Democratic candidate for District 16 Senate Ann Tornberg keeps eating incumbent Republican Senator Dan Lederman's lunch. Tornberg posts two more endorsements from local Republicans:

Karen Kirkebak, registered Republican, endorses Democrat Ann Tornberg for District 16 Senate. From Facebook, 2014.11.03.

Karen Kirkebak, registered Republican, endorses Democrat Ann Tornberg for District 16 Senate. From Facebook, 2014.11.03.

Bill and Fern Vermillion, registered Republicans, endorse Democrat Ann Tornberg for District 16 Senate. From Facebook, 2014.11.02.

Bill and Fern Vermillion, registered Republicans, endorse Democrat Ann Tornberg for District 16 Senate. From Facebook, 2014.11.02.

Ladies and gentlemen, old and young—Tornberg's hustling for the bipartisan vote in District 16! Meanwhile, Dan Lederman rips off SDPB's flyover special and puts his base to sleep with this geography lesson about District 16:

"When you first enter District 16 from the south, you know that you are leaving the states of Iowa and Nebraska..."—thank you, Professor Obvious. And the first thing he mentions: warehouses. Warehouses. Yes, warehouses are what make District 16 special.

It's time to put Lederman in storage (in Iowa) and elect Ann Tornberg to really represent District 16 and South Dakota.


Dakota War College lurches toward the weekend seeing two of its favorite Republican legislators losing Republican endorsements to their Democratic counterparts. Three high-profile former Republican legislators are endorsing District 10 Senate Democratic candidate Michael Schultz over DWC pin-up Rep. Jenna Haggar. Schultz's résumé is far deeper than Haggar's, including his time as mayor of Brandon. And the three Republicans picking his experience over Haggar's conservative cheerleader act are no lightweights: they are former Sioux Falls mayor Dave Munson, former U.S. Marshall and South Dakota Highway Patrol chief Gene Abdallah, and former teacher and principal Jan Nicolay. Munson, Nicolay, and Abdallah each represented Haggar's district in Pierre, and they say Schultz represents the "Strong—Stable—Effective" choice for District 10 today.

I reported last night that District 16 Senate Democratic candidate Ann Tornberg is posting endorsements from registered Republicans and high-profile Dakota Dunes neighbors of GOP Senator Dan Lederman. And hey, this morning, here come two more!

Friebergs for Tornberg 20141031

Wow—add to those endorsements to West River Republican Pat Trask's repudiation of Mike Rounds this week, and could we be seeing a trend of Republicans trading the Powers/Wadhams-style politics for smart, qualified candidates and good government?


It's not just Mike Rounds who shouts "Obama!" to get votes. The South Dakota Republican Party is fanning anti-Obama sentiment in the District 16 Senate race to protect Senator Dan Lederman from strong Democratic challenger Ann Tornberg.

The desperate measure of trying to nationalize a state legislative contest may not be working. Tornberg is posting endorsements from registered Republicans:

Roark for Tornberg

Tony Roark, Republican, Jefferson City Council

I serve on the Jefferson City Council. I believe in local control and as far as possible, for those in Pierre to leave local decisions to local city officials. I was disappointed in Dan Lederman when he sponsored Senate Bill 75 which prevents local governments from regulating certain dog breeds like pit bulls. Jefferson and North Sioux City had local ordinances which banned certain dog breeds. What really bothered me was that when I spoke to Sen. Lederman, he said he wasn’t even aware that we had these laws in Jefferson. I’d like to think that my Senator would at least know what the local laws are in the communities he represents. I’m a registered Republican, and I’ll be supporting Ann Tornberg. I sincerely believe she’ll listen to us, and will advocate for local control.

—Tony Roark, Jefferson [Ann Tornberg for District 16 South Dakota State Senate, Facebook post, 2014.10.30]

Unlike Pat Powers, when I use the plural in my headlines, I mean it. Here's Republican for Tornberg #2:

Melstad for Tornberg

Dennis Melstad, Republican, Dakota Dunes

I look at the candidate and vote for who I believe will be best for District 16 and South Dakota. I will vote for Ann Tornberg for the District 16 Senate race.

—Dennis Melstad, Dakota Dunes, Registered Republican [Ann Tornberg for District 16 South Dakota State Senate, Facebook post, 2014.10.27]

Tornberg draws an endorsement from another of Lederman's Dakota Dunes neighbors:

After talking to Ann several times during the 2013 Legislative Session as a legislative assistant and many times during this campaign season as she travels the District, I'm thoroughly convinced she has an in-depth understanding of the issues facing our District and the State. She approaches all issues the same way - from understanding the facts and fundamentals of an issue to reaching out to those affected by it - she is methodical in her approach. I look forward to working with her in the future.

—Jeff Dooley, Dakota Dunes Resident [Ann Tornberg for District 16 South Dakota State Senate, Facebook post, 2014.10.28]

While the SDGOP and Lederman fret about our President, Lederman's neighbors, Republicans included, are voting more on the candidates' engagement in District 16 and their knowledge of local District 16 issues. "Blame Obama!" has its limits, and Dan Lederman may be about to bump into those limits against Ann Tornberg.


Michael Larson makes the case that District 16 voters should replace Senator Dan Lederman with Ann Tornberg, a real South Dakotan who will spend less time currying favor with Iowa pols and more time representing all of District 16, not just the section south of Exit 4. Larson hammers Lederman's association with Iowa's chief yahoo, Congressman Steve King, then gets on to Lederman's local minuses and Tornberg's pluses:

[Lederman] is a candidate that doesn't believe there is a teacher shortage, supports discrimination of LGBT, and loves having the state pay for him to attend ALEC events that allow him to write laws to support his business.

