What’s going on with some of the county Republican organizations, as they just ignore what the state party position is?

In the run up to the Senate Bill 201 debate today, there’s been a bit of interesting traffic on social media from county Republican organizations.

Interesting, as GOP breakaway groups are supporting attacks on the compromise legislation that was created by the House and Senate Republican majority leaders:

I know I’m likely missing a few, but these are party groups that are organized under the umbrella of the South Dakota Republican Party. At the same time the Republican party itself has adopted no position on Senate Bill 201, much less on carbon capture pipelines.

No Central Committee resolution. No statement of opposition by the executive board. No nothing. Yet, here are these party county groups ignoring the will of the GOP as a whole and directly advocating for the defeat of these bills being led by Republicans.

It’s actually kind of crazy in light of the press release about the recent carbon pipeline survey I posted earlier today which notes:

The South Dakota Ag Alliance released poll results showing a majority (55%) of Republican primary voters support carbon capture pipelines when landowners are given further protections and additional compensation.


Twenty-two percent said no and twenty-three percent were undecided.


So, only 22% of Republicans are actually against the concept. Yet some GOP groups are screaming for the compromise measure’s defeat?

One county, Butte County, has their people posting to other county GOP organizations to make it appear as those other counties oppose the pipeline, when that couldn’t be farther from the truth, as this fringe party organization group hundreds of miles away, sows discontent in the other GOP county groups.

Leaving one to wonder What on earth are they doing? Because they aren’t helping the Republican cause.

As one long-time carrier of water for the elephant noted to me today, “County parties should not be taking positions on such major policies, unless the state party passes a resolution. This will make fundraising for the party even more difficult. They will destroy our party for all at every level. Even good counties will suffer because of guilt by association.

And that’s the problem. The small minority and loud populists who are doing this stuff and trying to push a message they shouldn’t be pushing in the first place don’t care if they choke the Republican party off from long-time supporters and donors who look at this kind of thing and just tap out.

It doesn’t matter to them that they have already damaged the GOP’s ability to raise money from a broad spectrum of supporters for the purpose of helping to win elections. They want to plain put a stake in the party’s heart and alienate anyone who has supported the policy in the past who doesn’t meet their test of ideological purity.

Those former supporters & donors they’ve turned off? They’ve already been finding their way to political action committees to support candidates they align with ideologically. And if anyone is yet still giving, they’ll stop giving GOP groups the time of day when they come around with hat in hand to try to get them put an ad in their annual dinner program, much less support them broadly.

I already know a number of them who take a hard pass on that. This will just accelerate the exodus.

And as these strident attacks drive people away, these runaway groups just don’t care. And it won’t matter.

That is, until they find themselves losing elections and find themselves asking “what happened?”

34 thoughts on “What’s going on with some of the county Republican organizations, as they just ignore what the state party position is?”

  1. You’re exactly right, Pat — they won’t care until they find themselves losing elections and find themselves asking “what happened?” Every day that passes, it gets harder and harder to reverse course and salvage the relationships with donors. It’s close to the point of no return.

    1. You mean the majority of South Dakotan’s, pretty soon we won’t get to vote at all, and these special people can continue to decide everything for us.

  2. If I had a crystal ball, it would show us losing seats this November. If the party doesn’t focus on unifying, raising money, recruiting good candidates and organizing campaign efforts, Democrats will pick up legislative seats.
    Sadly, counties like Butte don’t care- any nut job who wins the primary will get elected in November due to the registration numbers. Minnehaha doesn’t enjoy the same registration numbers and without an organized effort, Democrats will win races. Thanks Tornow!

  3. This sort of thing has been going on for a while.

    Last July 4th, in Brookings, a group showed up to walk with the Republican float in the parade.
    Their purpose in joining was to promote a movie the party hadn’t taken a position on, and at the same time, they refused to be photographed with Dusty Johnson’s team.
    They needed to have a separate parade entry of their own, away from the Brookings County Republicans’ truck.

    It’s strange this needs to be explained to anybody, but there it is.

    1. We just have to be sure that while these morons burn themselves they don’t light us on fire too. Imagine what would happen if half or hell all of the ethanol plants in state shut down because they can’t meet the growing market conditions mandating some sort of sequestration to mitigate their CO2. It would be hell for the small towns that have them and lose the workers and their families, hell for the farmers whose property values crash, the dominoes go on. But these clowns don’t care. They are too small minded and too dumb to realize what they would be doing.

  4. When did the GOP cease to be the party of of local governance and become a top-down hierarchy where local membership are required to fall in line? County party organizations do not exist as subservient entities, allowed only to agree with the state party and forbidden from ever stating the views of their own membership.

    1. Where in the bylaws does it provide for local county organizations to lobby on legislation?

      Given that their existence is as a local sub-unit of the state Republican party, and their job is to recruit and elect candidates, you’re darn tooting there is a subservience to the party.

      Local groups weigh in on policy when the platform is written at convention, and rarely on special occasions the central committee might agree to do so on legislation, reserving that for attacks on the process that affect the GOP existentially as a party. But they do so as a body.

