More SDGOP chatter & gossip. Ah. Maybe that’s why Haugaard was speaker to Butte Co. GOP Lincoln Day Dinner.

Spending a number of late afternoons out on the road, connecting people with their campaign materials, I’m hearing quite a bit of interesting chatter and gossip on what’s happening in the hinterlands of the South Dakota Republican Party. And a few surprising items of chatter and gossip are bubbling up to the surface.

Word is that the Patriot Ripple Effect group still clings to life, and claims to be trying to raise money to run their candidates. After founder Dave Roetman went to North Dakota to be the NDGOP’s executive director… and then quickly wasn’t.. the group had a flurry of activity, but has been publicly dead silent for the last couple of months.

Along those lines, there was chatter that the group internally told members they found a PUC candidate, and supposedly noted that State Rep. Karla Lems intends to run for that seat against incumbent PUC Commissioner Kristie Fiegen at the Republican Convention. And they identified Lems as being their candidate. It’s not outside of the realm of possibility, as we’re reminded that she was the cash behind Rep. Kevin Jensen’s PAC support of Steve Haugaard in the last Gubernatorial primary.  And don’t forget that Lems has always as shown a willingness to attack solid GOP officeholders, as aside from funding Jensen’s big anti-Noem donation, she was one of the founding members of the anti-Thune “Primary John Thune” facebook group.

The bigger problem for Lems, should she choose to run, would be the fact she’d find herself disqualified on literally every piece of pipeline related matters on the PUC docket.  Just as in 2022 when Democrat Public Utilities Commission candidate Jeff Barth seemingly disqualified himself from CO2 pipeline hearings at the onset of his race from his public pipeline statements, Lems has been a very vocal and public pipeline hater, which is a definite no no in running to be a quasi-judicial hearing officer.  Not to mention that I’m told she may already have a gas or other pipeline with an easement running across land she is associated with.

We’ll know more on that rumor as convention approaches.

The other rumor I heard on the road refers back to the previously mentioned unsuccessful Gubernatorial & Lt. Governor candidate Steve Haugaard. Again rumor, but supposedly there is a plan in effect among many of the disaffected and RINO factions of the SDGOP who are focused on conquest of the party. What I’m told is that their intent is to make South Dakota Republican Party Chair John Wiik’s job as state party chair so miserable that he will not run again. And then with a divided party rudderless and leaderless next February, this faction believes that Haugaard will be able to swoop in and capture the flag as SDGOP chair at the next party election.

Yeah… great plan there. Oust the people who are trying with the 20%-ers who can’t win. 

Of course, the problem with that is as of late, the party is putting it’s foot down on some of these rebel players who are trying to wreck the SDGOP, and telling them where the door is.

The other problem is that while there are those who may be scheming for an internal coup, the track record of some of these guys is atrocious.

Such as in Minnehaha County, where the Chair and Vice Chair are definitely part of the oppositional factions trying to sow chaos. But, in their first at-bat, they have been staggeringly awful, where they left 2 of 4 city council seats uncontested after they promised “to recruit good candidates.”  For the one new candidate, Richard Thomason, the Minnehaha County GOP organization has been struck mute, unable to help with any election related activities, and came out of round 1 spending their time promoting a discussion on Article V: Convention of States.

Literally, they’ve been saying nothing and doing nothing about their talk about candidates. And now we seem to be headed towards a runoff election for Thomason with the Minnehaha GOP doing all the same. I’m sure R. Shawn Tornow and Jennifer Foss will show up to eat snacks at someone’s watch party, because that’s all they seem to be good for.. watching while others do the work of getting people elected.

That’s kind of the problem with these guys.

I’ve privately told candidates on more than one occasion that local party groups can either be an asset or an obstacle. They may work in synergy with candidates in providing opportunities and volunteers and helping them raise votes, and possibly even money. OR they might be just into themselves too much, doing little to nothing, except parasitically shaking down candidates for money for Lincoln Day Dinner program ads and doing nothing in return.  It’s up to the individual county groups what kind of organization they want to be, and candidates can organize their activities accordingly.

If we’re to believe the rumors, it’s a lot more of people trying to do their best to upset the apple cart because they want to be in charge. Well, good luck with that.

Remember. Asset or obstacle. Obstacles can simply be gone around.

15 thoughts on “More SDGOP chatter & gossip. Ah. Maybe that’s why Haugaard was speaker to Butte Co. GOP Lincoln Day Dinner.”

  1. it figures these people would want someone on the PUC who has already disqualified herself from doing what the PUC does

  2. The trouble with using useful idiots to acquire a position of prestige or power is that they expect you to live up to their insanerest expectations.

    If Lems gets to the PUC, her supporters will be incensed when she recuses herself from any matter involving eminent domain and a privately owned utility. She isn’t just opposed to pipelines for CO2, oil & natural gas, she is opposed to telecommunications, electricity, and even some water systems. She has stated as much.

    If Haugaard becomes chairman of the SDGOP, his supporters will become incensed when he publicly supports the full slate of Republican candidates, as he must, in a general election. He will have to do TV and radio interviews about how great they all are, no matter who they are. This was, after all, what he was prepared to do when he got the idea to be Noem’s running mate, he wanted to hit the campaign trail so he could extol her accomplishments.

    None of these people know what they are doing.

    1. Lems is worth big dollars. If she wants to self fund a race for governor she could do it. She’s not running for PUC.

      1. But do we want a governor who is opposed to infrastructure developments like natural gas, electricity, telecommunications, or even treated water?