You can instead vote for a person that has lived in Union County for more than 40 years. Her husband in a third generation dairy farmer living in Union County. She attends and travels to communities in the entire District 16 (instead of only staying in North Sioux City). She works to protect the family farmer, education, and all of the people that live in the district. She is not going to use a win to discriminate, she is not going to support tax payers money going to partisan trips, she is not going to support the continued attack on South Dakota education. Ann Tornberg deserves your vote District 16 [Michael Larson, "Dan Lederman Representing Iowa," Taking a Left Turn in South Dakota, 2014.07.05].

Full disclosure: Michael Larson coaches debate. Ann Tornberg coached debate. So did I. Lederman prefers cage fighting. My preference should be clear. So should District 16's.


Third place is not the charm in District 16. Democrat Ann Tornberg, who finished third in the 2012 general election for District 16 House, says the Governor's office has e-mailed her to say she doesn't get the appointment to the House seat Patty Miller is vacating. (Come on, Dennis! You know you need more Dems in Pierre to counter the ill-effects of supermajority!)

Tornberg says that Republican Kevin Jensen, who finished third in the 2012 GOP primary for District 16 House, got the Governor's rejection as well. Says Jensen, "I guess I am too conservative for their agenda" and vows to run for the District 16 seat Rep. Jim Bolin will vacate next year.

The Governor's office gives neither rejected nominee a hint of who's in, just a promise to issue a press release next week.


It's an honor just to be considered... and it's a heck of a surprise when that consideration is extended from the monolithic GOP to a good Democrat. District 16 Democrat Ann Tornberg reports on Facebook that Governor Dennis Daugaard's office may actually be considering her to replace resigning District 16 Rep. Patty Miller:

My sincere appreciation to all my supporters from District 16 who contacted the Governor's Office and recommended that I be nominated to fill the position left vacant by Patty Miller's resignation. You reminded the Governor that I received enough votes in the 2012 General Election to be eligible for a recount, losing by only 124 votes out of a total of 11,000 cast. While the Governor's Office told me they do not keep count, I have been. According to my own tally from those of you who contacted me, close to 200 calls or emails were sent. I had a phone interview last week and have been told the decision will be made by the end of May. Thanks to everyone, and regardless of the appointment process (which will likely be political rather than based on 2012 voter preferences) I'll continue to see you at District 16 community events and again on the 2014 campaign trail! [Ann Tornberg, public Facebook post, 2013.05.02]

A good candidate should be willing and able to serve. By running twice in District 16 (and apparently promising above to run again next year), Tornberg has clearly shown her willingness. Her experience as a teacher, farmer, and labor rep show she's definitely able. A lot of callers and writers agree... and the Governor apparently recognizes that support.

Thank you, Ann, for being willing to serve, and thank you, Governor Daugaard, for being willing to consider her. Now pick Tornberg to represent her neighbors! She'll do a good job... and she'll make life more interesting in Pierre!


Governor Dennis Daugaard is asking you to nominate qualified District 16 residents to replace Patty Miller, who resigned from her House seat this week for personal reasons.

Ann Tornberg for District 16 House!

Ann Tornberg for District 16 House!

The obvious choice is long-time educator and dairy farm wife Ann Tornberg. She has run twice for a District 16 seat in the Legislature. She's smart and passionate about public service. Her experience in education and agriculture make her an expert on two of the biggest issues with which the Legislature deals. Plus, Tornberg was a debate coach, and I guarantee that debate coaches make for better government. Ask Mel Olson.

Tornberg is a Democrat, but she has shown her willingness to support good ideas and good people regardless of party label. Governor Daugaard, return the favor. Appoint Ann Tornberg to this vacant District 16 House seat.

If you agree that Tornberg would make a rock-'em-sock-'em legislator, call Daugaard aide Will Mortenson in the Office of the Governor at 605-773-5999 and tell him to pick Ann!


In this year's state legislative election, I take the position that, if a Democrat doesn't show up to contend for a seat, you should vote for any Republican who voted against House Bill 1234, Governor Daugaard's ideological and counterproductive education reform bill.

On Tuesday night, Democratic candidate for District 16 House Stanley Jacobson didn't show up for a candidate's forum in North Sioux City. Democratic candidate for District 16 House Ann Tornberg did show up. She did say House Bill 1234, now Referred Law 16, is a bad idea. So did GOP Rep. Jim Bolin, who voted against HB 1234 last February.

And even though Tornberg and Bolin disagree on how to fund education, Ann Tornberg told her neighbors to vote for Jim Bolin:

[Tornberg] says the legislation, which narrowly passed this year, needs to be completely repealed.

She also wants funding restored to education and supports a one-cent sales tax to do so, which Bolin does not.

"The most egregious, I think as a teacher, is the fact that every teacher from now on, their evaluation would have to based half on student test scores, and the other half on their evaluator," said the Beresford Democrat.

"The reason I voted against is that I don't think it's needed in South Dakota. It's unnecessary. We have above average test scores, below average drop out rates, we have a lot of public support for our schools," explained Bolin, a Republican from Canton.

They may represent different political parties, but the pair agree on something else, that Bolin should be reelected.

District 16 voters will chose two candidates for the state house. Tornberg endorsed Bolin Tuesday night. Bolin said he was shocked.

Don't be so shocked, Jim. Ann's a former teacher, just like you. She knows that you and she both can work together and bring real expertise on education to Pierre. Roll with it... and consider returning the favor and endorsing Ann!


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