Bill Maher promo noting how he’s “not that dissimilar from Donald Trump.” Not that you’ll get to meet him at the Dem’s reception.

On a Dakota Midday promo on SDPB, noting an upcoming interview today with comedian Bill Maher, who is being used to raise funds for the South Dakota Democrat Party, via his trip to Sioux Falls is apparently noted in the promo as how “he and Donald Trump are not that dissimilar.”

So, how does that work with the people attending the upcoming Democrat fundraiser?  Does that mean they’re endorsing that assessment?

That might be a good question for those shelling out $125 a pop to go see him with the Democrats.

maherBTW, about that fundraiser….

Regarding that fundraiser with premier seating and “Pre-Show Reception”…. It looks as if Democrats were forced to put a bit of a disclaimer on their web site about who is showing up when for that exclusive reception they keep hawking:

On Sunday, September 13th, comedian Bill Maher will be performing at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls, SD at 7:00 pm! The South Dakota Democratic Party has a limited amount of tickets available for this one night only event, and is hosting an exclusive pre-show reception to Bill Maher’s performance.


There will not be a meet and greet with Bill Maher. The pre-show reception is an event hosted by the South Dakota Democratic Party in anticipation of Bill Maher’s first time to South Dakota.

Read that here.

Sooo…. The “Pre-Show Reception” actually gives you party officials like Ann Tornberg and Nick Nemec giving talks about how awesome Democrats are, despite a continuing string of losses and being at historic low numbers. And bonus – you’re not going to meet anyone famous, but you get to sit together for the privilege of paying $125 to the Democrats for tickets you could have gotten for $25 to $75 by yourself.

Good luck with that one.

DNC meeting in Minneapolis this weekend. And how much are they spending to keep the SDDP afloat?

Word is that a contingent of Democrats from South Dakota made a pilgrimage to Minneapolis to the Democrat National Committee meeting taking place this week.

Aside from the meeting itself, the “Why” is pretty obvious, as the SDDP desperately needs the pipeline of cash from the national committee to buoy them up… or else they’re not likely to stay afloat.  So, state Democrats have to attend to do some big ring (or lower) kissing.

SDDP August 2015 FEC

While Republican-hating weatherman Phil Schrek can only keep the South Dakota Democrat Party afloat $20 at a time on his salary….


…. State Democrats need more serious cash to keep the lights on. And it’s obvious they rely on their national party to do so:


According to the August 20 report, over $7500 was dropped into SDDP coffers by the National party in July to keep them afloat. And the party credited them for sharing the voter file.

The word long ago when former ED/Chair Ben Nesselhuf left, was that he knew that the DNC money train wasn’t going to last forever, so he got while the getting was good.  But, despite the SDDP maintaining a phenomenal record of losses, surprisingly, the national cash is still there.

But is it good policy? Should the national party continue to keep the state Democrat party afloat?  What’s your opinion?

Dem’s May FEC Report. Money from National Dems & Teamsters. A bit more in salaries going out…

The Dem’s May FEC Report is out, and there are a few items on it worth reporting.

Dem May Federal Fec

South Dakota Democrats are still quite dependent on the National party, receiving over $7000 in financial transfusion to prop it up. They also have some cash donated from the Teamster’s DRIVE Pac.

And then there’s the money going out in salaries, which I find the most interesting for a party that has yet to announce it has anointed the long overdue ED yet:

Interim ED Zach Nistler – $100, $172, $1462.12, $1462.13
Ryan Rolfs – $100, $172, $1462.12, $1462.13Savanna Beckman – $397.10, $240.11
Johnathan Chapman – $1321.25
Michael Dupiz – $156.99
Lucy George-Cooper (a.k.a. Weiland Staffer, Rumored to be Paula Hawks’ Campaign person) – $1321.25
Alexander Mader – $418.81
Emily Meier – $277.00

It remains to be seen what these people are doing, but they’re firmly latched on to the SDDP, helping to drain it from $59,113 cash on hand down to $31,681  – a drop of nearly $28K

Slick Rick Weiland trying to fleece donors to turn South Dakota into “Liberal Land”

Losing Democrat US Senate Candidate Rick Weiland just sent out another plea for money.

