Rep. Stace Nelson gets some national press about his Senate campaign, and it's not good. It's not crushingly bad, but it's not good.
Nelson put on his good suit and flew all the way to Washington to spend Constitution Day reaching for the brass ring big conservative groups have been holding out since March, when they declared Marion Michael Rounds insufficiently conservative for their designs on South Dakota's Senate seat. Nelson said his meetings with D.C. conservative groups were "productive."
Too bad they were productive of this shrug:
While multiple conservative groups confirmed they’ve met with both Nelson and the other most prominent conservative challenger in the race, state Sen. Larry Rhoden, representatives privately admitted they’re not thrilled with either candidate.
“Stace probably shares our views, but [it’s] hard to see him being a credible candidate at this point,” one adviser to a national conservative group told The Hill [Alexandra Jaffe, "Conservatives Eye Challengers to former Gov. Mike Rounds in SD Senate Race," The Hill, 2013.09.25].
Anyone challenging the Rounds-Wadhams money machine must admit that winning depends on reinforcements from outside South Dakota. One anonymous whisperer in Washington doesn't end hope of those reinforcements, but it sure doesn't build any hope.
The big question, though, for these nameless machinators: if Stace Nelson isn't credible against Mike Rounds, then who is? He doesn't just "probably" share the D.C. conservatives' views; he writes them larger in press and votes than anyone else in South Dakota. If Stace can't do it, who's left in the conservative chute? The ever-hilarious Gordon Howie? Quieter Legislative rookies Ernie Otten and Dan Kaiser?
If the D.C. conservatives are saying Stace Nelson can't be their candidate, and if they can't even default to the reasonably articulate and handsome Larry Rhoden, then frankly, they've got nobody.