Democrats clinging to false hope that the Tim Johnson treasury may open to them

Seth Tupper has an article today at the Rapid City Journal’s website that has Democrat seeing green. That is, as a result of Sutton naming Barbara Johnson, former US Senator Tim Johnson’s wife, as his campaign chair, that somehow it’s going to open a magic door into Johnson’s leftover campaign funds:

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Billie Sutton‘s recent announcement of Barbara Johnson as his campaign committee chairwoman gives Sutton a potentially crucial connection to Johnson’s husband, former U.S. senator Tim Johnson, who still controls nearly $900,000 in leftover campaign money and could legally give it all to Sutton’s campaign.

There has been no indication that Tim Johnson would make such a large contribution to one candidate, but officials with the Federal Election Commission and the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office said it would be allowable.


Sutton announced Wednesday that the former senator’s wife, Barbara Johnson, is his campaign committee chairwoman. She said Thursday in a Journal phone interview that her husband’s campaign money was not a factor in her joining the Sutton campaign.

“It had nothing to do with it,” she said. “It was never even brought up.”


If Sutton is hoping for a chunk of Johnson money, he could rely on ties that go beyond the role of Johnson’s wife in the Sutton campaign. The Sutton family, for example, gives an annual legislative achievement award in honor of Billie Sutton’s grandfather, who was also a Democrat named Billie Sutton and who served six years in the Legislature before his death in 1982. One of the first co-recipients of the award was then-legislator Tim Johnson.

Read it here.

I could see Tim Johnson making a significant donation… but not in the neighborhood that Sutton would need to be competitive in the contest. Think “tens of thousands,” as opposed to “hundreds of thousands.”  In red-state South Dakota, it would be chasing good money after bad, and at some time in the future, as mentioned in the article, Brendan Johnson may decide to enter politics, and he would be the natural inheritor of the lions’ share of the funds.

If Democrats are clinging to false hope that Tim Johnson treasury may open to them, I think they should not waste their time. The Magic-8 ball says “doubtful” in this case.

7 thoughts on “Democrats clinging to false hope that the Tim Johnson treasury may open to them”

  1. Think of the parties Mr. Heinert could throw with tens of thousands of dollars.

    1. Sutton is too moderate for the left. Hienert as LG would keep him in the legislature if Sutton lost, raise Hienert’s profile and give Sutton a left leaning tribal member to accommodate the leftists and raise out of state money from Hollywood. They might even win an academy award by the end of this campaign.

  2. It looks like Sutton will be our next governor. I don’t know who I’ll for, but Sutton has got “SOUTH DAKOTA” written all over him, a real down to earth son of the soil, a man of faith, a family man, a hard working individual. Nobody cares if he’s a Democrat or a Republican or an Independent. He’s MR. SOUTH DAKOTA and he already has the overwhelming support of the grassroots. On main street he’s the talk everywhere, and it’s mostly positive. The rural folks have found their man. He’s not a partisan person, but is a common sense conservative with a heart. He is the progressive conservative that the common folks have been waiting for. Amazing.

    1. C. Ermle,

      Very well spoken and thank you for posting this! Throw away the political party tags here in South Dakota and really we are just people shaped by our experiences that share many of the same goals and concerns. Common ground can be and is found. These days I identify more as unaffiliated than a moderate Democrat in that there are things I like and dislike about both major political parties. There are Republicans that I have always had a deep respect for and some of which are family members, friends, co-workers and former customers. We need each others perspectives and ideas and competition makes us all better with our state getting better government. I believe Billie Sutton can bridge that gap and work well with what would more than likely be a Republican controlled legislature looking ahead.

  3. C. Ermie,

    I know you want to cheerlead and all but I’d be surprised if his name ID is past 10% so I’m pretty sure he isn’t “the talk everywhere” unless you live in Burke. Nor can hardly identify a significant trait for which the attribute to him except maybe his hat and being a rancher (nice first impression but not all that different from Noem and Jackley either).

    Maybe he’ll turn out to be everything you think him to be but until then your hype just makes you look pollyannish.

  4. I think it’s amazing that after being out of politics for this long Johnson still has that money. There should be a mechanism to return it somehow instead of letting it sit there.

    Still, if a candidate has Johnson’s backing it tells me that person isn’t going to get my vote since Johnson was a socialist like Daschle and didn’t give a hoot about small government or fiscal responsibility.

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