What happened with GOP Senate Leadership elections today? Here’s the list.

While I’ve been in the garage building a piece of furniture to match my bedroom set today, the South Dakota Senate Republicans held caucus elections to determine who would lead the caucus this next legislative session.

So, who got what? Here’s my intel:

  • Gary Cammack of Union Center has been elected to be the new President Pro Tempore.
  • Corey Brown of Gettysburg is the new Majority Leader, moving down from President Pro Temp.
  • Jim White of Huron is the new Assistant Majority Leader
  • Existing Whips are Ernie Otten, Deb Soholt, and added to that list is new Majority Whip Alan Solano of Rapid City

What are your thoughts?

72 thoughts on “What happened with GOP Senate Leadership elections today? Here’s the list.”

  1. I heard it came down to the Governor’s appointees. It was that close for president.

    I can’t complain about any of the winners as they are all top notch. Brown is the best, White is a class act and Cammack is becoming a strong voice in the caucus.

    At the same time I AM a big fan of Greenfield and Holien.

    Too much talent in the GOP. A problem the democrats do not have.

    1. The senators vote by secret ballot and the vote counts are also secret. Even the caucus members don’t know.

      So someone might claim it came down to a couple votes, but no one knows. They might think they had enough votes but they don’t know how senators actually votes.

        1. Well, Mr. Underhill… I was there for a long time, and never once heard a vote count from caucus leadership elections. You must have intel that none of the rest of us had.

            1. Yeah, right… Judging by your posts below, you believe you “know” a lot of things that you really don’t.

  2. Strictly a power play by the Governor, Corey Brown and company. They wanted their people in power positions and they won. They played the politics. I thought it was a little unfair that the Governor got into the senate game by appointing the people he wanted in the Senate. Those appointments tip. the scale of who won the leadership positions. I will say to the powers, no pun on Pat, that be the same thing an old politician said to me. You won the power but you also made some enemies. Be ready to deal with both sides. It will not be fun.

    1. The governor has the constitutional responsibility to fill those vacancies. It seemed to me like he should make those appointments before the caucus vote. Otherwise two people who will be part of the caucus next session would be missing. You want to be confident that the leaders have the support of a majority of the entire caucus.

      1. My point is this Anon, he filled the positions early with HIS people instead of letting it go to a vote of the people of that districts. If that were to happen there is a good bet that both people that the Governor appointed would not have won. Both are liberal on social views. Moderate on fiscal views. Much like the leadership that won.

        1. A vote of the people of the districts? When someone resigns there’s an appointment, no voting. And of course the Governor is going to pick some he prefers, it’s his pick. If you don’t like it then propose a constitutional amendment.

          1. I need to make my point more clear Anon, my fault not yours. Here is my problem, the Governor appoints a social liberal moderate tax view guy. UNLIKE the guy he replaced in the Senate. If he replaces a guy like the one the people voted in November, the vote of the leadership is in my view, very different. Please do not misunderstand me, the Governor and Brown won by playing politics. That is the way the game is played now in Pierre. They won and congrats to them. There was a time in the senate when your word was your bond…….

      1. I agree. But this election today is exactly why Bolin wasn’t appointed. He would have most likely not voted for the candidates the Gov. and Corey wanted. Bolin is a thinker, not a butt-kissing yes-man.

    2. Mr. Underhill,

      You info is flat out wrong. These elections were not as close as you think they were. I have it on good authority.

  3. The best people won. Greenfield is articulate on the floor and committee but philosophically is a divider. Holien doesn’t suffer the deficiency of Greenfield, but perhaps lacks the gravitas of the others.

    1. Holien will be the next Majority Leader when Brown is termed. Holien has a very high ceiling.

      1. Mr. Holien is very young and emotionally he will get tougher time goes on.

    2. Holien may lack the so called gravitas or as I like to call it back stabbing. I would argue that both Greenfield and Holien had the votes to win until the Governor and Senator Brown decided to call an early election in May?

