Citizens for Liberty group has taken over Penn Co. GOP, Minnehaha to make right turn as well?

I’ve been getting reports this afternoon that the hard right Citizens for Liberty (CFL) group has taken over the Pennington County GOP, installing their candidates in county GOP leadership roles during county party elections. This will be interesting to see how combative the group is with the greater party in months to come.

Similar developments may be in store for the Minnehaha County GOP. The group is facing a “Sophie’s Choice” for chair elections where on one hand you have R. Shawn Tornow facing off against Rhonda Milstead. Just last weekend Milstead sent Steve Haugaard to the Central Committee meeting with her proxy.

Tornow versus a Haugaard ally? Is there a door number three?

86 thoughts on “Citizens for Liberty group has taken over Penn Co. GOP, Minnehaha to make right turn as well?”

  1. Rhonda Milstead also gave one of two highly-combative nominating speeches for Haugaard at Convention when he ran for Lt Gov…..

    1. Thank God! It is about time the Pennington County GOP will have leadership that believes in following the US and SD Constitutions as well as the GOP Platform! The former chair, Jeff Holdridge was an absolute tyrant when it came to accepting applications for precinct committeemen and committeewomen. He did not even give the applications to the committee, but discarded them if he thought the applicant was too conservative!

          1. Use that super computer in your hands that you’re hiding behind to learn something and look up what Hear, Hear means.

      1. Bold accusation, very untrue. Holbrook conceded to CFL more than I would’ve liked and he was a hardworking man trying to mend bridges between all parts of our party. You must have some personal problems you are working through. The man needs not to be battered but thanked for his service to his country and party and his countless UNPAID hours where he developed our party. All republicans need to come together on the issues we agree on: lower taxes, getting government out of the way, and making sure we uphold the promises we made to our veterans. We need to take notes from Jeff on how to be trooper on the front lines and ruck our fair portion of the party across the finish line. We all agree on at least 80% of things, we just need to tell our neighbors we believe these things. We need to come together. As my mother said “if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.”

        1. It is hard to say nice things about a person who treats you like manure. See my reply to you below. BTW, I did give my name as Mr. Santana asked, why don’t you?

          1. but “giving an application to the committee” is not how one becomes a precinct committee woman. You file with your county auditor’s office.
            But your statements that you do not support the governor disqualify you for the job in my opinion. Job number one for a precinct committee man or woman is to bring in the votes for the Republican candidate for governor. It is the number of votes the county delivers which determines the weight of the county’s votes for the next two conventions. As a precinct committee person, THAT is your most important job.
            Making signs about mask mandates and vaccines is just loony fringe activity unrelated to the mission of the Republican party. The mission of the party is to get Republicans elected. Obviously you don’t support that mission, so you don’t deserve to be a precinct committee woman.
            If Your county chair has had to spend the last four years listening to you talk about how Sutton was a better choice than Noem, I can’t blame him for treating you like manure.

            1. Precinct Committeeman or Committeewoman Statement
              I, _______________________, of ______________ County, declare myself a candidate for the position of ________________ (insert party) Party Precinct ____________ (insert committeeman or committeewoman) for Precinct No. _________. My mailing address is ________________, __________, SD ________ and my residence address is ___________________, ___________, SD ________.

              I understand that to be a Precinct Committeeman or Committeewoman, I must be a resident of the precinct, be a registered voter of the political party named above at the time I sign this statement, and if elected, will qualify and serve in the office.

              I certify all of the above information to be true.

              Print Name ______________________________

              Date ____________

              Signature _______________________________

              Telephone Number __________________
              This form is from the SD Legislative Council page. I filled it out and turned it in at the office, which I was told was acceptable. The woman who took my application and my dues should have told me if it was filed wrong. Jeff also should have contacted me. Disregarding my application was not only rude, but should be illegal as there is a committee in charge of this. We are allowed to vote for whichever GOP candidate in the PRIMARY, we do not have to vote for who the county GOP committee demands. That is not their purpose. The country chair did not hear me support Billie for 4 years, Heck, I don’t think I even saw Mr. Holbrook once a year You think signs and protesting against the mandates are loony but we were defending our freedom of speech as well as our freedom to choose our health options. The First Amendment text reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The Preamble to the Declaration of Independence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Liberty includes making our own health decisions and freedom of speech! Personally, I do not think any person, regardless of their political stance, deserves to be treated like manure. I also believe my loyalty is to God, my family and my country before politics. BTW, you still have not identified yourself. I was asked to and complied. I had the courage, don’t you?

