The Governor's Office of Economic Development and Madison's Lake Area Improvement Corporation score another coup, bringing Iowa sexy bra manufacturer Best Darn Guns (should a company really force us to swear?) to town:

Best Damn Guns website, http://bdguns.corecommerce.com, screen cap, 2014.11.13

Best Damn Guns website, http://bdguns.corecommerce.com, screen cap, 2014.11.13

In a brilliant example of vertical (or is it horizontal, or cross-your-heart?) integration, the LAIC announces it is also bringing the closely associated Wilt Manufacturing, whose subsidiary Wilt Wire and Fabrication does something with Wire EDM, which is obviously connected to the the supporting industry of making underwires.

Or not. Once I get past the crass and gratuitous disembodiment and oversexualization of the female body, I realize Best Darn Guns makes gun parts. But their advertising makes clear the real psychology behind South Dakota's gun nuttery. Carrying guns and now building local economic development makes us real men and gets us action.

Welcome to South Dakota, Best Darn Guns and Wilt Manufacturing! We look forward to your billboards.

10 comments

Democrat Bernie Hunhoff will have no truck with all this negative campaigning. However, he does have a truck...

Bernie Hunhoff for Senate ad, from Facebook, 2014.10.31

Bernie Hunhoff for Senate ad, from Facebook, 2014.10.31

...and an adorable granddaughter, or as Bernie describes her, "one of my very favorite constituents."

Go ahead, try saying something negative about Bernie. I dare you.

4 comments

Elm Springs rancher Pat Trask boils the case against Mike Rounds into one simple message: Mike Rounds puts big money over the interests of South Dakota.

"I voted for Reagan, Bush, Thune -- but I can't vote for Mike Rounds," says Trask, with all the calm force of a Badlands heat wave.

Even objective reporter David Montgomery has to admit this ad from Mayday PAC is not just "effective" but "quietly devastating." Sure, outside money paid to put the ad on TV, but the words come straight from a South Dakota Republican, a man with a pick-up truck with South Dakota plates and horses grazing along the Cheyenne River, saying the words South Dakota needs to hear: Mike Rounds doesn't deserve your vote.

p.s.: The Displaced Plainsman is throwing in the towel for all Democrats, including Weiland. But Mayday PAC and I ain't heard no fat lady! Share this video, and Get Out The Vote!

52 comments

Finally, Rick Weiland and I have something we can disagree on.

Our Democratic candidate for Senate is telling Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee to pull their ads against Mike Rounds. In a Monday press release, Weiland accuses the national Dems of using negative ads against Rounds to harm Weiland's campaign and boost Independent Larry Pressler:

Everybody knows the ugly attack ads you have been running against Mike Rounds help Larry Pressler, not the candidate of the party you are supposed to be campaigning for. They make me, as the Democratic candidate, look like a dirty campaigner. They damage Governor Rounds. And they let former Senator Pressler stand on the sidelines looking clean and gathering votes from disgusted South Dakotans, just as you intended them to do [Rick Weiland, press release, 2014.10.27].

Weiland's assertion that the DSCC is working for Larry Pressler holds about as much water with me as did assertions back during the GOP primary that Mike Rounds planted Annette Bosworth in the campaign to divide his opposition. If I were the DSCC and had a million dollars to spend, I can't imagine intentionally undermining a progressive Democrat who sounds a lot more like the ascendant progressives in the national party than our preceding Blue Dogs in favor of a quixotic Republican-cum-Independent who will only be around for one term and won't do any fundraising for the DSCC.

But Weiland maintains that's the DSCC plan, as evidenced by their long-standing dismissal of his candidacy:

For every one of the 18 months since I became a candidate for the United States Senate, and the 6 months since I was formally selected to be the candidate of the party you are supposed to represent, I have been asking you for positive assistance with my campaign. Instead of that assistance you have said I am not your choice, tried to dry up my funds by saying I cannot win, refused to have your DSCC even endorse me, and now you have come into my state with ugly, negative attacks against Mike Rounds, ads that you and every knowledgeable political strategist in America knows hurt me and help Larry Pressler, the longtime Republican who has apparently won your support for his so called independent campaign by whispering that if elected he might vote to help you keep your job as Majority Leader [Weiland, 2014.10.27]

I guess I'm not a knowledgeable political strategist. I'm not buying the DSCC-Pressler gambit.

