With Rave and Lederman gone from the Senate, where do they seek their rudder?

With the twin resignations of Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dan Lederman, and Majority Leader Tim Rave coming like a 1-2 punch, there’s a new void in Senate Legislative Leadership that even the Democrats couldn’t have envisioned were they competent or effective in winning elections.

President Pro Tempore Corey Brown is still there as leader of the Senate, but there’s no one to help steer the Republican Caucus. It’s as if the steering mechanism has now come off of the ship, leaving Senate Republicans in a position where they now need to seek amongs themselves the people who will be their rudder.

Will they look to their current whips, Senators Holien, Ernie Otten, or Deb Soholt?  Or will they look to the ranks of the Senators – many of whom have significant experience, but aren’t in one of the six official leadership positions?

Who else does that leave for them to choose from?  The list….

Jenna Haggar, Blake Curd, Bob Ewing, Brock Greenfield, Terri Haverly, Phyllis Heineman, Phil Jensen, Jeff Monroe, David Novstrup, Craig Tieszen, Larry Tidemann, Alan Solano, Bruce Rampelberg, Betty Olson, David Omdahl, Ernie Otten, Deb Peters, Art Rusch, Bill Van Gerpen, Jim White, Gary Cammack and Mike Vehle.

If you peruse the list, the thing that strikes me is that there’s a lot of new people there. As well as some busy ones.

Blake Curd might be a choice, but given how busy he is with his own new position, I’m somewhat doubtful he has an interest in dividing his time further. Tieszen, Vehle and Tidemann had ran or expressed interest in leadership positions previously.  And you have people like Deb Peters, who while not leadership at the moment has been a point person on caucus election efforts – some of these Senators are Senators because she made it happen.

There’s a particular political functionality and increased level of partisanship that goes with the leadership positions. They have to be able to build a coalition within the caucus between those that lean to the middle, as well as those that are hard right. They are peacemaker, as well as messenger for the gods… or at least the one that resides on the second floor.

Depending on what happens, with the departure of the Majority & Assistant Leaders, this caucus could also become more prickly, depending who is in charge. There are definitely a few possibilities who march to the beat of their own drummer, and interpret the Republican Party Platform in a more strict fashion.

What do you think? With the voids to be filled, who will emerge to lead the State Senate Republican Caucus?  Where do they seek their rudder?

23 thoughts on “With Rave and Lederman gone from the Senate, where do they seek their rudder?”

  1. Holien would get my vote. Smart, independent thinker and all around good guy.

  2. The real question is if the more ideological wing of conservatives run. If they do they can’t run Jensen or Haggar. They are toxic. Jensen because he is and Haggar for her association with Latterell. He will cost her a tremendous amount of support and keeps her from being taken seriously amongst the caucus.

    I would welcome a more conservative person but the options are limited. Leadership requires a person be taken seriously.

    Who among them can work with others? Holien might be the only option.

  3. As they always have, the caucus will sort it out. Personally, I find Holien very intriguing. He would definitely make larger the contrast between the Senate and House with regard to style and demeanor.

    1. Please expound upon the stylistic differences in contrast. Intriguing comment.

      Holien hits the sweet spot with all philosophical aspects of the caucus.

  4. Phyllis Heineman is by far the must qualified, is well respected, well spoken, and can work very well with everyone.
    A no brainier!!

  5. Rushmore Voter,

    This goes back to my two years as an intern. First year, I worked in the House. Second year, I worked in the Senate. My experience during the Mickelson administration reinforced this opinion.

    Because of the numbers of members (many of whom weren’t burdened with “that’s how we have always done it”), the House was the more creative body. Ideas came out of nowhere. Some good and some bad. But everything was unpredictable. The Senate was the more reflective body. They were the refiners of the good ideas percolating in the House but not completely thought out. The contrast was a positive.

    Holien is the epitome of a thinker and I don’t see him as creative/free-wheeling (one can’t be both. You are one or the other).

    BTW, Heineman is also intriguing on the other side. Despite her demeanor, she is quite creative and has excellent leadership skills. I’d follow her off a cliff or jump if she asked.

    Sometimes, the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts because of synergy. These two at the top (who is leader and assistant might be six of one and half dozen of the other) really catches my eye.

  6. This is really odd that in a year and a half we have lost two Senate majority leaders and one assistant (the other being Russ Olson). I love Holien as a person but I’m not sure if he has the maturinty and temperment for that post. Soholt is way too liberal and this is only her 2nd term. I do think Otten, Vehle, Tieszen, and Greenfield would all be good. Greenfield’s been around a long time and he’s been on Approps. I think it’s time for him to rise to the top.

  7. The skills for caucus leadership are different from ideological viewpoint or advocacy. Willingness to be the “traffic cop,” translator and interpreter, counselor, and sometimes “Dutch uncle” (deliverer of necessary harsh messages to friends and family) will be key to success. Who does the caucus trust to act impartially, be open to input, and speak for the group rather than just themselves?

  8. Interesting debate. Greenfield does have a lot of legislative experience but might not want the limitations leadership imposes on a legislator. Holien would be good. White and Rampelberg each have leadership experience in private business and could be dark horses…

  9. I think the smoothest transition through all of this would be to move Corey over to the Leader’s office, and put either Holien or Tidemann in the Pro-Tempore spot. Whichever one doesn’t end up there, should be the asst. Leader.

  10. why no mention on this blog of the federal court ruling against the illegal courts/judges/DSS in SD and how they’ve been mishandling Indian foster care (holding sham hearing and not allowing families/defense to even speak) ???

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