Intra-caucus politics set to get more interesting for GOP in wake of caucus elections (Part 1 – The Senate)

With the election of the Senate’s new leadership team, and as the House’s caucus elections approach, there’s some inside baseball occurring in the background. And a lot of it has some relation to Rapid City politics – both long running factional goofiness and what took place in this last election.

For the more recent, focus on the postcard where four sitting Republicans endorsed independent Brian Gentry over the Republican Jessica Castleberry in the General Election District 35 Senate Race. For many Republicans, especially legislators, that was particularly egregious.

In the Senate, while they were delivering checks for caucus support for both Julie Frye-Mueller and Jessica Castleberry, JFM turns around and attacks Castleberry by endorsing Jessica’s opponent. That’s a huge no-no.

In the primary, support who you want. There might be some hurt feelings and potential repercussions, but it is generally considered to be “a family dispute.” But in the general, if you’re a Republican candidate, and you’re off supporting Democrats or Independents, or whatever… well, that’s going to come back and bite you in the rear.

Senator-elect Julie Frye Mueller crossed party lines and supported the opponent of one of her now fellow caucus members at the same time she was trying to put out her own fire when people were being encouraged to cross party lines to support her own opponent, Libertarian & former Republican Gideon Oakes.

Julie groused about the possibility of people going over party lines. But the difference is that while Julie crossed the line in D35, people didn’t do it in her race. In other words, it was a whole lot of “do as I say, not as I do.”

Expect that there will be repercussions for Frye-Mueller, because at the least, she’s proven herself to be a quisling. And really, why would Senator Castleberry feel comfortable talking strategy at a table with someone who just finished endorsing her opponent?

But it doesn’t end there. Because there’s three others who crossed party lines in the general election, and they’re in the House. And there’s a whole lot more going on there.

(That’s coming in part 2)

27 thoughts on “Intra-caucus politics set to get more interesting for GOP in wake of caucus elections (Part 1 – The Senate)”

  1. None of the four have any brains. I’m just glad Lizzy and Sam were smart enought to stay out of the fray.

    1. Gideon Oakes was a much better candidate than Frye-Mueller, but he got just under 30 percent of the vote due to decades of major-party smears against South Dakota Libertarians. Meanwhile the longest-serving Democrat in the Wyoming state legislature was unseated by Libertarian Marshall Burt in a nine-point upset that several media outlets called “stunning,” and Wyoming Libertarian Bethany Baldes lost a two-way race against the Republican house majority leader by a mere 53 votes, 1,645 to 1,592.

      1. “Major party smears against Libertarians?” I think those “smears” are self-inflicted.

        Half are productive human beings. But there are so many chuckleheads.

        1. Unless you’re recognizing South Dakota Libertarians as a third major party, it’s logically impossible for us to inflict major-party smears against ourselves, and the average South Dakota Libertarian is both more productive and more intelligent than the average major-party member.

          Since the links accompanying my previous comment (@2:08) have apparently been removed, I’d like to clarify that the razor-thin loss by Bethany Baldes to the Republican majority leader was in 2018.

          1. the practical truth of the matter is that everything on the planet always reduces down to its basic level: the vast joined coalitions of “US” versus the vast joined coalitions of “THEM.” voters understand this, and they look at libertarians and fear that the libertarian doesn’t understand this. or so it seems.

    2. This is a response to “enquirer” (@2:11).

      South Dakota Libertarians understand that the “us-versus-them” party spirit is, in the words of George Washington’s farewell address, “inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind”:

      “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge … is itself a frightful despotism… Sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction … turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty… The common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

      “It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It … foments occasionally riot and insurrection… It is a spirit not to be encouraged… The effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it… It demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame …”

      1. i didn’t build the political vehicle, i just know how people start it and drive it if they want to get someplace. your reply to my earlier reply is a more perfect illustration of the disconnect that operates here, than any such anecdote i could share.

        1. The “us-versus-them” party spirit is rooted in basic human nature, and South Dakota Libertarians agree with President Washington that it’s the duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

          You suggest we should just accept it. That’s the disconnect.