Nor am I buying the suggestion that negative ads are bad. If we don't run negative ads against Mike Rounds, his record of incompetence and corruption goes unchallenged. If we do run negative ads, some people engage in moral grandstanding, but the message gets across, and we have a better shot of winning, as evidenced by the underlying assumption of Weiland's arguments that the negative ads damage Mike Rounds.

Evidently political scientist Larry Sabato isn't knowledgeable, either:

"This is done in all 50 states," he said. "People are so used to these sorts of negative ads sponsored by the party that there usually isn't that much political effect. People will absorb the political information, even as they say they hate negatives" [David Montgomery, "Weiland Accuses Own Party of Sabotaging His Campaign," that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.10.27].

Weiland asks that the South Dakota Democratic Party repudiate these tactics. I ask the South Dakota Democratic not to be timid or stupid. Mike Rounds gave Richard Benda and Joop Bollen carte blanche to do whatever they wanted, without regard to state law or Regental rules, because they waved dollars in his face. That fundamental breach of public trust is the biggest reason Mike Rounds should never be trusted with public office again.

It may be ugly and negative to hear that we can't trust our former governor, but it's the truth, and South Dakotans need to hear it, lest they elect the wrong man for this important job.

That said, I'm more than happy to see MoveOn.org complementing the negative ads with this wonderful new 30-second summary of all the positive reasons to make Rick Weiland our next Senator:

Democrats, we can walk and chew gum. We can show Rick's a stud and prove Mike's a dud. And when we're running blue in red South Dakota, we need to use every tool available.

81 comments

Rep. Kathy Tyler (D-4/Big Stone City) isn't taking the deceptive big-money PAC attacks lying down. She shows Democrats that when the negative ads come, you hit right back:

Rep. Kathy Tyler "Poked the Bear" advertisment, 2014.10.28

Rep. Tyler is referring to the big money a new PAC called "East River Concerned Citizens" is pouring into deceptive ads against her. The radio spots and postcards are less interested in accurately portraying her voting record on abortion (she's actually a bit conservative for my taste) and, from what I hear from sources and glean from who's contributing to ERCC, more interested in retaliating against Tyler for challenging the state's corrupt EB-5 economic development practices.

Certain big-money players have a great stake in South Dakota's endemic corruption (that's the second time this morning I've used that phrase and that link, and for good reason). Democrats like Rep. Kathy Tyler who speak the truth to that power can expect hard negative attacks to take them out. Fortunately, Rep. Tyler is not easily cowed by such attacks. Democrats, follow Kathy's lead. Poke that bear, and don't back down!

46 comments

Having trouble getting through to state offices lately? It could be because the South Dakota Republican Party is sending out robocalls to remind our civil servants of who butters their bread.

...calling on behalf of the South Dakota Republican Party, South Dakota cannot afford to send a friend of Barack Obama to Washington. The only way to avoid sending a friend of Obama to Washington is by voting Republican. By not electing a Republican, South Dakota will be supporting Obamacare, a friend of Barack Obama, a Washington insider, and a bigger government. The Republicans have a chance to take back the Senate, and South Dakotans play a vital role. Please remember to vote Republican on November 4. This call is paid for by the South Dakota Republican Party, not authorized by the candidate or candidate's committee, 605-610-8879 [South Dakota Republican Party, robocall, recorded 2014.10.24].

My source found this message on the voicemail of my source's work phone in a state office. My source says my source's boss has received the same message at work. My source has also received two surveys from the national GOP.

I appreciate the SDGOP's effort to lighten our state employees' day with messages from breathless ladies, though I hope they have a hunky baritone version for the ladies who answer the state phones. But we could read this robocall as one more effort by the Republicans to keep government from getting its work done.

Either way, Republicans, how about we save the robocalls for folks not on the clock?

11 comments

Here's one sign that Democrat Robin Page may beat Phil Jensen out of his District 33 Senate seat:

Campaign signs, one block west of Pennington County GOP HQ, West Main St., Rapid City, SD, 2014.10.22.

Campaign signs, one block west of Pennington County GOP HQ, West Main St., Rapid City, SD, 2014.10.22.

This photo comes from one block west of Pennington County Republican headquarters on West Main Street in Rapid City. We see the expected Republican signs for Daugaard, Rounds, Krebs, and Gosch. But we see no sign from the GOP incumbent Senator Jensen. Representing District 33 is Democratic challenger Page.

