State Senator Larry Rhoden (R-29/Union Center) and fish, from Facebook.

This fish agrees: Larry would look even better with a mustache.

My offer to endorse State Senator Larry Rhoden in the GOP Senate primary if he grows back his butt-kicking mustache stands. Senator Rhoden tells reporter Woster nothing of his whisker plans, but says he will decide on challenging M. Michael Rounds next month:

"Now that Kristi has announced and we're getting closer to July, I'll have to make a decision, probably sometime next month," he said. "There are issues we're working on right now, as far as trying to put a team together" [Kevin Woster, "Rhoden Considering Run for Republican Senate Primary," Rapid City Journal, 2013.06.14].

Rhoden says he can out-conservative M. Michael Rounds. (News flash: I can out-conservative Mike Rounds.) He may be right:

  1. Rhoden will get plenty of local conservative cred with his pro-gun votes on our school gunslinger bill and easing concealed weapon laws.
  2. His willingness to pass bad education policy without evidence should endear him to the conservative enemies of science and public education.
  3. His pressure for infringement of property rights via limits on conservation easements should rankle conservatives, but they'll take that measure as healthy green-bashing.
  4. He's received much less in farm subsidies than Kristi Noem, so he won't have to worry about some consistent conservative hanging the "corporate welfare queen" label on his neck.
  5. Maybe best of all for the misbegotten Howie-Otten activists to whom any Rounds challenger must appeal, Senator Rhoden can blurt that we are a Republic, not a Democracy, to justify his policy positions. The line is elitist and meaningless, but hard-right GOP primary voters love it.

Note also that Rhoden has not yet invoked God's will, ordered an intern to post fake news reports online, or left pictures of his Che Guevara t-shirt on his Facebook profile. (Actually, Larry's Facebook page is pretty boring... but isn't that true for all of us?) He's just doing what real candidates do: floating the trial balloon and talking nuts and bolts about what it will take to beat the frontrunner.