  2. I wonder .. is this a token gesture to diffuse perceptions of being surrounded by enemies? Like, after a prize fight, the winner helping the loser up?

    Is this beyond simply reaching across the isle? Was there anything materially that changed as a result of these actions?

  3. Three Republican lawmakers accepted over $1000.00 each from the Pennington Co. Republican Party in media and print ads to support their campaigns.

    The same three publicly supported an independent candidate for SD Senate over a Republican candidate.

    Is this simply a violation of loyalty to their party or does it also speak to their integrity?

  4. Senator Fried Eggs for Brains should get committee assignments like:

    Committee for Bacon Bits
    Committee on Hash Browns

    And most important never get party help again. I am all for renegades and gadfly’s doing their thing. But the hypocrisy of saying stick with party for me while I don’t is walking the plank.

    If she is allowed in caucus, she should be in an adjoining room via zoom. She has to raise her hand to have her mike turned on and her feed can be turned off anytime a full caucus member raises here hand. Her participation is 100% a gift.

    And, whoever has to sit with her on the floor gets a case of wine every week for taking one for the team.

    1. They can tuck Senator Fried Eggs for Brains in a corner with Heinert, Nesiba & Red Dawn Foster. They all had a similar agenda of working to beat Republicans, so they should get along just fine.

  5. If Trump is all you say he is, I wouldn’t consider squeaking by anything to brag about.

    So, are you admitting what you said about Trump is untrue or your candidate is one step above a clown (or whatever adjective you use)?

  6. Are you say those who get kicked out of caucus should be shunned or that people who express their views should not be let into caucus?

    1. It’s like the mafia. Don’t cross the family if you ever want a chance to be the Boss.

    2. Consider it a non-compete clause. You go out of your way to screw the organization that helped to pay for your job, you should expect there are going to be consequences.

  7. Young Mr. Oakes was the better candidate. Frye-Mueller is among the insanest of all and those in our District numbered 30 who voted for her should be ashamed. Ashamed and lashed.

    1. until oakes runs as a republican (or a democrat) he just won’t get a lot of votes. that is the way it is. don’t yell at me, i didn’t create this system.

      1. I’m not yelling, but Marshall Burt got well over 50 percent of the vote as a Libertarian in Wyoming, and when you suggest it will never be possible in South Dakota, you actually do help to create the system under which it will take longer to make it possible.

  8. Her opponent in the primary was a highly respected, eminently qualified Air Force Academy grad & Hot Springs Mayor George Kotti. Sadly most did not research the candidates to learn of what an amazing opportunity to move a highly qualified, educated individual into that seat with a vote for Kotti. The Pennington Co Rep party needs to start today recruiting Kotti to run against Mueller and start educating the public in concerted ways as to the enormous value he would bring to the SD legislature.

  9. Schoenbeck went after Wismer with postcards. He said Wismer can’t get anything done, and a seat is a terrible thing to waste. Schoenbeck was right and the people listened.

    Now, the same thing can be said for these dirty-four Republicans. Can anyone imagine a fellow Republican legislator helping one of these dirty-four to pass a bill? Cosponsor a bill? Stand on the Floor in support of one of them? The poor people these dirty-four legislators represent are essentially screwed. A seat is a terrible thing to waste.

  10. Right on J. George Kotti is by far the most qualified, dedicated and approachable person for the Dist. 30 Senate job. He truly cares about the district – the whole district – not just a little slice where JFM lives and breathes. To this day, I have no clue what is wrong with the Dist. 30 voters (they all should be ashamed). What a waste of a legislative seat (as per anon) – Dist. 30 will get zero effort or representation from its newly elected Senator. All the District will get is conspiracy theories and lame, go – nowhere legislation that will never pass while eating up valuable legislative time. The Pennington County Republican Party and the SD GOP need to take all of these folks to the woodshed, like the days of old. If you can’t play nice (or at least sort of) and by the rules, you shouldn’t be allowed to be part of the team and you certainly shouldn’t be getting any financial support – pretty simple.

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