Larry Pressler has now been baptized as a Mormon. Really.

I did a double take, as I thought someone was referring to him as a moron, but no. The Tweet was that Larry Pressler was now a Mormon.

Having observed him over the past few decades, if someone was referring to him as a moron, I could understand where they were coming from.  But, you got me with this one. Apparently, former US Senator Larry Pressler has now officially been baptized as a Mormon:

The announcement was ordinary and without fanfare. Larry Pressler would be confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the weekly services of the Chevy Chase congregation.

But those who know the man from his three terms in the U.S. Senate and who have shared in his spiritual journey count Pressler — whether referring to him as “senator,” “brother” or just “Larry” — as extraordinary.

On Sunday, April 19, Pressler was confirmed as a church member by Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, a Mormon who introduced him to the faith’s signature book of scripture. He was baptized earlier in the day by Clayton Christensen, whose conviction of the Book of Mormon detailed in The New Yorker magazine compelled the former senator to seriously study the book.

Read it here.

Ooookay.  Not something I expected to see. Or read in the paper.

His Wikipedia reference refers to him as a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, It had noted his religion as “Christianity” prior to it’s most recent change, and to be more specific, most bios note his religion as Roman Catholic.

It’s not often you see someone in his 70’s changing religions.

Since he’s leaving the Catholic faith, is this a bad time to ask if he’s going to hell?

Lederman withdraws from state legislature, recommends Bolin as his replacement.

State Senator Dan Lederman surprised his colleagues today, and decided that it’s his time to spend more time on the homefront, and – while not withdrawing from public life – he’s taking a knee, and for now, withdrawing from the legislature:

Dan Lederman File Photo 2012I’m announcing my retirement from the South Dakota State Senate, effective immediately.

I’m proud to have served in the State Legislature for 7 years, accomplishing much for the people who sent me to represent them in both the House and the Senate.  I cherish the friendships I made, the opportunities for learning, and the good we were able to do.

But, I also have to balance that against the many nights and months my family was left at home, and my wife was forced to do double duty as a parent.  It’s balanced against every dance recital I missed for my young daughters.  Every parent/teacher conference.  Every opportunity to go fishing with my son.  The campaigns could be fun, family affairs, but when it results in me, their father and husband, living apart in a hotel for weeks on end, that isn’t a reward.

One of the major pieces of legislation I championed during my time in the legislaturefamphoto was the “Shared Parenting Act,” which allowed for more balance in determining parental custody rights in cases of divorce.  If I can stand in the legislature and ask for more time and balance in families broken by divorce, it’s incumbent upon me to be part of a complete and balanced family all the time, not just during certain months the legislature isn’t in session.

At the end of our lives, if we’re truly blessed, we will be surrounded by family and loved ones as we slip from the bonds of this existence.

As nice as they can be, if we’re only surrounded by lobbyists bearing donuts and fruit baskets, then there might be a problem!

Read it all here.

In his farewell message, Lederman also recommended that the Governor appoint State Rep Jim Bolin as his replacement when the Governor decides to appoint.

Congratulations and thanks to Dan for his many years of service to South Dakota.

Butte County GOP Aftermath, complete with threats of a “citizens grand jury.”

About 2 months ago, on February 1, I had written on the reformation of the Butte County Republican party organization, with the officially elected central committee members selecting county leadership with the assistance of the South Dakota GOP, and members of the Custer and Lawrence county GOP organizations were also on hand for technical advice:

After correct elections were held with the people who were legally permitted under the bylaws to make the choice for county officials, under Republican party bylaws, things had settled down for a couple of months in peace and harmony among the Republican faithful.

Or maybe not.

Yesterday, Gordon Howie follower Bob Ellis posted a missive on his web site from one of the people in attendance:

I attended the “closed” meeting of the Butte County GOP Central Committee Meeting, as an elected Precinct Captain.

The meeting was restricted to Committee members as listed in the South Dakota GOP charter, Section III, County Central Committee rules.

Read that here.

From a read of Mr. Klipp’s letter, amidst questions dangled out there by him to try to stir something up, even he had to concede the party has bylaws which govern the selection process.

If only others had followed them earlier, I suspect there would have been much less confusion on Mr. Klipp’s part.   And behind the scenes, it goes downhill from there.  I’m told that this letter had been circulated in early February, and responded to by the current GOP organization, who offered Mr. Klipp the opportunity to sit down, and play a part on the County Republican board.