And it’s a doozy, as he lays out his plan to pass laws and re-write the South Dakota State Constitution to re-engineer the state into a hippy dippy liberal utopia where Democrats can win elections:

Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2015 12:03:30 +0000
From: [email protected]
Subject: Why losing my US Senate race might be for the best?

You were one of the tens of thousands of Americans who contributed to my race for the United States Senate last year and for that I will be eternally grateful – but as you know, I didn’t win.

The loss was gut-wrenching, especially since Harper Polling, a Republican firm, had me only 4 points down a month from the election and our internal polls agreed. I really thought we had a chance but I was blown away by a tidal wave of big money in the last few weeks and the rest is history.

BUT — surprising as it may seem, it may have been for the best.

Now don’t get me wrong, I wanted to be in the Senate, fighting for a more fair, more socially just America – starting with overturning Citizens United and working for better wages, fairer trade and taxes, marriage equality, stopping Keystone, working on climate change, investing in renewable energy, education and in our infrastructure – the list goes on and on and on.

But sometimes things happen for a reason, and I truly believe that I may have a greater opportunity to affect the direction of our country with TakeItBack.Org — than I would have had I won.

WHY — because Congress is gridlocked, its gears frozen in place. Inert.

The truth is, any progress we’re going to make in the foreseeable future is going to be in the states, not the federal government, and it’s the states where our organization, TakeItBack.Org, is totally focused.

Can you imagine the John Boehner’s House of Representatives passing campaign reform? Or Mitch McConnell’s Senate supporting an increase in the minimum wage? Not going to happen.

What I can imagine, however, is putting our energy and resources into fixing our country, one state at a time, and that’s exactly what TakeItBack.Org is doing.

We are using ballot measures to take our country back by supporting: 1) an “anti-corruption/big money” initiative that our new poll shows is “through the roof!” 2) an initiative to establish a nonpartisan legislative redistricting commission, ending the ability of the Legislature to draw boundaries for their own political advantage, which polls at 72%-19% in favor; and 3), a constitutional amendment that would turn the South Dakota Legislature into a nonpartisan body which is favored 59%-36%, same as has existed in Nebraska for 80 years, which just recently became the first conservative state in 43 years to repeal the death penalty.

If successful, these initiatives will transform South Dakota, and if we can pass them here, we can pass them anywhere.

We also know that we can’t do this alone. We need resources to continue to draft these ballot measures, hire paid circulators, recruit volunteers and get our message out to the voters as to why they should consider and vote next year for transformative change.

We could all sit back and let someone else fight this fight but, frankly, there is no “someone else.”

This is up to all of us, and it is why I have decided to engage in this fight to take our state and country back.

We will not be successful if you don’t join us — We need you!

Rick Weiland

Much of what he’s talking about in terms of redistricting, changing the structure of the legislature require changes in the state constitution, and seem to be little more than a liberal pipe dream thats never going to happen.

But if it helps him make a buck…..

** Bonus BS!**   Did he really say “tens of thousands of Americans who contributed to my race?

I’d like to see proof of that.

Because I’ve looked at his campaign finance reports, and I’m not sure he hit 1000, much less “tens of thousands.”

Should Republicans take a look at revising the gender enforced rules in the bylaws?

North Dakota Republicans had a new state party chair elected this past weekend, but the elections for other officers didn’t pass without some controversy, specifically those regarding some bylaw enforced gender rules in the bylaws as reported by our good friend to the north,

You see, the NDGOP has two vice chair position. There is a Vice Chairman and a Vice Chairwoman. You can read about the definitions of these positions in the NDGOP rules, but basically the duty of the Vice Chairman is to “preside at all meetings of the State Committee” when the Chairman is unavailable while the duties of the Vice Chairwoman is to “assist the State Chairman, act as liaison between the Republican Party and the Republican Women of North Dakota, and to perform such other duties as the State Chairman may from time to time request.”