      1. Why is this an “early election”? Why shouldn’t they have leaders in place before the summer studies start?

        1. I need to make my point more clear Anon, my fault not yours. Here is my problem, the Governor appoints a social liberal moderate tax view guy. UNLIKE the guy he replaced in the Senate. If he replaces a guy like the one the people voted in November, the vote of the leadership is in my view, very different. Please do not misunderstand me, the Governor and Brown won by playing politics. That is the way the game is played now in Pierre. They won and congrats to them. There was a time in the senate when your word was your bond…….

    1. Exactly right. Whole team is socially liberal and moderate on taxes. Watch your wallet people……

      1. They are all “conservatives” when it comes time to run for re-election.

        Moderates to the Left, and more moderates to the Left..

      2. I couldn’t disagree with you more. Brown is hardly a liberal. He won Majority Leader unanimously. ALL 27 Republicans voted for him.

        Brown has held every leadership position in the past 5 years. He was simultaneously assistant leader and chairman of appropriations, president pro temp and now unanimously selected to be majority leader of a fractured caucus.

        He gets along with all.

        Don’t forget he was the architect of the 10% budget cuts as chairman of appropriations.

        He makes Tony Venhuizen and his my way or the highway legislation look like an ignoramus. When Daugaard’s policies got refered and defeated Brown was the one who found a way to get it past with a majority support of republicans/democrats and citizens the next session.

        He’s a team player. He gets stuff done. He doesn’t show up to session to wine and complain. He gets stuff done.

        White is liked by all.

        Cammack is new to me. but he seems solid.

        I’m not a fan of Tony Venhuizen. The 3 legislators are good people and so are the ones who lost. ALL OF THEM.

        1. I have it on very good authority that Brown does not get along by all, maybe coming into the 2014 and the 2015 legislature, but not now. The conservative wing of the party, I count 10-12 of them, think he is more interested in accumulating power than conservative viewpoints. This is most relevant in the leadership elections. Holien was not his guy. Cammack was his guy. If he truly got along with everyone why did he convince Cammack to run against Holien? It can also be seen when the house and the senate have meetings to iron out differences in bills.

          Senator Brown’s people won the leadership posts. Congrats to him. He did a very good job of twisting arms and making backroom promises. My point is this Mr. Overkill, he will be coming into a 2016 legislature that is very different than the one in 2015.

          You can write and try to convince me otherwise, but I have first hand sources of these actions. This is not hearsay or rumors.

          Good luck to you Mr. Overkill, Anon and other people.

          1. Brown swings a big stick.

            Too many legislators come to Pierre because they can or because they are at that point in life where it makes sense to run.

            A lot of legislators are just there.

            A bunch of others blame the governor or leadership or other legislators because their dumb legislation doesn’t get passed or because they don’t get elected to leadership.

            Right now we are seeing one of the most successful and intelligent legislators this state has ever had get beat up for being too successful at moving the state forward. How many legislators have served in as many leadership positions in only 8 years? And to be elected by every member of the caucus.

            Some legislators are bringing bills comparing ISIS to Abortion Dr.’s. Some legislators are common core for the suicide epidemic on the reservation. Some are bringing a lot of dumb bills that are not conservative or liberal but dumb.

            There are serious issues in this state and it’s time we elect more Corey Brown’s to Pierre.

            Democrat or Republican we need legislators who get the job done for the constituents in this state and not to a special interest group. Brown does that.

            1. This is the last I will post on this to protect me and others from Senator Brown’s big stick

              This has nothing to do with legislation, (Yes there are some dumb bills and Senator Brown did a nice job of killing them). It has nothing to do with committee posts. It has everything to do with being honest to the people you serve with and represent. I have seen this and witnessed it first hand.

              I will continue to support the Governor and Senator Brown. We still share some views, but my support is considerably weaken by power plays like this one over the past weekend.

              Good Luck Senator Brown and Governor. Both of you wanted the power over the legislature. This is the leadership you wanted and you got it. Be careful what you wish for because it may come true……

    2. What exactly constitutes “liberal” these days in SD?

      Many of the self proclaimed conservatives are really libertarians or anarchists who don’t realize the difference when making wild accusations.

