Tonight's mayor and council candidates' forum here in Spearfish was mostly what you'd expect from a local political event: mostly gentle questions, mostly general answers, mostly nice things said about Spearfish and Spearfish people.

And then Mayor Jerry Krambeck called candidate Dana Boke a "snollygoster":

I need to share with you that my opposition shot the first bow across the boat. I can hardly even pronounce it, Dana. "Ollie-garchie"? I'm not certain what it is, I had to look it up. And it says "a government in which a small group exercises control, especially for corrupt and selfish purposes." Dana, I'm offended with that comment. You've got it on your website, and you've mentioned it many times.

If you truly believe this, you need to look up something. It's called a "snollygoster," because I think this describes what type of government that we're going to have if you're the mayor of the city of Spearfish [Mayor Jerry Krambeck, candidates forum, Spearfish, SD, 2013.03.27].

Snollygoster. Snollygoster.

I welcome my longer-memoried readers to submit their examples, but this is the first time I've heard anyone call anyone a snollygoster in South Dakota. What did Krambeck just call Boke?

A politician who will go to any lengths to win public office, regardless of party affiliation or platform.

One of the earliest references comes from the Columbus Dispatch in October 28, 1895 which defined the term as "a fellow who wants office, regardless of party, platform, or principles, and who… gets there by sheer force of monumental talknophical asumnancy" [Teagan Goddard's Political Dictionary].

Various sources note snollygoster may originate from the German schnell (fast) and geist (ghost). Hmm... John Kerry got swiftboated... did Dana Boke just get swiftghosted?

And if Boke beats Krambeck, will we replace oligarchy with snollygarchy?

I'll have videos of the complete forum, mayoral and council candidates, up later tonight for your enjoyment. I'll embed the snollygoster video here.

Snollygoster. Snollygoster.

Update 22:40 MDT: Here's that video! After finding his closing statement, Mayor Krambeck says the magic word at 1:17.