Rothenberg Report predicting Thune seat “Safe Republican” for 2016 cycle.

It’s a John Thune news day apparently.

Our Senior US Senator was officially installed as the chair on the Senate’s Commerce Committee. He commented on Nebraska’s Supreme Court tossing a Keystone XL pipeline court case which was holding Obama back from action on Keystone.

And now the Senator’s seat is in the mix for predictions from the The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call Race Ratings.

What’s the verdict for Thune’s South Dakota seat in 2016? It’s a no-brainer, considering that Democrats failed to run a candidate for the office in 2010. Thune’s Senate Seat is listed as Safe Republican.


With South Dakota Democrats at lows in terms of voters as well as potential candidates who could run at the level of US Senate, it’s doubtful that it’s going to move from a “safe Republican” status anytime between now and November 8th, 2016.

Argus: Entire SD Delegation blasts Obama veto threat

From the Argus:

The South Dakota congressional delegation, all Republicans, harshly opposed the White House threat.

“It’s disappointing that the president is going to fail his first big test as to whether or not he wants to work with Congress,” Sen. John Thune said. “He would be wise to remember the November election results and think twice before moving to block the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that clearly has public support.

Read it all here.

With John Thune, Mike Rounds, and Kristi Noem letting the President definitively know where South Dakota stands is much more effective than the mixed messages we were putting out before.

LRC Slooooowwly adding bills to list of pre-filed legislation.

This morning, as I’m still in my pajamas enjoying a snow day, the state Legislative Research Council finally continued in adding legislation to the list of pre-filed measures, which they already were a month late in the first place.

I’m left wondering if these measures were sitting on someone’s desk, or if they had been pre-filed, and not put up on-line? It seems as odd they’re so damn slow at this point, as I thought I’d heard that they already have some of the legislators there from appropriations.

Stay tuned as the big show starts this weekend!

“The price of liberty is labor as well as vigilance.” (Carl Skovel)

Speaker of the House results:

Boehner: 216
Pelosi: 156
Webster: 12
Others: 24 (I think 7 were Dem’s not voting for Pelosi)

If I got the tally right, 29 GOP members voted for someone other than Boehner. Around 3-6 of the votes seemed grounded in a personal problem with Boehner. But, around 25 voted out of conviction and I think that took courage.

If their conviction was grounded in an idea the Republic is served by pushing issues that will go nowhere and will make people in the middle to doubt Republicans are fit to serve, I disagree.  This fiasco of government policy wasn’t built in a day and I don’t believe it will torn down in a day.  This will take hard work and not every battle is equal to other battles.  I deeply and sincerely believe prudence and diligent focus on the long-run and big issues will serve America best and not less significant or short-term gains.

But, for many of them who didn’t vote for Boehner, I see a sincere expression wanting to have this majority mean something for the good of the Republic. This includes passing the most conservative legislation that will be RELUCTANTLY accepted by President Obama (moving the ball forward).  None of us will get everything we want.  But, hopefully, we can see steady progress toward a government that serves our interests vs. one that expects us to serve the government.

And yes, it will sometimes mean passing legislation that will be vetoed but will compare and contrast the differences between the two parties.  We have a Presidential election in 2016 and a full and open debate of these differences is necessary for a successful Republic.

And, personally, I’m glad this will include Keystone, first hopefully a repeal and then incremental changes in Obamacare, and real reforms in government and spending.

Only 10 No Votes for Boehner for Speaker. What do you think?

According to the newspaper “The Hill,” currently, only 10 Republicans have specifically noted that they’re going to vote against John Boehner to be Speaker of the House, with Louie Gohmert of Texas announcing a run against the Speaker, as well as Ted Yoho.

One candidate below notes they’re supporting Daniel Webster. Like Yoho, both coming from Florida..

A small but growing number of Republicans say they will vote Tuesday to deny John Boehner a third term as Speaker of the House.

But ousting a sitting Speaker is a difficult feat, and a group of a dozen defectors failed two years ago to depose Boehner, the powerful Ohio Republican.

Because the House GOP expanded its majority in the midterm elections, 29 Republicans would need to vote against Boehner to force a second ballot. Even then, it’s improbable that Boehner would relinquish the gavel and step aside without a drawn-out fight.

The Hill is keeping a running list on Republicans who are opposing Boehner. Here is where the count stands. Please send updates/feedback to [email protected].


Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) — Freshman who knocked off House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) had said he’d support Boehner, but flipped this week.

Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.)* — Disapproved of how the $1.1 trillion spending bill was handled last month.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)* — Outspoken Boehner critic says he’ll run for Speaker. Gohmert is friends with Fox News host Sean Hannity, who has called for Boehner’s ouster.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)

Rep.-elect Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) — Stated on the campaign trail that he wouldn’t back Boehner for Speaker. However, Palmer later said he regretted that pledge “to a certain extent” because it might threaten his ability to secure preferred committee assignments. Still, Palmer said he told Boehner he would need to keep his word.

Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.)* — Maverick lawmaker says he’ll back Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) for Speaker.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) — Hard-line opponent of immigration reform backed Boehner two years ago. Since then, Boehner reportedly called King an “asshole” behind closed doors. Boehner ripped his GOP colleague after King made his controversial “canteloupe” remarks regarding DREAMers.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.)*

Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) — Stutzman lost whip race to Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.). Bridenstine says he’s been told Stutzman will oppose Boehner.

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.)* — Challenging Boehner for Speaker.

Read this, and who is saying yes all here.

Not a very big list of “No votes.”  Certainly not enough to oust Boehner.