      Or at least they did. Now some of the local groups are skipping the part where they represent all Republicans, and just do what they want.

    2. Anonymous at 6:42 the GOP has ALWAYS been a top-down hierarchy!
      First there was a national party. The national party wanted a network of state parties to carry out its objectives. The state party wanted a network of county parties to do the same work at the local level. It’s always been top down.

      If you want to do something else, form a PAC

  5. It appears from the sponsors of sd201 that the republican leadership has taken a pro-carbon pipeline stance.It appears to some that those leaders are dancing to the lobbyist and big donor music. It appears they are the ones that did not go to the membership before making a big decision for South Dakota republicans..

  6. each passing day brings me a new understanding of why the late william f buckley fought like a badger to keep the voice of the john birch society out of republican leadership and policy.

      1. that’s because none of you take the time to understand “fiscal conservatives”, who used to be an important subset of conservatism. social conservatism has grown to consume the party, by linking arms with a reactionary pitchfork-and-torch army that is fully aggressively anti-political.

        thinkers like mr buckley were vigorous defenders of the two party system and reveled in the art of debate as a means to examine our beliefs and ideas. his ideas and writings inspired people like andrew breitbart to move from leftist radical to conservative firebrand, for instance.

        at the end of the day all I know is this – a brutally stupid term like “uni-party”, used to dismiss and shut down the two party system, would not have ever been said by him in any kind of supportive way.

        1. Oh please enquirer, you can’t call yourself a fiscal conservative and support the insane spending/money laundering in Ukraine. You’re a joke.

          1. up until trump said it was a scam, the u-s commitment to nato and our promises to neighbor nations like ukraine had weight and meaning. i can’t help that you trump fans have the memory span of a goldfish. prior to MAGA’s isolationist tantrums, conservatism was solidly behind honoring our alliances and promises.

            1. Yes of course — fiscal conservatism takes a back seat to neocon warmongering. It’s not the 1980s anymore gramps.

          2. Dollar for dollar supporting Ukraine is cheaper than if we ever directly went against Russia. Most of the funds return to the US as arms purchases you know right? You do know that the funds are used to restock whatever arms are sent to Ukraine right? Russia has been the spiritual enemy of the free world since 1921 (some would say earlier but that’s a different debate), and if we can put the bear in its place for good why not now?

            Just to head off a why some in the GOP love Russia now no Putins regime is not based and trad. Russia has the highest rates in Europe (and in a few the world) for juvenile aids, divorce, rape, child porn production, abortion, low Church attendance, and no freedom of speech.

                1. you’re the last person who should be mentioning your boyfriend putin. which i know is also the name on the back of your belt.

  7. Putin has announced that his goal in Ukraine is to reinstate the USSR, conquer the free countries which left the USSR to establish their own democracies and reconquer the former satellites in Europe, including the Baltic States, Poland, and add Finland to their domain. He must be stopped.

  8. Anonymous at 11:48, WRONG.
    The county parties DO NOT exist to represent the interests of their county’s party members. It’s a top down model similar to the military. The people at the top set the strategy, or goals, and communicate this down the ranks to the people who carry out the tactics. This is laid out in the job descriptions.

    “The singular focus of the County Party is to get Republicans elected to office in their state. All activities should be subordinate to this objective and any activities that do not contribute to winning elections are nothing but a distraction.”

    The precinct committee people work under the supervision of the county chairman, who in turn represents the interests of the state party at the local level. “The County Party Chairman leads the Republican Party and clearly communicates goals and missions to the membership…(and) will ensure there is a clear strategy and understanding of the tasks at hand.”

    Do that need to be repeated? The county parties exist to get Republicans elected. The End.

  9. Is it not the the county party precinct captains and the people they elect that determine the platform? And if the leadership betrays them do not they have the right of free speech to protest? Does not the rank and file elect the precinct captains? Sounds like a representative democracy to me.

  10. You still fail to understand the purpose of political parties. They exist to get their people elected.
    The precinct committee people are not elected to determine the platform, their job is to conduct the political campaign in their precinct. According to their job description:
    “Their primary role is to elect the Chairman and Officers of the county Central and Executive Committees.” Then the list of additional duties follows:
    vote on proposals that maintain business operations, review of the annual budget & county party rules, report on the actions of the county party to their constituents, conduct political campaign activities, update voter lists, register non-voters, and other Get Out The Vote activities.
    They are also supposed to participate in party events, attend forums, make personal financial contributions, recruit new party workers and candidates, escort candidates (go door to door) within the precinct, vote on endorsements of Republican candidates, circulate nominating petitions, and work as poll workers or observers on Election Day.

    That’s in the job description.
    NOTHING in there is about making policy decisions, taking stands on different issues, or formulating the party platform.
    The precinct committee men and women are the foot soldiers. Foot soldiers don’t decide on strategy or choose tactics.

    Read the job description. If you don’t have a copy of it, ask your County Chairman to give you one.

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