              1. there is no “committee” which processes the filings. You fill it out and take it to the county auditor’s office.
                There is a job description for the precinct committee people in the SDGOP bylaws.
                The job has nothing to do with campaigning against vaccines and mask mandates. If you want to spend your time doing that, find a different organization to work for.
                The precinct committee people were elected in the same primary election that Governor Noem won. That meant that the very next day, they were supposed to hit the ground running, knocking on doors and campaigning for her. As soon as local ordinances allowed signs to be put up, the precinct committee people were supposed to be on it.
                While the job is to shoulder the “complete responsibility to conduct the political campaign in their precinct,”
                since the weight of a county’s votes at the next two conventions depends on how many votes for the governor come in, Getting out the vote specifically for the governor is of utmost importance to the county organization. Getting out the vote for the rest of the slate follows that objective.
                As for your bragging that you were “making signs,”
                as a general rule, the precinct committee men and women don’t “make” signs, they assemble the signs provided by the campaigns.
                The different campaigns invest in their messaging and signage and party workers shouldn’t be going rogue with their own agendas.
                it’s quite clear from your statements that you don’t understand how one becomes a precinct committee person or what the job entails..Holbrook was right in deciding you are unsuitable.

              2. It’s not one person. This is several people telling you that you are wrong. You don’t have an argument based in fact so you have to come up with BS like what is your name. You are unqualified to be a representative of our party. You need to understand that the Republican VOTERS do not choose your path. 77% of voters choose Kristi Noem. Even if you take the closest race. They like Dusty Johnson 20% more than Taffy Howard. The newly elected board of the Pennington County Republicans does not represent the voters.

    2. but Shawn Tornow delivered the most entertaining defense summation I have ever heard, to wit: “my client (Dan Willard) didn’t do it, Stace Nelson did it.”
      I still get the LOLs thinking about that.

    3. I well remember that other “highly combative” speech delivered at Watertown. Jennifer Foss read a sweet letter from Mary Haugaard about her husband, Steve. People may remember Jennifer’s picture in a recent DWC article as well as from the convention. Jennifer’s name was spelled incorrectly in the article if you search for it. It is Foss, not Fuoss.

  2. It’ll be interesting to see how much support CFL gets in running the GOP. Most of their supporters had not participated in party functions in the past. If they can recruit volunteers from this previously anonymous group for parades, fairs, Lincoln Day dinners, door knocking, phone calls, and legislator mixers, they might have a future in politics.

    1. You are full of bull, Mr. Santana! Many of the CFL members do participate in parades, sign making, standing with the signs on the street corners, door knocking, etc. Perhaps they do not attend the Pennington County Lincoln Day Dinners because of the treatment of conservative candidates who are not allowed to speak at these functions. BTW, many do attend Lincoln Day Dinners in other counties where conservative candidates are given a voice. CFL members spent hours making signs against the vaccine and mask mandates. They also attend City Council and School Board meetings. Some members also attended the Harriet Hagman/Trump Rally in Casper as well as rallies in other South Dakota towns. When conservative patriots feel welcome at the mixers, they will attend in larger numbers than under the former chairman and board who support Democrats running as GOP candidates and the legislators who vote like Democrats.

      1. If you are so assured of your facts why do you not have the courage to use your name? I attend most Pennco political functions and many of the CFL supporters at the election were unknown to me.

        1. Perhaps the reason you did not recognize many of the CFL supporters at this election is because you hang out with RINOS not with Conservative Patriots. I am also known as SDSenior.

          1. The Republicans rejected your brand of politics. You aren’t even willing to run for a precinct spot. Pennington 4-5 went vacant. Quit calling people RINOs while refusing to help the party.

