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.

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

  1. Remember: just because someone is sitting in a seat doesn’t mean they paid full-price…. if they paid at all. There’s a very good chance the Minnehaha GOP lost money on that event.

  2. Why would any Republican legislator give money to R. Shawn Tornow, so that he can turn around and use it to fund their primary challengers?

    It’s shocking that Tornow wouldn’t make the promise because it should just be standard practice. When is the last time any state or county party spent party money in a primary? Should. Never. Happen.

    The Minnehaha GOP is being run by people who couldn’t coordinate a one-car parade.

  3. Some years ago, the state supreme court issued an opinion openly criticizing Sioux falls city attorney R. Shawn Tornow for LYING to his client the city commissioner.

    Them spots don’t change. We will see it over and over.

    Amazing how he and a few pals have gutted the Minnehaha GOP. I am sure they think its a victory…..because they utterly fail to understand that in a republic, its the votes. You can take over party power, but you get killed in the general election.

    1. “You can take over party power, but you get killed in the general election.”

      Don’t kid yourself. This is SD where people vote R regardless of who is running the local party. You are giving SD voters too much credit. Those crazies will get through just like they have already.

  4. Dysfunction = Tornow

    Mr. Kolbeck is a pretty swell fellow. Too bad that group chooses to implode instead of listening to Mr. Kolbeck.

    Tornow = Dysfunction. Plus, he’s kinda funny looking.

  5. As I read thru these comments I see a bunch of statements that seems to miss the mark on the actual dinner… To condemn a beautiful n very revitalizing event such as the Lincoln Day Dinner is sad. The hours n efforts made by the committee and their volunteers to put on a professional event is grueling… with the Biden economy things are a bit more expensive then past years… so when a venue is picked… there’s reasons!!!

    The Lincoln Day Dinner was a great success and it was in a beautiful SD inspired location.., NOT a hotel… with many seasoned politicians and new people there … to be inspired n motivated moving into 2024!
    Nehls was perfectly poised and talked about many important topics! The overall feel of the event was to have the gathering of like minded individuals to share ideas n thoughts and support each other in their personal journeys… to step up n be a part of grassroots movements and work together to get more solutions! In Minnehaha County n across the state..,
    my opinion may or may not matter but… Maybe just maybe we can understand we’re all South Dakotans connected by our conservative convictions not separated by our personal opinions…A house divided against itself, cannot stand!!! That’s the lesson of LINCOLN DAY DINNER
    Let’s focus on A Red SD county!!!

    1. Oh man, I forgot they invited a fringe U.S. Rep as their keynote…the guy who says he is going to nominate Trump for Speaker of House. Because MAGA is all a cult of personality, no matter how morally depraved the personality being worshipped is.

      No wonder those of us who have attended LDDs for years no longer have any interest.

    2. So…. Which board member are you, Anonymous 9:17? I’m guessing Vice-Chair Jennifer Fuoss.

    3. “The Lincoln Day Dinner was a great success.”

      I notice that the previous commenter did not use Republican once in all three paragraphs of their overly long diatribe. Very telling right there. I will reserve judgment until I see what the end of year report looks like.

      “Great success?” Middling at best.

    4. “… Maybe just maybe we can understand we’re all South Dakotans connected by our conservative convictions not separated by our personal opinions…A house divided against itself, cannot stand!!!”.

      Too bad your own board doesn’t believe that. Tornow’s disruptive, divisive behavior at the SDGOP central committee did not support the “one unified party” … not do his attacks on the SDGOP and the previous Minnehaha GOP board, which he levies at every Minnehaha central committee meeting. Brummet helped Tornow record the SDGOP central committee meeting last month against Wiik’s explicit instruction that the meeting was to be confidential. Fuoss gave a accusatory, divisive speech when nominating Steve Haugaard to run against Larry Rhoden at the SDGOP convention last year. Pischke……. Well, you get the point.

      The Minnehaha board does want a unified party — as long as the party only consists of the fringe people they like and they’re unifying behind them. That board won’t even has the gall to ask legislators to donate to them when they won’t even pledge not to turn around and use that money to give an unfair advantage to fringe candidates running against them in a primary! Thats not divisive, it’s really underhanded!

      So please— get off your soapbox, you hypocrite.

    5. If you’re so concerned with the Biden economy, why did you set the price at $75 — just about the most expensive Lincoln Day Dinner I’ve ever seen? If your costs are so high you have to hike up the price that much, maybe you should have made other plans. Literally every other county that had a LDD this year has charged less — and they face the same Biden economy you did, but without the advantages that come with being the biggest county in the state.

      1. anonymous at 8:07 so you think $75 is a lot?
        First thought that crossed my mind on reading your complaint: “must be one of those precinct committee people who didn’t know the job was going to cost them money.”

        pay up, sucker!

  6. Odd,very Odd. The purpose of a Lincoln Day Dinner is to bring together the rank and file, with the Leadership and Party elected officials, celebrate our success, focus our energies on the challenges ahead and close the ranks, accept the diversity of opinion that naturally occurs, and forge ahead to an election victory across the board. None of that seems to have happened. There are people in Leadership positions who can not stand prosperity. Very Odd.

  7. The county party is such an embarrassment. I live on the Minnehaha side of 57th street and would much prefer to align with Lincoln County GOP.

  8. Tornow would consider it a compliment to be compared to Gaetz (who is just the Republican dumber version of the Dems AOC).

  9. I heard there were as many people from outside the county, such as Tonchi Weaver, JFM, Phil Jensen, as there were people there. Which means the crowd from Minnehaha was even smaller than estimated.

    1. If Weaver, Frye-Mueller and Jensen were in attendance, that suggests maybe stupidity is contagious, after all. Glad I skipped it.

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