Republican Sen. Dan Lederman's Rushmore PAC (which filed its organization papers with the Secretary of State's office one business day after Pat Powers resigned from the Secretary of State's office to go work for Rushmore PAC) has endorsed twelve Legislative candidates:

  1. Sen. Tim Begalka (R-4/Clear Lake, running for Senate)
  2. Rep. Jim Bolin (R-16/Canton, House)
  3. John Chicoine (R-17/Parker, Senate)
  4. Rep. Phil Jensen (R-33/Rapid City, Senate)
  5. Sen. Kent Juhnke (R-26/Vivian, Senate)
  6. John S. Meyer (R-21/Winner, Senate)
  7. Kathy Miles (I-15/Senate)
  8. Rep. Patty Miller (R-16/McCook Lake, House)
  9. Sen. Al Nostrup (R-Aberdeen, Senate)
  10. Ernie Otten, Jr. (R-6/Tea, House)
  11. Deb Soholt (R-14/Sioux Falls, Senate)
  12. Rep. Jim White (R-22/Huron, running for Senate)

Considering there are 94 Republicans (62 House, 32 Senate) running for the Legislature, 47 in the House and 20 in the Senate facing declared opponents in November, it seems odd that a PAC dedicates to helping candidates "who adhere to the conservative ideals of fiscal responsibility, limited government and individual rights" could only find 12 Republicans fitting that bill.

Whoops: scratch one. Of Dan Lederman's 12 endorsees, one is an Independent, former Democratic Senator Kathy Miles, who is challenging Democratic Senator Angie Buhl in a grudge match for her old seat in District 15. Lederman's employee Powers has already been launching factually challenged, backfiring attacks on Buhl to stoke Miles's campaign.

Rushmore PAC's Republican endorsees lean toward the conservative yahoos. Tea Partier Ernie Otten Jr. (from Tea, no less!) gets the Lederman nod, as does Muslim-fearing, doctor-homocide-justifying Phil Jensen. Sen. Al Novstrup and Sen. Tim Begalka also stand out on the Rushmore PAC endorsement list as pretty stiff conservatives.

I welcome speculation as to why Lederman would choose these 12 candidates out of 67 meaningful possibilities to endorse now. Note that he does not include any of the Republican leadership—House Majority Leader David Lust, House Speaker Pro-Tem Brian Gosch, Senate Majority Leader Russell Olson—who are under attack from some anonymous PAC for voting against veterans (a somewhat misleading claim). Instead, Lederman throws in with two Republicans, Begalka and Jensen, who overcame GOP Establishment-endorsed primary challengers, and another, Ernie Otten Jr., whose campaign fretted and stewed over such endorsements (since they weren't getting one) and beat prominent Republican Gene Abdallah in part with a sleazy, lying PAC hit piece.

Hmmm... perhaps Senator Lederman is sending love notes to the insurging radical right, letting the Nelson-Howie-Begalka mugwumps know that, just in case they do make some inroads against the mainstream Republicans, he'd like to be their pal.