And as it was related to me, the olive branch was swatted away, at the same time the old group started claiming they’ve been shut out.  Despite not being elected, or validly serving as central committee members.

Apparently, it’s getting worse than downhill for the group of people who were never elected.  I had a note from the duly elected chairman, and apparently, they have no interest in letting “bylaws be bylaws,” and those who disagree with them want to set up their own system of getting around them:

This morning [redacted] called and said I have two weeks to surrender the party to the old group or face some kind of citizens grand jury or some such nonsense.

And I’m told this group has been calling the Secretary of State, as well as the Butte County Auditor in order to be re-declared “in charge,” despite the lack of any legitimacy for the offices.  That’s just what we need. Crazy sovereign citizen types harassing public officials, and declaring themselves “the real” Republican party, and if people don’t comply, they’ll be subjected to a “Citizens Grand Jury.”

I know it’s a pain, and will probably continue to be such, but it’s good that the state and area county GOP organizations went in to make sure that proper elections were held.  In a civil society, there is such a thing as the rule of law.

And the people who ignore it; when threaten and make stuff up if they don’t get their way – they need to learn a better way.

DNC Party Chair coming to SD to help Dems. Who have no one for her to help.

This is a good one, and it’s been kept fairly quiet in the press.

Her donors hate her. The White House might not like her so much. She throws verbal-blunder bombs all over the place.  She says stuff so off the wall even CNN calls her out.

Yet, South Dakota Democrats led by Ann Tornberg are happily bringing in one of the most partisan people in the country, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida to be their dinner speaker.  (As in one dinner, because that’s all they generally have.)


It’s right there on their web site. But with no information. No “Read more here.”  It’s like they’re specifically downplaying her appearance.

So, on April 18th, the National Democrat Chairwoman is going to be in South Dakota to boost the SDDP.

If only Democrats had candidates for Wasserman Schultz to help.

What did I learn today in Pierre?

As I’m working on retiring for the night, I am recalling a few of the things I learned in Pierre today as I mixed and mingled among our state’s lawmakers.

1 – The session this year was lower key, and lower stress.  Apprently making with more legislation and less personal conflict makes for happier legislators looking to come back.

Usually they bemoan ever coming back by this time, but No split caucuses, no one threatening other legislators… *Sigh*. They liked being here this year.

2 – Brian Gosch is a more benevolent majority leader than expected. And, they think he’s ok.  One legislator who was among those who attended rebel caucus  meetings in the last two years remarked on the high grades they gave Brian Gosch for the more Laissez-faire attitude he brings, and that he lets things go that might have otherwise set off conflicts with leadership before. 

With a “you get out what you put in” leadership style, you aren’t hearing about rebels this year, are you?

3 – Is that Marty Jackley lurking?  I’m hearing that, quietly, Jackley is chatting some legislators up letting them know he’s definitely got his eye on a big race in 2018. More than one person talked about Charlie McGuigan and/or Jim Seward jousting for Jackley’s current seat.

4  – With Senator Rounds, Governor Daugaard, and state chair Pam Roberts all based in Pierre, the GOP’s dormant office in town may be thinking about turning some lights back on. 

5 – And everybody I spoke with has written Democrats off in 2016, and expect them to abandon candidacies against both Noem & Thune, leaving them uncontested.

Any other thoughts.? What’s your gossip?

  • Watch this page




Pierre, SD 3/02/2015 — The South Dakota Republican Party today announced its new officers for 2015-2016.

The officers are: State Party Chair – Pam Roberts, Pierre, Vice Chair – Drake Olson, Sioux Falls, Secretary – Kristi Wagner, Whitewood, Treasurer – Justin Bell, Pierre.   Regional Directors are: Hal Wick – Sioux Falls, Al Koistinen – Watertown, Van Pace – Yankton, David Wheeler – Huron, Mike Mehlhaff – Pierre, Marilyn Oakes – Custer.

Roberts recently retired from a career of leadership in state government, in which she served on the Cabinet of Governors Mickelson, Miller, Janklow, Rounds and Daugaard.  As a senior cabinet official and advisor, Pam has a strong reputation of leadership, sound management, a focus on achievement, and a firm commitment to conservative principles.

The South Dakota Republican Party currently controls all of the state’s executive offices and holds supermajorities in the House of Representatives and Senate.  Republicans also hold both of the state’s U.S. Senate seats and the state’s at-large congressional seat.