My opinion is that he was pretty good ally to South Dakota in terms of actively supporting the farm bill.   So, what do you think? Has Boehner done a good job? Or does he need to be replaced?

Republican State Senator wants voting felons. Bad idea.

So, what happened to paying your debt to society? Republican State Senator Craig Tieszen want to give voting rights back to felons as soon as they’re out of prison.

According to KOTA news:

District 34 Senator Craig Tieszen will introduce a bill this legislative session to restore voting rights to felons as soon as they get out of prison.

State law dictates that felons have to wait until their parole is finished.

But keeping in line with the state’s mission to reform criminal justice, Tieszen said Friday that it is only fair that felons get the chance to take part in the voting process.

Read it here.

Sorry, but that’s just a bad move, and no reason to be soft on criminals. What’s next? A polling place at the state pen? The fact of the matter is that in 2012, South Dakota finally fixed what was a confusing patchwork system and clarified that:

Under South Dakota Codified Law § 12-4-18, a person convicted of a felony in either federal or state court on or after July 1, 2012 loses the right to vote. A person so disqualified becomes eligible to register to vote upon completion of his or her entire sentence. A person who receives a suspended imposition of sentence does not lose the right to vote.

Read that here.. If you look at that page, it details the mess we had before.

And, the truth is that there’s a lot more to sentences than jail time. There’s restitution, there’s treatment, and a host of other remedies and hoops the court may require before the felon has completed their sentence and has their full citizenship restored.

Why would we give someone less incentive to fulfill their obligations? Because while some think it might be fair for the felon, what about fairness for the victim? Shouldn’t, say an embezzler, meet the sentence requirement of restitution before having their right restored?

It’s even a worse idea this year. Why? Two words – Annette Bosworth.

Say this law passes. If Annette is convicted (or pleads guilty) to election violations, for a white collar petition felony charge, she likely would not spend one hour in prison. Which, under the Tieszen proposal, means her right to vote would suffer no consequences whatsoever.

Why would we want to do that for election violators? Shouldn’t there be some effect on a right to vote in that situation?

There are a lot of reasons to reject this. Most importantly, I keep coming back to the fact we just fixed this law in 2012. So why would we step backwards and make it a confusing mess again?

That’s just a bad idea.

Ed groups know a tax increase for teachers is DOA.

According to education groups pushing a sales tax increase for teacher salaries, the measure likely faces both legislative resistance, and a likely Veto from the Governor.

According to the Argus Leader this morning:

Under the terms of the proposal, state sales tax would increase by a penny in June, July and August. Money from the tax hike would go into a special fund reserved for school districts.

The one-cent sales tax hike would bring in about $40 million, according to estimates. But even the people who came up with the idea are less than certain about how much support there is among lawmakers. Rob Monson, executive director of the School Administrators of South Dakota, said the plan would probably do better among voters.

His group was one of three that pitched the idea to a committee of lawmakers in September. Monson is more optimistic about the proposal’s fate as a ballot initiative than he is about it passing through the Legislature with the required two-thirds approval.

“I just find it hard to believe that we would get that kind of support,” Monson said.

Read it here.

What do you think? Should the legislature be setting local salary policy?

And is this going to be what Democrats spend their time, money, and energy on in 2016 instead of running candidates for office?

US Attorney Brendan Johnson interjects office into satellite voting center dispute

For the first time, the South Dakota U.S. Attorney’s office has interjected itself into the disputes counties are having with the Native American community over satellite voting centers; where groups are asking for centers to be set up so they don’t have to travel to the county seat to vote early as in every other other county;

After the election, the county filed a motion asking Judge Karen Schreier to toss the case, but the Department of Justice has asked her not to.

U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson says the county’s refusal to open a satellite office – the cost for which can be reimbursed through Help America Vote Act funds – was not a reasonable response, given the state’s history with the Native American community.

“Let’s be clear, South Dakota does not have a proud history when it comes to providing Native Americans an equal right to vote,” Johnson said. “We should be doing more, not less, to protect the right of every South Dakotan to vote in our elections.”


In addition to the three methods of absentee voting available in South Dakota, each Plaintiff can also vote on Election Day at their local precinct polling place, which includes a polling place at the precise location Plaintiffs are suing for an absentee voting site – Wanblee,” the lawyers wrote.

The lawsuit should be dismissed, the lawyers wrote, because it contains no proof that the decision not to open an early voting center disenfranchised Native Americans, a protected class under the Voting Rights Act.

Read it all here.

(And before it’s mentioned, yes I know it’s technically not early voting but in-person absentee. I’m just using the slang.)

US Attorney Brendan Johnson had remained silent in other cases that had come up, so it’s unclear what triggered this action by his office. Unless he’s going to run for something himself in 2016.

Early Satellite voting centers remain controversial, as most counties don’t do them. They’re more of a hands-on walk through of the absentee voting process using paid staff. They don’t necessarily use county employees, but they can. Either way, those wanting them typically sue because they want federal HAVA (Help America Vote Act) funds to pay for them.

As noted by the 2012 article linked above, centers aren’t usually buzzing hubs of activity:

Gant and Ganje arranged for a primary election voting center in Pine Ridge Village staffed by two Fall River County employees who drove 64 miles each way each day. Turnout was low, with only 46 voters showing up over the 31 actual days of voting.

Two questions – Should counties with a significant Native American presence get extra assistance with voting that isn’t provided in other counties?

And does U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson’s weighing in on the issue signal that he’s gearing up for something more political in the near future?