  4. Underhill is right, this was dirty politics by Brown / Daugaard. It is sad to see the Senate drifting to the left. A lot of pressure was put on some Senators and votes were counted and promised ahead of time. Of course they know if it was close. A team of 3 of the Senators who are not running generally counts the votes. White is a limp-wristed moderate. A nice guy but not a leader. Cammack? It’s sad to see a first-year Senator with this much power with all the more seasoned and more deserving potential candidates. These two were hand picked by Brown/ Daugaard because they knew they could manipulate and control them. Greenfield and Holein were too honest / conservative/ independent to win the king’s blessing. This a sad day for SD. Sure, Brown won his spot because he was unopposed. But like the previous poster said- he may have won but he gained some enemies. The power has gone to Brown’s head, I will no longer trust him.

    1. If what is being said is true and Brown was backing White and Cammack and Salono then holy crap he is even more influential in the caucus then he is getting credit for. He outsmarted and out maneuvered everyone else in the caucus on these elections.

      Brown, White, Cammack and Salono all won. Brown single handedly defeated everyone of the opposition…

      How can one man named Brown have so much power and influence in a caucus of his peers? It must be because he is well respected and has a finger on the pulse of what is happening.

      I’m actually impressed if he was the reason all four of them were elected. I have no problem with Greenfield and Holien. Love them both.

  5. Didn’t see one post claiming those who won were good Republicans. Plenty admiration for political maneuvering of Brown and Daugaard.

    Brown and Daugaard orchestrated increases in government, tax/fee increases, stopped good gun bills, opposed religious freedom bills, and insulated State policies pushing transgender/LGBT onto SD HS athletics. Those are accomplishments that any Democrat would be proud of, not Republicans.

    1. The fact that they are good Republicans goes without saying. 70% of voters supported Daugaard for reelection. Brown went unopposed in the primary and general in District 23.

      We can disagree once in a while but that doesn’t mean anyone is a bad person or bad republican.

      It means the complainers need to hunker down and get smarter or else they can continue to sit in the back of the room, be ineffective and complain.

      It looked to me that the GOP caucus could not go wrong with all of the good candidates offering themselves up for leadership.

      Complaining about how your loss is someone else’s fault reminds me of a liberal more than a conservative.

  6. The people that post anonymously have no balls and certainly no credibility. I appreciate reading your opinions, but they are only meaningful when you have the guts to sign your name.

    1. Don’t you have some more liberal Common Core to shove down SD Parents’ throats?

      It doesn’t take a name to factually state that Daugaard, Brown, Cammack, and you.. raised taxes/fees, increased govt, and killed good gun bills.

      Records any Democrats would be proud of.

      It doesn’t take balls to post your name to your comments, it takes balls to vote like an actual Republican amongst so many damn rinos. Something you appear to be seriously lacking in.

      1. Fred is a class act and a good man. Being a jerk does not advance your ideas.

        1. I am sorry Fred, how ignorant of us Republicans too expect elected Republicans to actually vote like Republicans.

          Your feelings are what’s really important, PLEASE, keep voting like a liberal Democrat. SDGOP platform, Republican principles are secondary to what moderates want.

        2. “Fred [Deutsch] is a class act and a good man.”

          Deutsch’s assertion that people who post anonymously “have no balls” may be the least classy comment on this post.

      2. Deutsch is the guy that took down Kathy Tyler. For that reason alone, he’ll forever be a rock star in my book.

    2. Rep. Deutsch, your point is valid. However to protect myself and my sources from the Governor and Senator Brown I chose to be anonymously.

  7. EB-5 went down on Brown’s watch and he did nothing but stonewall getting the taxpayers’ money back from the crooks, who were selling citizenship. He is nothing more than a shill for the Governor’s Office, which once had some promise, but will probably go down as the biggest tax and spend, liberal administration the state has ever had. Kniep didn’t accomplish as much as Daugaard has for the left. Obama and Daugaard have great legacies– they both better get common core fully implemented before they leave, or the history books might just tell the truth about their tenures.

      1. Yes, tell “Anon” who you are so they can go after you for daring to oppose the rinos.

        1. sounds like whoever it was that told weiland what a great strategy eb-5 would be for him.

