Kevin Woster meets Democratic House candidate Corinna Robinson and comes away impressed. He still thinks Robinson will lose to money and image machine Rep. Kristi Noem, but contrary to the extremely selective hearing at Dakota War College, Woster says more pro Robinson than con.
When Woster says Robinson is likely to starve for campaign funds and lose the race by something under 20 percentage points, he's not condemning her qualities as a candidate; he's simply offering the same realistic pessimism that would face any Democrat seeking to win back South Dakota's House seat. South Dakota Democrats could run Jesus against Noem, and the commentariat would call him an underdog while the commentariat shouted "Nancy, Harry, Obama!"
Woster also misunderestimates Robinson. In 2012, Rep. Noem beat Democrat Matt Varilek by 15 percentage points. There is no attack that Woster foresees on Robinson that Noem didn't dish on Varilek. Team Kristi falsely assailed Matt with the whole "not a real South Dakotan" schtick; they'll do the same to Corinna, just as loudly. Varilek hurt himself with the base with his misstep on marriage equality; if Robinson can avoid that error (and you will avoid that error, right, Corinna), Robinson brings more Dems to support her and narrows the vote gap between herself and Noem.
I've been wrong about South Dakota's ability to recognize Kristi Noem's self-serving fecklessness before, but since beating Varilek, Noem has done nothing to earn more support from voters. She spent most of the last two years failing to deliver a farm bill. She helped shut down Mount Rushmore. Even on the main issue Pat Powers bubbles into a headline from Woster's critique, Robinson's stated desire to live in Washington, D.C., Robinson can make a strong case that she simply wants to do the job better than Noem has been doing it flying home all the time to Tweet pictures of herself at ball games.
Robinson is still an underdog, and as the loyal opposition, I wouldn't have it any other way. But she is no more of an underdog than Varilek in 2012 or any other South Dakota Democrat in the hunt today. Go, fight, win, Corinna! (And tell Tom Katus to forward me that campaign press release on your commitment to marriage equality....)