There is also a strange provision for vacancies in the Chairman position whereby the Vice Chairman succeeds the Chairman if that person is a woman, and the Vice Chairwoman succeeds the Chairman if that person is a man.

It’s all a little strange.

Anyway, I spoke with Toman about her bid and her position is that the Vice Chairman position is and should be gender-neutral under current rules. The position of some others in the party, on the other hand, is that the two sub-Chairman positions are clearly defined by gender and that the rules can’t simply be ignored.

Toman wanted to be Vice Chairman, not Vice Chairwoman.

Read it all here.

South Dakota Republicans aren’t immune to similar rules. In fact, I believe they go from the lower levels of organization of the party at the county level to the top, at the national level; where rules state if the Chair is male, the vice-chair is female.

Do gender enforced roles help keep an equal balance in the party, since men tend to be over-represented in the world of politics? Or is the gender based selection of the vice chair an outdated concept which actually prevents things, such as women serving as chair and vice chair at one time?

Your thoughts?

Ballot Measures, and the death rattle of Democrats in South Dakota.

Maybe I’m jaded, having gone through some of the goofiest measures on the ballot over the past couple of decades; Jury nullification. JAIL for Judges. IM 10 for open and clean government.. But after seeing this filing, I’m left wondering why people think we need MORE measures on the ballot?

Yes, it appears that yet another ballot measure is coming, based on the ballot question statement of organization filed this past week. Douglas Kronaizl, who was last seen trafficking with the Matt Varilek and Rick Weiland campaigns, filed a new ballot question organization whose primary interest is to “Amend the Constitution to broaden and protect the initiative and referendum process,” and whose statement of purpose & goals is to “enable voters to responsibly refer any laws passed by the legislature and limit legislative overreach…”


While a ballot measure has not shown it’s head yet, given the sponsor’s history with him, I’m guessing this is connected with the Rick Weiland political organization that sends out all the fundraising beg e-mails, which have claimed they’re going to be submitting a measure.

Although, there’s nothing here that talks about his proposed “anti-corruption/big money’ initiative.

(Update – Doug tells me that “while I helped out with the Weiland camp last summer, neither he nor his new organization have been involved with this measure.”   Now I’m really curious as to the “why.”)

South Dakota has been a pioneer in the initiative and referendum movement; to allow citizens the ability to directly propose and refer laws to a vote of the people. Various states have adopted the model, although in some the process has run wild.

Consider California, which has become the poster child for crazy initiatives, and whose most recent proposed initiated measure is the Sodomite Suppression Act, which advocates for the shooting of homosexuals:

Now to the opinion of one Huntington Beach lawyer who’s proposed an initiative that’s causing a stir in California. Officially, it is called the Sodomite Suppression Act, and it allows for gays and lesbians to, and this is a quote, “to be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.” It calls for killing people. The lawyer, Matthew McLaughlin, now needs more than 365,000 signatures to get his proposal on the ballot. And while it’s highly unlikely that will ever happen, it has raised questions about California’s referendum system.


SIEGEL: You said recently, speaking of this Sodomite Suppression Act, this is a nut job and an illegal proposition. I understand that we can’t prevent nut jobs, but if it were demonstrably illegal, wouldn’t there be some mechanism to keep it off the ballot?

AMAR: Well, there might be. What California law says is that the attorney general, a political elected official, cannot by herself exclude a measure from the signature-gathering process because we don’t trust elected political officials to make judgments about what is necessarily legal or not, especially in closed cases. But if she were to go to a court and ask a court to declare this proposal patently unconstitutional and could never go into effect even if enacted, the court might feel comfortable prohibiting it from going any farther. But we have a strong preference in California for judges making these determinations rather than elected political officials.

Read it here at NPR.

South Dakota is already viewed as one of the easiest states to get a measure on the ballot. Does anyone think we need to make it easier, as this organization is proposing?

Having abandoned it’s status as an organization that runs candidates for office several years ago, the only group who benefits from making the initiative process easier would be the South Dakota Democrat Party. Why do I think this? Well, they spend an inordinate amount of effort to place measures on the ballot that they are otherwise unable to get through the legislature as legislative proposals, due to more than anemic numbers.

