Rep. Scott Parsley's decision to run for Senate again has left an open seat for District 8 House. And before local Dems could come up with a candidate, Republicans have found a powerful candidate, Mathew Wollmann of Madison. Check out the items Wollmann can craft into campaign power (in no particular order):
- He's a Marine, meaning he's got the Stace Nelson vote.
- He's a DSU computer guru, meaning he can get all wonky on cybersecurity issues (not often discussed in the Legislature, but an interesting way for a candidate to differentiate himself in the marketplace)
- His dad Darwin is a Municipal League Hall of Fame cop, meaning he has a great resource for talking local law enforcement issues.
- His mom Kelli is a county commissioner, meaning more relevant policy talk at family dinners.
- He's 23. On Election Day, Wollman will be just shy of his 24th birthday. He would be the second-youngest legislator elected in South Dakota, behind David Novstrup of Aberdeen, who was elected at age 23 years 9 months. (Other young legislators: Angie Buhl won her seat at age 26; Jon Hansen and Jenna Haggar were 25 when elected, 26 when sworn in.) Say what you want about the merits of youth; Wollmann will get extra free press on that human interest angle, and free happy face time on KELO or in that Sioux Falls paper is campaign gold for a legislative candidate.
- He's a triathlete, and there's no beating triathletes... right, Jennifer Wolff?
- And according to Facebook, Wollmann is hanging out and playing hockey with Erin Schoenbeck. Recognizing that intelligent, confident women named Erin are awesome demonstrates Wollmann's good sense. While I impute no Machiavellian calculation to Mathew's good heart, hanging around with an Erin whose dad happens to be running to return to the Legislature in District 5 and who enjoys great esteem within the SDGOP doesn't hurt a young man hoping to get into politics.
With Russell Olson quitting the Legislature for the quiet, comfy view of Pat Prostrollo's white buffalo, the GOP needs a new golden boy. Pile all of the above together, and dagnabit, Mathew Wollmann could be that new golden boy.
So, District 8 Dems, whom do you have to run against that?
p.s.: The only ding I offer against Mathew is that darned name of his. Only one t in the first name, but two n's in the last. Not that a guy named Heidelberger should complain about the spelling of other folks' names, but expect numerous typos in articles on Wollmann's campaign, confounding reliable Googlization!
pp.s.: Wollmann evidently didn't get the generational memo: new Pew research finds that "millennials" (also with two n's), ages 18 to 33, are unmooring from political and religious institutions and voting heavily Democratic and liberal.