            1. For your information. I turned in an application to be a precinct committeewoman. I never heard back, despite a letter and a couple of phone calls. I also was going to stop at the office on my way home from work, and his car was never there. I phoned Jeff yesterday and asked about it. He told me HE did not consider me to be suitable, so he never gave the application to the committee. He is a tyrant and I am not the only person whose application was rejected by him. He overstepped his authority. I made signs in the office, carried them as well as rang doorbells. I attended school board and city council meetings.

              1. I’m glad Wiik is chair of SD GOP. He will get the party straight. Madison Sheahan will be good at getting the party back on the straights.

                1. I certainly hope the county and the state chair get the party back to the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of South Dakota and the GOP Platform.

                  1. Where in the constitution does it say we can remove a sitting President and have a “redo.”

        2. real names are overrated. in here name-shaming is a laughable conversation derailment ploy. work around it.

  3. Just for clarification, South Dakota Citizens for Liberty is a NON-PARTISAN organization. We are a 501 c-4 organized for educational purposes. We do not, and by law, CANNOT endorse candidates.
    That written, SDCFL members are active in our communities and do personally support candidates we believe will do the best job for their constituents as well as issues which follow our Mission Statement. We will also vociferously oppose issues which go against our Mission Statement.
    Like any organization, people will stay with a group as long as they’re comfortable with it and the group doesn’t change its purpose for which members join. We have never forced or begged people to stay if we are not what they are looking for.
    For the record, four of the six new Executive Board Pennington County GOP members are NOT, nor have ever been, members of South Dakota Citizens for Liberty since I joined in 2016.

  4. The headline is misleading. As CA Escapee pointed out only two of the newly elected board are members of CFL. And, yes, I am a member of Citizens for Liberty.

      1. Well, I do respect Steve Haugaard much more than I do Noem. I knew she was a liar during her “debates” with Billie Sutton, who I also highly respect and knew well when I lived in Burke. Billie and my youngest son were classmates from kindergarten through 8th grade. Billie comes from a very good Christian family as does his wife.

        1. so you supported Noem over Sutton and you think everybody else is a RINO? That’s the pot calling the kettle black.
          Once a Republican candidate wins a primary, that’s it. The party throws its wholehearted support behind that person. If you can’t do that, you aren’t qualified to be a precinct committee woman

            1. I said I respected Sutton more than I respect Noem. I was not and am not a precinct committee member. I was not a member of the Pennington County Republican Party during the contest between Noem and Sutton.

  5. The interesting election was the treasurer. The previous treasurer is over qualified in accounting, kept clean books, did all the reporting correctly and on time.

    The winner does quick books for his church and his wife. Never held a Pennington County GOP slot or position. Also if I remember correctly has never attended a convention.

    This was a petri dish for what happened at the state convention.

    The Penn GOP was coming off a successful financial two years with a large chunk of donations from businesses. Will be interested how quickly those businesses drop off.

    1. Yes, Anny, it will be interesting to see the business drop off. CFL’ers think everyone who disagrees with them is a RINO and that includes a lot of current legislators so it will be interesting to see who shows up at their functions. I’m sure they feel that this is a landmark election for the CFL

    2. Yes, it would have been nice to keep Maher, he has done a fantastic job and should be commended for his work. Regarding the new Central Committee, these same businesses will still want their issues presented in Pierre along with all new businesses that are in-flowing into Pennington county that will want the same. The representation they want will be Republican in nature.

      1. Thank you for your comment! It does hurt to be tossed out by a block of a group. I will help Brian as much as he wants….

        1. Nothing to be hurt by, even the superstar players in a big game get to rest on the bench every once in a while. Mr. Maher’s eagerness to help does show that if we can blend a bit of the old school with a bit of the grassroots up welling, we can together, build PCGOP into a true conservative powerhouse in South Dakota politics. Thanks again, Mr Maher for your great service to Pennington county.

        2. Kevin…you’re a good man to offer your help, but I suspect the CFL’ers will want to cut their own path through the jungle. Once the die was cut after the first two elections, I thought that you’d not fit in well with that leadership type. You did a great job and have that to be proud of.

  6. Blues, despair, and agony on …

    I’m just wondering how much better listening skills could get in SD.

    “My way or the highway” only works when “my way” has efficacy.

