In District 5, Byron Callies plans on returning to the House in 2024

Noting that 2 legislative hopefuls have announced recently, Glen Vilhauer running for District 5 Senate, and Matt Roby, running for District 5 House,  State Representative Byron Callies reached out to let me (and voters in his district) know that he will be seeking re-election for District 5 House of Representatives in 2024.

Callies, who will be completing his first term of office representing Watertown, had a first good session getting his introductory bill past the legislature and signed by Governor Noem, as well as several other measures he co-sponsored.

Byron currently serves on the House Commerce & Energy Committee, House Education, and on House Military and Veterans affairs.  In addition to being a college professor for 10 years, Callies has served the state and nation in the National Guard, completing nearly 41 years of service, retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 2006. And in the past, he has served as the national vice-commander of the two-million member American Legion.

(His daughter, Melissa Magstadt, Secretary of Health, is pretty cool too!)

Did the Latest Minnehaha County Central Committee Meeting sabotage their big dinner? Here’s what I’m hearing.

Had been looking for info on the Minnehaha County Lincoln Day Dinner this past Sunday, and was making some calls for intel. What I was able to find that they ended up with maybe around 200 people there.

What would have been a good turnout for far smaller counties ended up being just so-so or less for Minnehaha, our state’s largest county, which in the past had been able to fill the Sioux Falls Convention Center.  I remember going to one such event in the Arena that was mind-boggling in scale, and it was literally impossible to greet all the Republicans gathered. Businessmen and women, elected officials, conservatives, every flavor of Republican across the spectrum as far as your eyes could see had gathered for a great event, and to support the party.

Nowadays, as you see from a picture from the Turner County Republicans, as they attended the Minnehaha event and caught a snapshot of quite a few empty and partially filled tables:

That is not a big venue.. and that’s a lot of empty seats for a county of 200,000, with another 80-90,000 people immediately adjacent. They couldn’t get any more Republicans to buy tickets, even out of the officeholders and their family members? Why?

That might be the big question to ponder, because from the reports I’m hearing the Minnehaha County Central Committee may have, at least in part, done it to themselves.

As the story has been related to me, 2 weeks ago on September 16th, the Minnehaha County Central Committee met for their regular meeting:

What I’m hearing was that there was a bit of railing by the Minnehaha Chair, former attorney Shawn Townow, against the State GOP. Which does not come as a shock, considering his boycott of the mega-successful (MAGA successful?) State GOP’s Trump event the week before.

Tornow hating on the State GOP must have been a fun serving of sour grapes to start people’s day with.  But as the Central Committee meeting progressed and got through the agenda, here’s where it gets really interesting.

The report I’m hearing is that after the chair called for new business, State Senator Jack Kolbeck got up and was trying to bring a measure – or at least a promise – that the Minnehaha County Republican Party would not spend money on or get involved in primary elections.  Certainly, current legislators don’t want to get into helping the party to run against them.   So what happened next?  I’m told that Tornow dropped the hammer on the Senator, ruling Kolbecks’ motion out of order. And then the meeting was quickly adjourned.   Basically, BOOM, and done, and we’re not going to talk about this any further. 

I guess that was one way to deal with it. But, word quickly spread among Sioux Falls area legislators that there are no promises that cash they raise for the county isn’t going to go against their interest in the next election.  Which at least one legislator tells me directly influenced their decision to sit this and any future Minnehaha County GOP fundraisers out.   Because, why would they put money into an organization which is out there committed to give them the boot?

The state of détente which kept the Minnehaha County GOP functional seems to be out the door, as the leaders of that group won’t even pretend to play nice with some of the people chosen by the voters to represent them in their various offices. Leaving a person to notice that the latest event for the largest county in the state was faring about as well as counties who send kids to the State B Basketball tournament. In other words, Minnehaha was vastly underperforming in relation to their size.

The Minnehaha GOP’s party disunity is not going to help them function as an organization as we move into 2024.

And as they’re finding out, it may just mean that people are going to take their checkbooks elsewhere.

Lindwurm still pushing the cart ahead of the horse as he campaigns in D15. While still registered to vote in D10.

Unsuccessful D14 House candidate Brad Lindwurm is still out there campaigning to run for the District 15 House in 2024..

But several weeks into the campaign, he still has the same basic problem he’s had ever since his campaign began.  He hasn’t bothered to move to District 15. Or at least, he hasn’t bothered to change his voter registration to reflect that.

As retrieved about 5 minutes ago from the Secretary of State…

Still District 10.

Not living where you’re running tends to be a bit of a handicap in trying to convince someone that they will represent their neighbor at the legislature in Pierre.

I think I’d be spending that money on an apartment deposit at this point, as opposed to a pile of t-shirts.