    2. What’s needed in our next GOP chair: someone respected by all Republican blocs, east and west, establishment and right wing, wealthy donors and grassroots. The chair must be smart, organized, energetic & responsive. The ideal chair is a servant leader who delights in helping talented candidates succeed but has no personal aspiration to become governor. With due respect to Sen. Wiik and former Sen. Lederman, the ideal party chair is not (simultaneously) a leading legislator, as each role demands too much time for anyone to perform both optimally. The chair should be a proven fundraiser as well as someone who puts in the hours returning calls and texts from central committee members, even those with whom the chair disagrees ideologically. Steve Haugaard is an intelligent, patriotic man. He’s a good father and grandfather. He’s NOT a consensus builder who can unite our divided party. I fear his election would drive away donors and centrist voters, creating opportunities for George Soros funded dems to win office here.

      But if not Haugaard then who? Imagine yourself at a Republican event, seeking the chair. Don’t look up on stage, that’s for candidates. Don’t look off in the corner, where politically “pure” cliques sit apart, frowning and judging. Don’t look among the laptop jockeys camped in some executive suite, tracking the latest polls. Look instead for a dynamic individual, working the whole room, greeting each Republican– not just millionaires and party luminaries but also the blue collar dads, the suburban moms, the farmers, ranchers, retirees, veterans, college kids, and feisty grandmas without whom our movement dies. Look for a tireless worker who arrives early and stays late, willing to engage, thank, and embrace every single volunteer and voter. Look for a creative, media savvy, happy warrior who never stops fighting. That’s your chair.

      1. dream on. Nobody can be a consensus builder when one faction throws tantrums and wants to destroy the party when they don’t get everything they want.
        We saw that in ’22 when nearly half the convention delegates publicly declared they did not support the full slate of Republican candidates, and then came back the next day and tried to make Steve Haugaard Kristi Noem’s running mate.
        The only reason they went to the convention was to destroy the SDGOP as revenge for their chosen candidates’ primary losses. They even tried to empty the party’s treasury into their own pockets!

        No party chairman can work with people like that. There will always be primary winners and losers. A faction that wants to destroy the party every time a chosen candidate loses a primary needs to be removed.

        1. If you’re saying it’s unrealistic to imagine the next chairman could unite the entire party – meaning unite every single registered Republican – then I must reluctantly agree: you’re right. But if you deny that anyone could improve upon the status quo, then I happily disagree. We could, in 2025, build a stronger, broader coalition, one wherein 70-80 percent of SD Republicans feel welcome and valued. It’s not a zero sum game. There are important policy points on which pro-business centrists and cultural conservatives share common ground. The people destroying America profess a lunatic ideology – they believe six impossible things before breakfast. We need to oppose and defeat the DEI zealots, the Biden apologists, and the “useful idiots” who’ve ruined so many of our nation’s once-great cities. We need to protect children from deranged predators, traffickers, and groomers. While some of these fiends live here, most live in Blue States. Those who despise traditional American values are not attending our convention. But instead of fighting evil, we’ve been tricked into fighting SD neighbors, overwhelmingly good-hearted, patriotic people who respect police, revere God, and cherish the Constitution.

          1. What makes you think we want to be unified with people whose mission is the destruction of the SDGOP?

            What we saw in ’22 was a faction declaring themselves to be the only “true” conservatives and everybody else RINOs.
            In April of that year, Randy Seiler, the only possible candidate the Democrats had for AG, announced he would not run if the Republicans nominated Marty Jackley.
            “whew!” we thought, “that’s one race we won’t have to spend time or money on, we’ll be able to focus our resources on other races.”
            We thought this was such a benefice for the party we were unprepared for the lunatics hell-bent on losing elections.

            We went to Watertown, and the first thing up was the rules committee, where they tried to bankrupt the party by emptying the treasury into their own pockets. They wanted us to stiff the venue for the cost of the convention.

            Then they gathered to announce they would not support the ticket, wanted the SDGOP to disavow its own slate of candidates. They almost won that vote.

            They followed up that performance by boycotting the main fund-raising event of the week, the Governor’s Dinner. They REALLY don’t want to support the party financially.
            Then going into the Saturday session, the destructive faction declared that the best thing for the party would be to lose the AG seat to the Democrats. They wanted to nominate Natvig, whose connection to the Ravnsborg scandal was his Achilles heel. Having failed to bankrupt the party by taking the money for themselves, they wanted to bankrupt the party with an expensive race for AG.

            They got the SOS nomination they wanted, (and it’s been fun to watch that plan come around to bite them) but then they tried to sabotage the Governor’s race by giving her a running mate who seemed incapable of saying anything nice about her.

            We don’t want to work with these people;
            we aren’t interested in being united with people whose objective is total destruction.

          2. “We could, in 2025, build a stronger, broader coalition, one wherein 70-80 percent of SD Republicans feel welcome and valued.”

            Haugaard might be the LAST person that could or would even want to accomplish that.

  3. Mr. Haugaard’s flirtation with fame and political glory leads this state nowhere, but to rack and ruin. It’s time to confront him, tell him to get in step with the Party Leadership, and then, without controversy, the Party can move ahead to victories in the Fall election. Whether he’s a long to celebrate that victory depends on his compliance with Party Rules. If he and his cohorts choose to continue their insurgency, they should be disenfranchised by the Party. We can do without them.

    1. Ms. Lems is very pretty, but her brain is not up to the snuffs. Mr. Haugaard is but a shadow of the real boogeyman, Mr. Howie, the insanest of them all. Do you know who they send to rid us of the boogeyman?

      John Wiik

  4. I keep coming back here to see if Grudz will weigh in on the insanerisms.

    Should somebody do a wellness check?

    1. grudznick was only temporarily prostrated by the agonies I am again able to breakfast, and I appreciate your concerns. Bacon wrapped bacon pulled me through my dark stretch.

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