Remember that Senator Jensen drew disdain from his own party last spring for his hangup on social issues and his awkward commenters on racism. Senator Jensen only narrowly survived a primary challenge. Page is now working hard with direct mail and door-knocking to put Jensen out of a part-time job.

This vacant green hosts a couple other non-Republicans amidst the usual conservative suspects. District 34's GOP Rep. Dan Dryden has his sign up, but instead of fellow Republican Jeff Partridge, we find Democratic candidate Steve Stenson advertised. And from District 35, we get the strange mix of Tea-flavored spokesmodel Lynne Hix-DiSanto and Democrat Dave Freytag, with no visible sign from incumbent GOP Rep. Blaine "Chip" Campbell.

One would think every Republican in the neighborhood would want to get his or her name up next to the party leaders on that street and crowd out those pesky Democratic interlopers. But it could be that the Republican sign-minders down the street are sending a message to Jensen in tolerating Page's challenge.

38 comments

The Republican spin machine eagerly rebroadcasts an attack ad aired on KMSD Radio against Rep. Kathy Tyler (D-4/Big Stone City). Here's the text:

Being a state legislator has gone to Kathy Tyler's head. A small business man in Rapid City won a lawsuit against a customer that owed him money, but Kathy Tyler called and tried to overrule the judge. Kathy Tyler said she disagreed with the judge. She said she was a legislature [sic] and knew better. I don't know who she thinks she is trying to bully a small businessman. Kathy Tyler is a bully who misused her office. Please do not send Kathy Tyler back to Pierre. Give the little guy a break. Paid for by East River Concerned Citizens [political communication, transcribed from audio posted by Pat Powers, "Kathy Tyler Must Have Made the Wrong Small Businessman in Rapid City Mad," Dakota War College, 2014.10.22].

According to Rep. Tyler, East River Concerned Citizens has spent over $1,000 to broadcast this attack. East River Concerned Citizens is a PAC formed by Spencer Cody, vice president and assistant treasurer of South Dakota Right to Life. Cody attacked Rep. Tyler during the 2014 Legislative session, calling her a liar for opposing an abortion restriction that conservative Reps. Scott Munsterman (R-7/Brookings) and Steve Hickey (R-9/Sioux Falls) voted against.

East River Concerned Citizens is breaking state law. Governor Dennis Daugaard, Attorney General Marty Jackley, and the Republican spin machine eagerly roasted Dan Willard for violating this statute with robocalls against sitting Republican legislators in 2012. SDCL 12-27-16 requires the following of ads like Cody's:

(1) Any person or organization that makes a payment or promise of payment totaling one hundred dollars or more, including an in-kind contribution, for a communication which expressly advocates for or against a candidate, public office holder, ballot question, or political party shall append to or include in each communication a disclaimer that clearly and forthrightly:

  1. Identifies the person or organization making the independent expenditure for that communication;
  2. States the address or website address of the person or organization;
  3. States that the communication is independently funded and not made in consultation with any candidate, political party, or political committee; and
  4. If the independent expenditure is undertaken by an organization not including a candidate, public office holder, political party, or political committee, then the following notation must also be included: "Top Five Contributors" followed by a listing of the names of the five persons making the largest contributions to an organization during the twelve months preceding that communication.

A violation of this subdivision is a Class 1 misdemeanor... [SDCL 12-27-16].

The ad gives the PAC name, but it gives no physical or web address for contacting the organization. The ad does not include the "independently funded and not made in consultation" disclaimer. If I get ambitious and look up their statement of organization filed with the Secretary of State on September 14, 2014, I still can't send the PAC a letter, because Cody omitted the city and state, which is sloppy if not illegal.

Cody asks his Facebook followers for more money to expand his attacks to "the district 8 Senate race, district 26 Senate race, district 33 Senate, district 2 house, district 3 house, district 9 house, and district 15 house." He might want to save his money for a lawyer: surely the Governor and Attorney General will find this violation of campaign finance law just two weeks before an election on a hotly contested district as egregious as they found Dan Willard's robocalls two months before an election in which many of the targeted legislators faced no challengers.

Update 06:20 CDT: Funny that the ad pretends to defend "the little guy." As I understand from sources, "the little guy" appears to be the customer who paid a Rapid City business $1,600 and never received the merchandise he ordered. I'm working on that angle of the story....

38 comments

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