Spellerberg Announces Candidacy for Sioux Falls City Council

Spellerberg Announces Candidacy for Sioux Falls City Council

SIOUX FALLS–Ryan Spellerberg is excited to announce his candidacy for the Sioux Falls City Council Southwest District. An industry leader in finance, Ryan has decades of experience helping clients across the region as a mortgage lender and financial independence instructor.

“The American dream is alive and well in Sioux Falls,” said Spellerberg. “I’m excited to serve the people of Sioux Falls and be their voice for the future of Sioux Falls. As the district’s next councilor, I’ll focus on affordable housing, reducing crime, investing in infrastructure, and expanding the park system in southern Sioux Falls.”Raised as a farm kid in Lidgerwood, North Dakota, Spellerberg learned the value of hard work, determination and grit at a young age. Ryan graduated from Northern State University with a degree in Business and Economics, and launched a career in financial services. In 2008, Ryan and his wife Emily established their roots in Sioux Falls for work opportunities and to be near family and friends. In his spare time, Ryan has been involved with Habitat for Humanity, Sioux Falls Veterans Community Project, and teaching Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey.As a mortgage lender, Spellerberg enjoys helping people achieve homeownership – especially first-time homebuyers. In recognition of his hard work, Ryan has been awarded ‘Lender of the Year’ from the South Dakota Housing Association seven times in the last 10 years.“There is incredible joy in helping families eliminate personal debt and become homeowners,” said Spellerberg. “I get the opportunity to help guide families to achieve the American dream. Now, I want to take my skills and values to the city council and help guide the direction of our growing city. There are a lot of big issues in Sioux Falls, and I look forward to meeting with my neighbors, hearing  their ideas, and moving this great community in the right direction.”Sioux Falls city elections are Tuesday, April 9, 2024. Follow Spellerberg for Sioux Falls on Facebook for campaign updates from Ryan.


Welcome Mike Rounds and the Norbeck PAC to Advertiser’s Row! Only a few spots left!

The changing weather brings a return advertiser to Dakotawarcollege.  The bright new banner ad on the left of the website welcomes Mike Rounds and the Norbeck PAC to Advertiser’s Row to advertisers row.

And don’t forget to check out our other advertisers including Summit Carbon Solutions promoting the healthy commerce of ethanol for years to come, Governor Kristi NoemUS Senator John ThuneDusty Johnson for US Congress, , and the South Dakota Republican Party!

Of course, at Dakota Campaign Store, you’ll find me gearing up for 2024 with yard signs, postcards, and all the things a professional campaign needs to make an impression.

I’m down to my #2 and #3 spot on the left, so there are only limited advertising opportunities left for reaching South Dakota’s opinion leaders as the 2024 campaign season starts up. Advertising on the website is based on a first come, first serve basis for available positions.

Information on ad prices, ad positions, and ad commitments may be directed to the webmaster by clicking here.

Is Erickson ready to carry the ball again? Former Sioux Falls Councilor Christine Erickson at least thinking about run for Sioux Falls Mayor.

Is Christine Erickson getting ready to carry the ball again for Sioux Falls government?

(Campaign photo courtesy Erickson for City Council campaign)

Former Republican Legislator and past Sioux Falls City Councilwoman Sioux Falls disclosed this week on the Dakota Scout podcast that she’s eyeing a potential run for Sioux Falls Mayor, and has assembled a kitchen cabinet to discuss the possibility:

Erickson disclosed her consideration of the position Friday during an appearance on The Dakota Scout’s SCOUTING REPORT weekly podcast, where she revealed that she has assembled a team of local business and political leaders to explore a potential run.

“I’ve got a great crew, we call it ‘the mayor’s roundtable,’” Erickson said. “We quietly have a team, and we are looking at if this makes sense for me and my boys.”

Read the news story here.

I caught up with Christine afterwards, as even the discussion is surprising – as her position with the South Dakota Trucking and Auto Dealers Association is considered one of the plum government affairs positions in all of South Dakota – yet for those who have served in public office as successfully as Erickson, the pull of it is always there, especially as others sketch out the state’s political future and cast her in their “dream ticket” as they prognosticate what the landscape of government will look like in the state’s future.

Christine noted to me that she “loved public service, but when my kids were younger and I needed to make a change. As they are older it could be a good time to enter the discussion again.”

Among Republicans in South Dakota, Christine’s name has been raised in the past and possibly in the future as a running mate for gubernatorial hopefuls seeking instant and certain credibility in the Sioux Falls market. But Christine herself is more focused on her job, and personally what the next few years might bring to the state’s largest city.

Talking to me about her position with the South Dakota Truckers and Auto Dealers Association, she expressed to me that “I love the industry and love representing main street business owners that are so important to the community.”

But it should not go unnoticed that there have been conversations happening, and that she has been “meeting with people for the last several months,” and there seems to be support. And not just among Republicans, but a bi-partisan groundswell that has an interest in her leadership.