    “The truth is like a lion. It doesn’t need anyone to defend it. It just needs to be set free.”

  7. i personally can’t wait for the day their events draw the crowds in the tens and 20s, filling whole bus stops

      1. trump is a unique phenomenon unto himself, so i don’t understand your question. the gop’s wider power base has been found in the so-called silent majority, which still exists, and often simply resists the tea party’s effort to anoint themselves as the party’s true voice. prediction – the cfl folks serving with the pennington co gop will not so much bring change, as be changed themselves by getting a daily big facefull of big full-scale political reality.

  8. Just wondering if all these folks attend the same church? If so, is that really a representation of Pennington County?

  9. How did the Republican Party attract the anti-vaccine crazies?
    Why is it that protesting vaccines and masks is believed to be doing the work of the Republican Party? The majority of the population is vaccinated, therefore it follows the majority of Republicans are vaccinated. There is nothing against vaccines in the state party’s platform. There are planks advocating for personal responsibility and “the well-being of all,” which could be construed as a commitment to public health. But that’s it. If you don’t want to get a vaccine, don’t get one. If you don’t want to work for an employer who requires one, don’t work for one. But standing on street corners telling other people they shouldn’t be vaccinated either is not part of the party’s mission, and shouldn’t be offered up as evidence that you have been doing anything for the party.

  10. Pastor Craig from Landmark Evangelical Church stood in the back orchestrating the entire thing. Pray and obey.

      1. Church is great! But this is a political organization, not a church so it shouldn’t be run by the pastor, elders and board members of a single church in town.

        Plus one of the candidates elected said they don’t believe in the separation of church and state. You know, the thing in the Constitution?

        These two things together make me very uneasy.

        1. I was there and had the exact same feeling about the church involvement and it’s interesting to see I wasn’t the only one drawing that conclusion. The candidates who won were definitely not the ones most qualified or proven, and in all cases except for one, endorsements by current or past legislators went ignored. Will be interesting to see how they succeed at their promises of “uniting the party”. Maybe they were just referring to their “party” and not all Republicans because we have seen how unifying they can be when in Pierre, not to mention Watertown last summer.

        2. The phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the U.S. Constitution, but in a letter by Thomas Jefferson to a Baptist church in 1802.
          Perhaps you need to take a class on the Constitution. I understand the John Birch Society has one.

          American History classes are also given in our state supported colleges and universities, just in case you were sleeping during the high school classes of American History and American Government.

          1. Seriously? The first words of the Bill of Rights are literally “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”

            1. Every historian or Constitutional teacher I have heard has always had the opinion that this sentence meant that there would be no OFFICIAL religion in the United States. England had the Church of England, Italy has the Roman Catholic Church, Germany, Sweden & Norway had Lutheran, many of the countries in the Middle East have Muslim as the official religion. We have freedom of religion.

  11. They should call themselves the “Dempsey’s Landmark Assclown Caucus” who will not vote for Republicans who beat their people in the primary.

  12. These clowns in Yankton, Minnehaha, Pennington, Brown and Brookings only get away with it because most people just sit it out.

    They will have a nice 2 years running things into the ground and then experience a complete Wipeout when regular people take it back from the fringe.

    1. The PC Central Committee Election had 85% voter turnout. With eleven precinct persons absent, two county officials absent and one state legislator absent it was as a full boat election as could be had all things considered. One precinct person left mid election as they had a daughter go into labor and one state legislator left mid election for unknown reasons.

  13. The county party model is getting out of hand. The hard right is focusing on these seats since in many districts, they can’t win on the ballot. They are not a good representation of where the R’s in the county stand on the issues. The strong R’s that are elected officials don’t have the extra time and energy to fight off the hard right within the county party, while also serving their constituents as an elected official in Pierre and the courthouse.

      1. Show up to one meeting every two years to vote for a sane chair doesn’t seem too hard.

        We need to stop pretending that we are so busy we can’t show up.

        The world is run by those who show up. The legislature is hanging by a thread from reflecting what the county gop and convention went through.

