As reported here first over the weekend, Tea Party organizer Ken Crow said he was leaving the Jason Ravnsborg campaign and endorsing Stace Nelson for South Dakota's GOP Senate nomination.

Ravnsborg appears to have responded via Twitter that he actually fired Crow last week. (Whether Ravnsborg himself tweeted that tidbit is in question, as someone besides Jason appears to have posting access.)

Crow rejects that claim in a comment here this morning and in a new press release. Crow says he has e-mails that show Ravnsborg welcomed Crow's further participation in the campaign. Crow says he left because he saw a candidate who does not want to win.

And why doesn't Ravnsborg want to win? Based six weeks on the trail with the candidate, Crow concludes that Ravnsborg is running to do a favor for his friends Dan Lederman and Joel Arends:

...After several conversations late at night while driving back from Lincoln Day Dinners, he had mentioned this fellow named Lederman at several different times. It had never registered with me for I was not familiar with the inner workings of South Dakota politics.

Of course now I am being told that it was Lederman who had convinced Jason Ravnsborg to run in the first place. In retrospect, Ravnsborg had mentioned to me on several occasions that he had been talked into running by several State Legislators and Lederman’s name was in the same breath when this was said to me. To be candid I cannot recall if he explicitly stated that Lederman was the only one, but I can state categorically that Lederman was mentioned several times in these conversations along with a fellow by the name of Joel Arends and several other state officials. Again; it did not mean much to me at the time because I did not understand the gravity of what he was saying. But the fact is that he did admit that it was his old college friends that are now in the Legislature that had convinced him to run. Of course I have subsequently learned that Arends is the Attorney for Annette Bosworth [Ken Crow, press release, 2014.05.27].

Crow's mention of Joel Arends deserves attention. Arends has been Bosworth's attorney since at 2012. He's been helping her with her Senate campaign. She started campaigning in June 2013. After taking a pounding on this blog, she began to face mainstream media scrutiny in November 2013, when KDLT picked up the story about her raffle scam and forced her to spout nonsense on the evening news. Ravnsborg entered the race in mid-December 2013.

The possible Arends connection to Ravnsborg becomes all the more discussion-worthy when Crow tells us what Ravnsborg proposed doing with the Rounds-EB-5 ad that Ravnsborg felt was too strong for him to run:

Jason had sent me an email on Monday after this altercation and I am in possession of these emails. I was offered 3 different options in which one involved selling the advertisement (Mike Rounds EB-5 video) to the Dr. Annette Bosworth campaign [Crow, 2014.05.27].

Logic spins:

  1. If the ad is really bad, you don't let it see the light of day.
  2. If the ad is a lemon, only a used-car salesman would think of selling it to someone else
  3. If the ad hits a mark that you don't want to hit, you hand it to a poor marksman who can make everyone else think, "Don't use that gun; only crazy people pick up that gun."

The immediate story here is that Jason Ravnsborg's campaign staff has issued a vote of no confidence in their candidate. Ken Crow, the campaigner who spent six weeks at Ravnsborg's side, says that Ravnsborg doesn't want to win. Crow says that Stace Nelson is the serious conservative alternative to Mike Rounds.

The bigger story we need to get at is why Jason Ravnsborg doesn't want to win, and why (and when, and how much) Dan Lederman and Joel Arends encouraged Ravnsborg to nominally wage a losing battle.Ravnsborg