As she noted in the podcast, a lot has to come together, and stars would have to align for her to move forward with any official campaign.

But to date, as she is considered a unifier who cuts across partisan lines, former State Representative Erickson has our attention as she contemplates a return to public service in South Dakota.

US Senator John Thune: 10 Years Since Winter Storm Atlas

10 Years Since Winter Storm Atlas
By Sen. John Thune

Ten years ago, Winter Storm Atlas swept through western South Dakota. When it started, no one had any idea that it would be one of the most devastating snowstorms in the area’s history. Atlas dropped as much as 5 feet of snow in some areas. Wind gusts reached 71 miles per hour, and the storm devastated West River ranches.

Growing up in Murdo, we saw a lot of nasty weather, but Winter Storm Atlas was a storm unlike any other. Shortly after the storm cleared, I toured the area with then-Gov. Dennis Daugaard. It was heart-wrenching to see the impact on our state’s livestock industry. Tens of thousands of cattle, sheep, horses, and bison were killed. Much of the livestock that survived the storm were scattered miles from their pasture.

The Atlas storm brought the ferocity of Mother Nature to bear, but it also revealed the resilience and kindness of South Dakotans. Farmers and ranchers are independent, hard-working people. They are the best friends and neighbors you could ask for – the first to lend a helping hand and the last to ask for help. In the days and weeks after the blizzard, support came in from across the country. South Dakotans donated to the Rancher Relief Fund that provided millions of dollars in assistance to livestock producers, and producers from around the country donated their own livestock to help South Dakota ranchers rebuild their way of life.

When the storm hit, Congress was working on finalizing a farm bill, and I got right to work to make sure the bill would be done quickly and that the programs producers needed would be there for them. Winter Storm Atlas was a reminder that disaster can strike when you least expect it. In the 2008 farm bill, I coauthored the first standing livestock disaster programs of their kind. I worked to ensure these programs – the Livestock Forage, Livestock Indemnity, and Emergency Livestock Assistance programs – were continued and strengthened in the 2014 and 2018 farm bills.

Thankfully a storm as devastating as Atlas hasn’t struck again, but South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers have certainly seen their fair share of extreme weather in the last decade. Weather is just one aspect of the uncertainty and challenges that farmers and ranchers face. The livestock programs I helped design are an integral part of the farm safety net that farmers and ranchers depend on when challenges arise. As Congress considers another farm bill this year, I’m working to strengthen these programs to ensure farmers and ranchers can weather any storm that comes their way.

Agriculture is South Dakota’s number-one industry. South Dakota farmers and ranchers work hard every day, and they face uncertainty and a myriad of challenges to deliver a reliable and affordable food supply to the nation and the world. South Dakota’s producers are on my mind every day in the U.S. Senate, and I’ll continue working to ensure farm policy supports them and the important work they do.


Congressman Dusty Johnson’s Weekly Update: The Big Three

The Big Three
By Rep. Dusty Johnson
September 29, 2023

BIG Update

Last week, I gave you an update on our national debt. This week, our nation is facing the September 30 deadline to fund the government. House Republicans continue to pass individual appropriations bills that cut spending, strengthen our military, and secure the border – but we are running out of time to get everything across the finish line by tomorrow at midnight. A government shutdown costs the U.S. money and would prevent our military from getting paid – it’s a terrible option.

That’s why I worked on a short-term solution with the House Freedom Caucus and Republican Main Street Caucus to keep the government open for 31 more days paired with historic spending cuts and strong border security provisions. Unfortunately, 21 of my Republican colleagues sided with Democrats and opposed our bill. They try to make it sound like a noble cause, but it doesn’t move America in the right direction. In fact, it does the opposite.

This bill was our chance to show the U.S. Senate and President Biden that House Republicans won’t accept a clean government spending bill and that we are serious about lower spending and securing our border. These 21 prevented that from happening.

Learn more about the plan I put forward with members of the House Freedom Caucus—watch my remarks from today here.

BIG Idea

China plays a large role in chassis (the base frame that helps move cargo) production for truck trailers. In our steps to decrease dependence on China, leveling the playing field for chassis production is part of that strategy. I met with the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association and Trail King of Mitchell, South Dakota to talk about ways to increase production in America and foster a robust workforce.

BIG News

Border crossing numbers hit new record highs. More than 60,000 people came across the southern border illegally just this week. The news has 24/7 coverage of long lines of people streaming across the border. It’s clear the Biden Administration isn’t allowing Border Patrol agents to do their jobs.

Eight Democrat mayors and governors have declared a state of emergency because of the illegal immigrants that have flooded their communities. They don’t have the resources—physical or financial—to handle this influx.

