Dakota and connect with an existing pipeline in Nebraska, carrying nearly 830,000 barrels of crude oil to U.S. refineries along the gulf coast. Rounds is one of 60 cosponsors to the legislation.


‘Friend-of-the-felon’ voting bill to be heard tomorrow. Let’s “just say no.”

A promised turkey of a measure has landed upon the legislature.

A bill to restore voting rights to convicted felons before the completion of their sentence from State Senator Craig Tieszen has been introduced in the State Senate, despite earlier promised opposition from the Secretary of State.   The measure, Senate Bill 112 primed by Tieszen in the Senate and Rep. Steve Hickey in the House, would walk back a reform measure passed in 2012 which cleared up a confusing multi-tiered system which left many felons unsure if they could vote or not.

The measure is scheduled to be heard in Senate State Affairs at 10 AM tomorrow morning in Room 414.

SB 112 changes the law, basing it on whether the felon is imprisoned or not, as opposed to it being based on a convicted felon’s completion of sentence. As noted in the Argus article, Tieszen believes it’s the right thing to do:

Sen. Craig Tieszen, R-Rapid City, says he plans push for the bill this legislative session. Tieszen says giving felons the chance to be good citizen by allowing them to vote is the right thing to do.

As noted earlier this month in an article by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the person in charge of South Dakota elections, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs ,earlier voiced opposition to the measure, as well as the person who introduced the 2012 measure, Gene Abdallah:

“I feel they should complete their entire sentence, and at this time I don’t see supporting his legislation,” said Shantel Krebs, South Dakota secretary of state. “I think there’s are a lot of questions out there such as, ‘What if a person violates their parole?’

Gene Abdallah, a former U.S. marshal and state lawmaker who was the prime sponsor of the revision to felony voting rights that passed in 2012, also opposed Tieszen’s proposed bill.

“I think they should wait until after their parole and after their sentence is finished,” Abdallah said.

Read it here.

Krebs brings up an excellent point about parole violators confusing the system, which would require even more of a data exchange between courts and the Secretary of State data systems than exist now.

And I can’t help but give strong deference to the original point made by the sponsor – “they should wait until after their parole and after their sentence is finished.”   When someone commits a crime, in many instances there are crime victims. Part of the process is the state obtaining justice on their behalf, and that’s done through the sentence being imposed. Justice is far from perfect, in fact, it’s quite imperfect, and rarely in proportion to the harm.

When you see these types of bills, as they talk about restoring things to those poor, poor convicted felons, I can’t help but consider that the people introducing such measures are giving far more deference to the criminals who commit the crimes, than the victims.

I do think there’s a place to give felons the chance to be good citizens. It’s by example. The example should be to complete the sentence handed down by the courts. They earned it, so they should own it. And by successfully completing it while remaining a good citizen, they’ll have earned their right to vote back.

And only then.

Senate pushing forward on Keystone, despite President. Progress – a nice change of pace.

From USA Today:

After more than two weeks of debate on numerous amendments, the Senate cleared a key hurdle with a 62-35 vote Thursday to complete work on legislation approving the north-south pipeline for Canadian oil that Republicans advocated as a way to create thousands of U.S. jobs. The vote exceeded the 60-vote threshold needed to cut off additional debate on the bill and set up the Senate to pass the bill later in the day. But the tally was short of the 67 votes the Senate would need to override a presidential veto.

Nine Democrats joined a unanimous Republican caucus to support the bill: Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Tom Carper of Delaware, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana and Mark Warner of Virginia.

Before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged his colleagues to pass the measure. “Constructing Keystone would pump billions into our economy. It would support thousands of good American jobs,” he said. “And as the president’s own State Department has indicated, it would do this with minimal environmental impact.”

Read it here.

What’s that sound I hear? Progress.  Progress you didn’t hear or see anything of under Democrat rule in the US Senate.   For better or worse, up or down, votes are happening, especially on Keystone, a project long sandbagged by the administration.

Progress – It’s a nice change of pace.

On the flip side of SB69 – The defeated Hunhoff “party boss” amendment.

Talking about Senate Bill 69 some more, one thing that came up in the discussion yesterday was an amendment by State Senator Bernie Hunhoff.

On the heels of the Brown amendment passing, tightening the placeholder practice of replacing candidates on the ballot, Senator Hunhoff made a partisan attempt to give Democratic Party bosses an avenue to hand-pick candidates for the ballot, bypassing the petition process entirely.

Here’s the Hunhoff amendment:

MOTION: AMEND SB 69  (69oc)

On page 10, after line 19 of the printed bill, insert:
” Section 18. That chapter 12-6 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:

If no candidate submits petitions as a candidate for a legislative office from a recognized political party, the central committee members of the political party of the county or counties of that legislative district may elect a candidate, and that candidate may be appointed by the state party chair by the second Tuesday of June.”

Moved by:    Hunhoff (Bernie)
Second by:    Sutton
Action:    Failed by roll call vote. (7-2-0-0).

Read it here. (I think the vote portion of the minutes as noted on-line are in error, btw,)

And here’s the discussion that took place:

What do you think? I tend to agree that having party bosses appoint candidates is a definite negative to the process. Or do you agree with Senator Hunhoff, that it’s tough to find good candidates, so parties need to be able to fill empty slots out of party offices in Sioux Falls en masse?