But, does substituting ballot measures for party building represent good politics? Not really. If anything, its a quick feel-good fix for a long term problem of party identity.

They seem to think that going around the system to try to pass or protest measures is accomplishing something. But in the process, by ignoring their need to recruit and run candidates, they’re running off the cliff like a line of lemmings.

If Democrats are perceived as perennial losers who can’t win elections in this state (as they are), no one will want to be a Democrat, or run as a Democrat. Because no one wants to be on a perennially losing side.

Look at the example of Dale Hargens, House Democratic Minority Whip from 2003-2004, and House Minority Leader from 2005-2008. When he looked at running in 2014, it wasn’t as a Democrat:

Hargens was an interesting entry into the Republican primary because he is a legislator that already served for a number of years as  Democrat; and he was a Democrat Minority Whip and Democrat Minority Leader during that time.

Hargens said he felt the Democrat party moved away from him in its surge to the left. He said the Democrat Party had “Turned the lights out”.

Read that here.

A Democrat Legislative Leader who took a look at what his party had to offer, consigned to say that the “Democrat party moved away from him in its surge to the left,” and that they’d “turned the lights out.”

If that’s not a party identity problem, I don’t know what is!

The focus on ballot issues by Democrats does not represent political progress or the exercise of political muscle in South Dakota. It’s a continued ignorance of their basic root problems. And it represents is the death rattle of a political party that once used to be able to compete on a larger stage in the state.

What happened with GOP Senate Leadership elections today? Here’s the list.

While I’ve been in the garage building a piece of furniture to match my bedroom set today, the South Dakota Senate Republicans held caucus elections to determine who would lead the caucus this next legislative session.

So, who got what? Here’s my intel:

  • Gary Cammack of Union Center has been elected to be the new President Pro Tempore.
  • Corey Brown of Gettysburg is the new Majority Leader, moving down from President Pro Temp.
  • Jim White of Huron is the new Assistant Majority Leader
  • Existing Whips are Ernie Otten, Deb Soholt, and added to that list is new Majority Whip Alan Solano of Rapid City

What are your thoughts?

KCCR News: Trial date set for the other petition scofflaw

From KCCR News, information on the trial date for the person in trouble for monkeying with their petitions who isn’t Annette Bosworth:

The once independent candidate for U.S. Senate, 34 year old Clayton Walker is facing nine felony charges related to his election petitions. He’s accused of fabricating names and addresses on the sworn documents, which placed him on the Senate ballot as an independent until being kicked off after a challenge.


In the Hughes County Courtroom Tuesday afternoon during a status hearing, Presiding Judge John Brown issued jury selection in this case to begin July 20th of 2015 in Hughes County. Jury selection will be done that Monday, and they will commence on the 22nd of July at 12:00 or 1:00 P.M. for the minimum three day trial.


Read it here.

Senators jockeying for caucus positions in upcoming elections 2 weeks hence.

The Associated Press filed a story this morning, several days after I’d written about it, talking about the upcoming caucus elections. They did mention a few who are running, with commentary, so it’s worth revisiting it again:

Republican political observers have said bids for the leadership posts could come from one of the caucus’ three majority whips or from a rank-and-file member. If a whip were elected to a higher post, an additional vote to fill the spot would be necessary, and if Brown succeeds Rave, a new president pro tempore would need to be chosen.

The three majority whips are Sens. Ried Holien, Ernie Otten and Deb Soholt.

Holien was unavailable for comment. Otten and Sen. Brock Greenfield said they intend to run for assistant leader. Soholt said she is “taking a strong look” at a run for assistant leader or president pro tempore.

“I’m at 98.9 percent that I’m going to be running,” Otten said. “I think I could bring a position from the harder right and be a person that could bring also the middle and hopefully bring everybody together.”

Greenfield, who doesn’t occupy a leadership position, said if elected, he wouldn’t simply succumb to the executive branch. He said he would be the “strongest voice for the Legislature that I know how to be, and ultimately for my caucus.”

Read it here.