New GOP Leadership List

In case you were wondering, here’s the new list of who the elected officers are for the SDGOP:

Elected officers are:

Pam Roberts – Chair
Drake Olson – Vice Chair
Justin Bell – Treasurer
Kristi Wagner – Secretary

Regional Directors who are part of the Executive Committee:
Region 1 – State Committeeman Hal Wick, Minnehaha county
Region 2 – State Committeewoman Van Pace, Yankton county
Region 3 – State Committeeman Al Koistinen, Codington county
Region 4 – State Committeeman David Wheeler, Beadle county
Region 5 – Chairman Mike Mehlhaff, Hughes county
Region 6 – State Committeewoman Marilyn Oakes, Custer county

The Executive Committee includes all officers, Regional Directors, and the National Committeeman and Committeewoman.

National Committeeman Dana Randall and National Committeewoman Sandye Kading were elected by the 2012 State Convention.

Because of national GOP rule changes, SDGOP forced to adopt “winner take all” delegate selection process.

Someone sent me the report of the State Republican Central Committee this morning on how the selection of presidential delegates would now be taking place, as a result of the party being in violation of national bylaws, and needing to change the rules to conform.

The result after studying the issue?

NDS Committee Report

“The committee determined that if we elect the actual delegates and alternates at the State National Delegate Selection meeting held in March, instead of nominating slates of delegates, then those delegates and alternates will have been “elected or selected” at least 45 days prior to the national convention. This would bring us into compliance. The national rules allow for the binding of delegates separately from the election of those delegates. So our national delegates could still be bound to support the winner of the Primary Election, which can be held at its normal date.

Accordingly, the committee has concluded that the best resolution is to elect our delegates and alternates at the statewide meeting provided for in our current system and then bind those delegates and alternates to support the presidential candidate who receives the most votes at the Primary Election.”

As I’m reading this, it appears that there will be no more “slates of delegates” based on each presidential candidate. There will be just “the slate of SDGOP delegates.”   And they will be “bound to support the winner of the primary election.”

So, if I’m reading this correctly, it doesn’t matter if you support Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Chris Christie or Rand Paul. Every delegate is thrown into the same big pot, and whoever comes up with the most votes at the State National Delegate Selection meeting held in March wins a delegate or alternate position, and they’re bound to vote for the sole winner of the South Dakota primary, even if the vote is split 30-25-25-20.

What are your thoughts on it?

I’d expressly note that we shouldn’t be critical of those who tried to make the best of a bad situation. This was a process change forced upon the SDGOP by the National Republican Party.

But, personally, I think we’ve lost something because of the change. I always liked to see who supported each presidential candidate on the primary ballot, even those who were uncommitted. Not that we’ll be allowed uncommitted delegates anymore.

And seeing people like my daughter Meredith, who was an 18 year old Santorum delegate 4 years ago, will become a relic of the past. Because now there will be far greater competition for far fewer National Convention positions.

SDGOP elects leaders; big changes afoot in how convention delegates are selected.

I’m told a release should be coming on it shortly, but Pam Roberts was selected as State Republican Party chair yesterday at the Central Committee Meeting, with Drake Olson of Sioux Falls chosen as vice chair.

I wasn’t able to attend, as I was driving back to South Dakota after my father in law’s funeral. But now that I’m back in state, where the weather is better than it was down south, I’m also hearing of other big changes.

One of the people there noted that there was a complete overhaul on how the SDGOP operates in picking National Delegates. This attendee tells me we had to in order to conform with the earlier Nat Convention. If not we ran the risk of not being allowed any at all. They also cited that David Wheeler of Huron did the lions share of work on it.

I’ll update you as I hear more. Stay tuned.

Zach Crago still on the Dem’s Payroll? South Dakota Democrats paying Crago helmed consulting firm for Strategy.

Here’s something from the Democrat’s latest federal FEC filing. If you take a look at the latest filing, under schedule “H4.”


We see that Democrats are reporting that they paid a “Strategic Planning Consulting Fee” to Bluestem Initiatives, LLC of Sioux Falls.  You might be asking “Who dat?”


Apparently, they’re still paying former Executive Director Zach Crago, who led Democrats to their latest set of victories for his “Stratergy.” You know, their victories. Like the one where they picked up that one State Senate seat.

And my memory escapes me at the moment, did it cost them five or six House seats to pick up that one?

Is this an omen that South Dakota Democrats are going to stay the course for 2016?  Because I’m good with that.