        1. Guessing we are allies, but it’s not that simple IMO (running the county party and holding off the hard right off). I’m glad some people focused on running for election to be in Pierre and the courthouse instead of a title in the county party. I think we are better served having our best in the seats that make enforce actual laws. I would rather have those people studying policy and making good law, instead of trying to stop the county party from endorsing some hard right candidate or policy, or inviting in a fringe speaker. It’s good the party precinct elections are still in play, so normal people can still vote at convention in the counties that the party has been hijacked.

  14. The folks with CFL in the West, as well as many in Sioux Falls, are certainly insaner than most. Sort of funny that they many don’t consider Noem conservative enough.

    1. prediction 2 – the new mavericks will know they are effective when their former cohort confer upon them the title of RINO.

  15. As a Party member who went door to door for Archie Gubbrud, all of this chaos, basically caused by people who consider themselves religious and politically righteous, is truly frightening. The Party just can’t seem to stand prosperity. This emphasis on politics as an enabler of religious belief, is disruptive of political party organization and operation.

  16. Hmmm. It seems Anny and at least one Anonymous may have been defeated in this election? Sour Grapes?

    1. Some of the disgruntled & defeated county officers spent years raising money, with no help at all from the people who replaced them (which is why the outgoing Yankton team took the money with them.) Sour grapes, yes. Why not?
      The problem is the county parties are being taken over by people who don’t even understand the reason county parties exist, which is to get Republicans elected. They seem to believe that a title in a county party will give them a platform to promote their personal agenda; they can all get together and trade conspiracy theories about vaccines. They can have lunch and see if the flatware will stick to their necks, borrow veterinary scanners to see if they have been covertly micro-chipped, and drive through neighborhoods yelling “bring out your dead,” to collect all the “millions” of people who have been killed by vaccines.

      Those of us who leave those county offices behind can put our time and money to work elsewhere.

      1. As a rule of thumb in South Dakota, and with conservatives in general, if you’re not getting’re not asking. Failure to properly delegate responsibilities is not the fault of the follower, but a fault of the leadership. This is true in the military, in business, any civic organization and even within the family household.
        If you think that people get interested in serving their neighbors as a precinct committee person for the “power and glory” is absolutely laughable. Most are in dire need of true leadership and guidance when first coming aboard. They are almost always enthusiast and dedicated to serve but just need a bit of direction.
        The center portion of your post I’ll simply accept as a worthless rant and won’t legitimize your bogeymen. Although I will give you great kudos for an outstanding Monty Python quote.
        The last bit does smell of sour grapes. The ol’ “I’m taking my ball and going home.”
        I’ve met you and you always struck me as a very sweet, conscientious person and these posts have changed that perception a bit….sorry.

  17. Yep the GOP is having an identity crisis. It seems all of this started with “election denial”. Aren’t we glad we abandoned our morals 7 years ago and threw support behind the P grabber?

    1. The problems with the GOP started many years before the 2020 election. In South Dakota, we had a problem with evidence hidden or possibly even destroyed during the Rounds administration. Remember the missing safe, the murder/suicides(?)

      If the GOP had stood behind their candidate, Donald J. Trump, in 2020, we would not be having record high inflation, open borders bringing in drugs and sex trafficking, at the level it is happening in the Biden Administration.

      The former committee was gungho about supporting the incumbents over their more conservative opponents in SD, but did not support President Trump Hypocrisy? Yes! It even sounds like you did not support the GOP Candidate, Donald J. Trump in the 2020 election.

    1. Hopefully, the true conservatives will take over all the counties in South Dakota! I would love to see who would be the officers in Lincoln County!

      1. And what flavor of Republican pray tell do you consider to be a “true” conservative? Reganites , Goldwaterites, Roosevelt Muckrakers, the list goes on. Or have you forgotten that the GOP is supposed to be a large umbrella party with the cornerstones being a more responsible (but not stupid) government and focus on individual (even the ones we disagree with) rights?

  18. I suppose Party coffers are going to suffer when these “true conservatives” take over. One thing they are very “truly conservative” about is donating money to the cause. As far as I can tell they are pretty close with a dime…look at the fund raising totals of “their” candidates who ran against the incumbents..pretty paltry, including even Taffy Howard and Haugard..not enough money in the war chest to mount any kind of campaign.

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