SDGOP state convention – here we go!

It sounds like convention chaos has already kicked off.

Brett Koenecke and Justin Bell explain to R. Shawn Tornow that “attorney” doesn’t have a U in it.

The word I am hearing is that infamous state legislator and awful person Phil Jensen will be challenging Watertown Mayor Reid Holien at the South Dakota Republican Party convention for the office of party national committeeman.

A Rapid City woman, Amber Christianson, has supposedly also made an announcement for Public Utilities Commission, challenging sitting PUC Commissioner Kristi Fiegen.

Argus Leader documenting odd happenings between Minnehaha county auditor and head of election conspiracy group.

Maybe I’m the only one, but reading this account of how Minnehaha county Auditor Leah Anderson seemingly ambushed a precinct superintendent in conjunction with election conspiracy group head Jessica Pollema, it throws up some red flags as to how closely the two walk hand-in-hand on election issues:

“I just want to give you a heads up about something,” Anderson said in a voicemail to Mikkelsen, which has been obtained by the Argus Leader. “We’re going to be headed over there, and we need your precinct board to, um, work on an issue.”

And…

Pollema and Anderson were seen talking together to some degree: An Argus Leader reporter was speaking with Pollema while ballots were being counted, when Anderson interrupted to ask if the canvassing group leader knew whether some or all of the challenged ballots were tossed. Anderson later handed Pollema, a citizen, a stack of unknown documents, as the county auditor was wrapping up the ballot count for the night.

It’s unclear what those documents were and what Anderson’s next steps will be in the matter, as well as whaat role the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office, which oversees the election process statewide, may have down the line, if any.

Read the entire story here.

So far, tonight’s election is a wild ride. Driven by very low turnout.

Have you ever wondered what kind of election you would have if nobody was on the top of the ticket, and nobody really cared?

That would be what we ended up with tonight for the 2024 primary election campaign. As we wait for many results to roll in from West River, it’s 11 o’clock at night, and we have yet to hit 13% voter turnout.

It’s bad. Not just a little bad, but really distorted from what we might logically expect from election results.  Let me show you one of my bellwether elections that I’ve been watching;

This is the race where election conspiracy fetishist Rick Weible ran against Senate majority leader Casey Crabtree.

Senator Crabtree ran a reasonably strong and effective campaign in his race as an incumbent to return to the leader ship of the State Senate. Rick Weible didn’t.

In fact, Weible literally did nothing except run an bad joint ad in the local shopper paper that never changed, and the highlight of his campaign was him talking about how his life was in danger from knowing secrets about election equipment.

Yet somehow, in spite of his doing nothing but occasional goofiness, Weible achieved 28% of the vote. The previous ‘dead cat bounce’ in typical years, where a candidate could run against a dead cat, and the dead cat would receive 18 to 20% of the vote, has been elevated closer to 30% because of the unusually low turnout, amplifying the influence of the hard hard right.

And it is playing some electoral chaos so far this evening with no fewer than six incumbents unseated with shocking results in other races as I write this.

These results would not be happening two years from now with possibly three major primary contests ahead of the legislative races. But in a year when most people didn’t even realize there was an election, the unexpected is status quo.

Keep watching the results. Because I’m sure the ride isn’t even close to being over.

Minnehaha County Auditor scrambling to find poll workers night before election

From Facebook, it sounds as if the Minnehaha county auditor should have instituted the 6P program for election workers: Prior planning prevents **** poor performance:

The day before the election, and the Minnehaha County auditor does not have a sufficient number of poll workers?

I had heard about this being an issue about a week ago, when a candidate was talking to people who were poll workers over on the western side of Minnehaha county. These poll workers said they had not been contacted for training or anything, and were in fact, wondering why they hadn’t heard anything as they had done the work for years.

It sounds like the county auditor’s office dropped the ball, and we may be watching a slow moving disaster starting at 7 o’clock tomorrow night.

Will they know who their precinct people are before the Republican convention commences on Thursday?

They may still be counting on their fingers and toes at that point.

Next time they should try some candidates who can spell the word, as they invoke it.

From the mailbox, one of our observant correspondents points out that a couple of the members of the hard right who are running on being constitutional conservatives might be more believable if they spelled it correctly in their mailers.

from D7’s Jeff Struwe..

From D19’s Steven Mettler..

Consi-tutional sounds like someone is slurring an expression of freedom, not declaring it.

Not that spelling it correctly was going to get either elected.

When you get down to the end, stuff gets weird.

Late today, I received the weirdest piece of campaign literature that I have the entire primary. The lone Jeff Struwe postcard.

An itty-bitty 4×6 card with rambling, itty-bitty type that another couple of hundred dollars probably would’ve made a 6 x 9, because the postage price is the same. But instead, we’ve got something that many people in their mid- 50s and up will struggle to read.

And it spends most of its time rambling against SB 201, the landowner Bill of Rights.

Liz May’s Conservative PAC is blasting attack cards across the primary, including against several incumbents in the last days before the election.

Interestingly, Liz is going to have a tougher general election than usual against incumbent house member Rep. Pourier, and Elsie Meeks, who was the 1998 candidate for Lieutenant Governor, who later was state director of USDA in South Dakota from 2009 to 2015.

Liz does have things in common with Meeks, as I’m sure just like Liz, Elsie was also a donor to Hillary Clinton.

There’s other weirdness out there, but I’m waiting for copies to head my way. I’ll post as I get.

This might be the weirdest ad I’ve seen so far this election.

Hot off the press out of the town and country shopper in Brookings:

Did someone actually think this was a good idea? I’m not sure what is worse, the awful, awful ad? Or the fact that two new & unknown candidates decided they needed to go spend time in the other person’s district where they are trying to campaign?

As one person who looked at the ad said to me, “there’s a lot to unpack here.”

Johnson Applauds Final Passage of Federal Aviation Bill

Johnson Applauds Final Passage of Federal Aviation Bill

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, applauded final passage of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act, which ensures continuity and stability of our air travel and makes key improvements to our aviation sector. The FAA Reauthorization Act included key Johnson-led provisions.

“Most of us have experienced the frustration of outdated airports and planes, cancelations, delays, and more,” said Johnson. “The FAA Reauthorization Act makes critical investments and improvements in our aviation sector to improve the travel experience for travelers, pilots, airport workers, and more. I’m pleased to see my priorities for South Dakota and nationwide air travel included in the bill.”

Johnson priorities included in the FAA Reauthorization Act:

  • Protecting Essential Air Service (EAS) airports from unnecessary costs. South Dakota is home to three EAS airports: Watertown, Pierre, and Aberdeen.
  • Streamline National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Reviews for FAA projects. The bill encourages the Department of Transportation to use cloud-based platforms for NEPA reviews to increase efficiency.
  • Increase flexibility for the Airport Improvement Program by increasing support for non/small-hub airports.
  • Temporarily increases the federal cost share to 95% for non-hub/non-primary airports (Sioux Falls and Rapid City).
  • Prioritize replacement of FAA Air Traffic Control Towers at small hub airports that are at least 50-years old. The Sioux Falls airport is in this category.
  • Form a working group to evaluate best practices for transporting organs for donation in commercial aircrafts.

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