The crisis at the border cannot be ignored, yet the Biden Administration’s border policies have neglected it for nearly 36 months. Congress can’t rely on President Biden’s policies to change any time soon. It’s long past time to put in place real border security solutions. On Thursday night, House Republicans passed our bill to fund Homeland Security. It secures our southern border by hiring more border patrol agents, investing in new technology, resuming construction of the border wall, and removing dangerous criminals. We’re taking action to secure the border. It’s too dangerous not to. It’s my hope the Senate agrees and passes our bill.


Sen. Julie Frye Mueller doubles down on employee harassment denials, claims Senate President Pro Tem wrote words, despite sworn testimony

There was a Republican Lincoln Day dinner in Fall River County last night, and if you think it was a run-of-the-mill affair, guess again. Because not only did it underline the divisions with some members of the far right and the Republican Party as a whole, it gave a preview of what we are going to see coming in the next election.

The featured speakers were Senator Tom Pischke, and Senator Julie Frye Mueller, who coincidentally have both been disinvited from attending the Republican Senate caucus because of their actions this last legislative session.

After Senator Pischke read his speech off, Frye Mueller got up and gave a fish story which I hadn’t heard to date:

“ you could see this was an orchestrated attempt.. and what Senator Schoenbeck.. and yes you’re watching.. and if you are good for you. His goal I believe was to have me hang my head and walk off the floor. And never come back. And that wasn’t going to happen. 

Because I believe he’s the one who made up those words, as that staffor didn’t say those words, and I didn’t say them either as in my kangaroo court I testified to.”

Watch that here at about 1:08 into the video.

Wait a moment.. was this the same Julie Frye Mueller who claimed in a lawsuit that in her speech with the employee was constitutionally protected?

In her lawsuit, Frye-Mueller argues that her conversation with the staffer was political speech protected by the First Amendment, and that her first-of-its-kind suspension came without due process.

Read that here..

Now, despite the legislative hearing with sworn testimony of the employee who related her version of conversation, and the written statement of the employee as part of her original complaint, now Frye Mueller has started to voice a ridiculous claim that Senator Schoenbeck actually authored it?

I have a feeling this is going to get sillier before the next legislative session is over.

Speaking of ridiculous and silly, there was a candidate announcement at the dinner as well.

Apparently, Mathew Monfore, who got disinvited from at least one reservation for claiming they worship false idols announced his candidacy for District 30 house.

Get ready for a long campaign.

Governor Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: The Buffalo Roundup: The Heart of the Wild West

The Buffalo Roundup: The Heart of the Wild West
By: Governor Kristi Noem
September 29, 2023

Teddy Roosevelt is one of my favorite presidents. He embodied the spirit of Freedom. He cared about stewarding the land. And he appreciated the beauty of this nation. President Roosevelt said, “the farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom.” That is exactly what South Dakota offers.

President Roosevelt spent a lot of time in the Dakotas during his life. And there is one event that we do every single year here in South Dakota that I just know he would have loved. It is one of my favorite days of the years – the Buffalo Roundup.

The Buffalo Roundup really shows what South Dakota is all about. It incorporates South Dakota’ culture, heritage, outdoor spirit, and our passion for Freedom. The event takes place every year on the last Friday in September in Custer State Park. Custer State Park is home to a herd of about 1,400 bison. Rounding up these bison is not only a spectacular sight to see, but it is also critical to maintaining a strong and healthy heard.

Back in 2016, when I was serving as South Dakota’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives, I led the efforts to name the bison as America’s National Mammal. This was a huge accomplishment, especially after the bison came so close to extinction. It is estimated that the bison population in the United States reached an all-time low in 1884, when fewer than 1,000 were left in the country. Now, after more than a century of conservation efforts, there are more than 500,000 bison in the United States!

The Custer State Park bison herd has contributed greatly to those efforts. When South Dakota legend Scotty Philip started the herd, it was one of the few herds left in America. Because of that long history of strong management, our herd has some of the best genetics in the country. Each year, we sell some of these bison to intersperse their genetics with those of other herds to improve the health of the species’ population across the nation.

The state of South Dakota is a special place – and the Buffalo Roundup is truly a testament to the spirit of conservation in our state. We are a state still believes in the beauty of the American Dream. We believe that you can pull yourself up by the bootstraps, put in a little hard work, and make anything possible for yourself. We still prioritize American values. Our small-town way of life makes people feel comfortable – like they’re back somewhere safe and familiar.

We value tradition, and we value the great outdoors. All of this is why we continue to host the Buffalo Roundup year after year. The Roundup is a tradition unlike any other. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you can only get here in South Dakota.

Teddy Roosevelt talked about the “lonely freedom” of the wilderness. Well, South Dakota is the Freest state in America – so I can’t think of a better place to enjoy the Freedom of the Wild West than right here.