  8. Lots of politics in play, no doubt.

    That said, to suggest our two new Senators had some agreement with the Governor to vote a certain way in this leadership election is to suggest they already violated their oath of office. I still believe that stuff doesn’t happen here.

    Congrats to them both and the new leadership.

    1. Didn’t you trade Daugaard your vote on his 1234 illegal omnibus education bill?

      1. Trade for what? A bonus? Political favors? Haven’t seen a payoff yet. You are clueless and have no idea how impossible it would be to buy my vote.

        1. Weren’t you the legislator who said it was his “least favorite bill?” and yet you flipped that public position to supporting the governor’s omnibus bill (aren’t omnibus bills against SD’s Constitution?).

          Didn’t Daugaard deliver campaign support and endorsements for you?

          If not for favor, why did you switch your position on the bill?

          1. Daugaard wrote checks that next year to a number of us who had tough races. It’s offensive and ignorant to say they were tied to a certain vote. I asked Dusty Johnson that next fall to see if he could get the governor to write an endorsement for a mailer for me. I did the same with Thune. Both were happy to write something. Daugaard was not endorsing me in the sense that he stepped into other elections that year. Again, no connection to some vote I cast.


            That link is to my vote rationale and why I said it was my least favorite bill. Being asked to decide in 38 days the best way to incentive teachers was not a position I enjoyed being in.

            1. Steve H.,

              I’ve seen you in Pierre and have viewed and participated in the legislative process for many years. You are thoughtful in your review of bills and the corresponding votes to be cast. You are, however, at best naïve to think that Dusty & the Gov’nr would have supported your campaign if you wouldn’t have (at least) flipped on 1234. Ever notice that the Gov does NOT give campaign contributions or endorsements to ALL Repubs. Why do you suppose that is??? Suffice it to say, if they think it might help sway you on this issue or that issue, they’re going to plan to cut you a check for some campaign monies. If you generally don’t line up with them and their plans, you won’t be seeing their campaign check or their endorsements. Cmon, you know you’ve heard the age old phrase of a Governor ‘calling in his markers.’ What did/do you think a ‘marker’ is from a Gov. who can manage 69% approval numbers? Wake-up & smell the coffee sir.

              1. Perhaps I’m naive and can’t judge the governors motives in who he supports and doesn’t and why. What I can say is there was never any conversation about me getting his support and me voting on this or any other bill.

    2. Technical question. Had the two new Senators actually been sworn by a Supreme Court Justice before voting in the caucus election, or did they just let them vote because the Gov had named them, and they’d agreed to serve, knowing they’d be “officially sworn in later”? Also, Rep. Hickey, you should know by now that the Gov. does whatever he wants to. AG Jackley IS NOT the chief law enforcement officer for the State, he IS the chief defense attorney for the Administration, no matter what.

  9. “Some legislators are bringing bills comparing ISIS to Abortion Dr.’s. Some legislators are [blaming] common core for the suicide epidemic on the reservation. Some are bringing a lot of dumb bills that are not conservative or liberal but dumb. There are serious issues in this state and it’s time we elect more Corey Brown’s to Pierre.”

    The beheading of a child in the womb is a serious issue, and the psychological impact of high-stakes testing on young children is a serious issue.

    Brown’s dismissive attitude toward such “dumb” views—and toward the “dumb” legislators who seek to address them—is a troubling indicator of his arrogance.

    1. Was Latterell going to accomplish anything with his bill or was he just seeking publicity and grandstanding?

      Some legislators are pro-life and intelligent about trying to stop rampant abortion and others get ridiculed by left wing blogs for bringing legislation that doesn’t do a thing but damage the pro-life movement. The beheading bill is one of those bills that hurt the cause. Many staunch pro-life advocates told him that and he still brought it and made a mockery of the issue. It is a serious issue and it requires serious people to be leaders on the issue. That was not a serious act by a legislator.

    2. I watched Jim Bolin, Dan Kaiser and Roger Hunt do a lot of good work to stop Common Core this session and then I saw Elizabeth May stand up and say something dumb that became the headline. Sometimes legislators need to think about how what they say and do will hurt or help the cause. She hurt the cause. She made it easy for the pro common core crowd to say those opposed are nuts.

      Disanto hurt her cause when she accused most of her colleagues of being Democrats or RINO’s. It’s a dumb statement that is emotionally charged.

  10. There are some people who don’t like getting dismissed as irrelevant. They have become totally jokes.

  11. I appreciate Steve Hickey’s responses. I especially like the fact that he has the courage to post under his real name. Pat, would you consider making it mandatory to post with your real name?

  12. The rinos always preach a surrender “strategy”.

    Raising taxes/fees, creating more govt, killing good gun bills, opposing efforts to stop abortion? How is Disanto not correct in her statement?

    The joke is defending the indefensible. If it was up to these rinos? We’d still have slavery.

  13. To all of the people who think leadership elections were close. They were NOT.

    Two Senators were not in attendance. Had they been there they would have both voted for Jim White for assistant. I don’t know how they would have voted for president buy I suspect at best it would have been a draw.

    Those who say it was close are exaggerating.

    1. So the senate overwhelmingly elected a bunch of liberals and moderates to lead it (AGAIN). Is that supposed to make Republicans happy?

      So we can expect more tax/fee increases, more government, more gun rights bills killed, more pro-life bills killed, etc., effectively more Democratic dominance?

      1. All I’m saying is that Mr. Underhill has no idea what he is talking about. They were not close.

  14. I am sitting here laughing at the words “they( the elections) were not close.” Do you realize that by saying that, you just admitted what a put up deal the election was? You knew how the absent people were going to vote ahead of time because that is what you said. You admitted the corruption that goes on by saying that. For shame.

  15. Wow,

    An alternative theory of why the elections weren’t close is becuase the majority view/wishes of the individual caucus members are similar. And, according to lex parsimoniae (law of parsimony and commonly called Occam’s razor), this is most often right. In fact, in Vegas one who bets on the long shot is called a sucker.

    By the way, a person who is a conspiracist is exhibiting traits which could indicate the mental disorder commonly called paranoia. This is a treatable disorder so don’t add that to your mental condition (which getting some sun usually helps).

  16. Troy Jones, So what you are saying is that anyone who dares to question the system is a conspiracy theorist with a mental condition?? Guess the people in your corner just go around spreading rose petals and painting blue sky….so what is done for that ideological mental condition?

  17. Wow,

    BY the way, I am one who wanted a person who ran and did not win. I think Holien brought some skills and differences that would have enhanced the caucus and leadership.

    By definition, your assertion that the results were fixed by power brokers is a conspiracy theory. A person who asserts it is a conspiracist. Conspiracists more often exhibit paranoia traits than conspiracies often occur. These are facts.

  18. Only an absolute dumbass, or a lackey sycophant, would claim Daugaard & Brown did not orchestrate the installation of these damn tax, spend, increase government, oppose gun rights, kill pro-life bills RINOs!

    Having clowns in office like this? That ruin the Republican brand?

    Great strategy! It worked so well nationally for the last 12 years!

  19. Here is the thing you don’t understand about elections:

    People have preferences. You have one. I have one. The winners and the losers have one.

    It’s ok to have a preference and it doesn’t mean anything nefarious went on. It’s called a preference.

    Personally the fact that you are on the side of those who lost would taint my perception of them if I didn’t know them personally and know how great of guys they are.

    You are hurting your cause and through association tarnishing the images of those you support by being vitriolic. The people you wanted to win the leadership races would not talk to or treat people the way you are speaking.

    Class it up a bit and you will go much further and so will your crew.

    1. I am on the side of the GOP. That needs to be clarified for the many establishment cronies that believe the Daugaard political machine and GOP are synonymous. What I mean by my statement is that I support the limited government, conservative principles of the GOP, not the tax, spend, create more government , anti-conservative agenda (CCSS, anti-gun rights, anti-prolife bills, etc) of Daugaard and his cronies.

      Absolute liberal BS to attack Republicans for complaining about weak “Republicans” gaining more power in a supposed Super-majority “Republican” legislature that votes more like Democrats than Republicans!

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