Mr. Ehrisman wonders why we haven't seen a big Governor Dennis Daugaard endorsement ad for Mike Rounds for Senate.

Well, Senator John Thune is on the air telling folks to send him Rounds to join him for No Theater:

Be patient: I suspect a Daugaard endorsement ad is in the chute, ready to go after the Thune ad tires the viewers out.

But if the absence of a Daugaard ad for Rounds catches our attention, so should the absence of an ad from Senator Tim Johnson for Rick Weiland. John Tsitrian senses what he calls tepidity from Senator Johnson and other South Dakota elder Democratic statesmen. Tsitrian also links to this milquetoastery from Senator Johnson:

Of course I'm in favor of Rick Weiland, but they're all good candidates and I'll stay away from the politics [Sen. Tim Johnson, in Tessa Thomas, "Senator Stops in Rapid City for His 'Tour of Thanks'," KEVN-TV, 2014.10.20].

Senator Johnson, I appreciate the Lutheran equanimity, but don't give Mike Rounds a grace he doesn't deserve. Now is not the time to call Mike Rounds a "good candidate" or to stay away from politics. You can use this crucial last moment of your political career to make this the last moment of Mike Rounds's political career. You can use you last hurrah  to give South Dakota the great hurrah of a candidate as honest and hard-working as you have been.

Senator Johnson, break out the camera. Leverage your gravitas and pathos. Shoot this ad:

I'm Tim Johnson. You've trusted me to work for you for 35 years. I've worked through challenges to live up to that trust and get things done for South Dakota.

Now I ask you to trust Rick Weiland. He'll pick up right where I'm leaving off, fighting for every one of us in South Dakota.

I will miss serving you. But Barb and I can rest easy with Rick Weiland as our next Senator. Thank you, South Dakota [fantasy ad, hopefully airing October 29, 2014].

Say those words to the camera. Play some "Morning in America" music. Push Weiland over 40%.


If Larry Pressler can get mojo back, why can't Susan Wismer?

Susan Wismer has touted her gubernatorial bid as South Dakotans' chance to elect their first female governor. She doubled the female fun by naming Susy Blake as her running mate.

Yet both of the big SurveyUSA polls have shown no advantage for Wismer among the ladies. The September poll showed 55% of men and 53% of women going for Dennis Daugaard; the October poll shows Daugaard winning 58% of men and 60% of women. Ladies, why aren't you flocking to Wismer?

We can ask the same of a big chunk of Democrats. From September to October, the number of Democrats voting for Daugaard has risen from 23% to 32%. A third of my fellow travelers are voting for the Republican incumbent, the leader of the corrupt one-part regime in Pierre and part owner of the EB-5 scandal.

Fellow Democrats, fill me in. What possible reason does a Democrat have to vote for Dennis Daugaard instead of a Democratic challenger who could upset the balance of power and challenge the Legislature to create a better budget?


Dennis Daugaard had absolutely nothing to do with the flood of corruption that took place in the Governor's Office of Economic Development and Mike Rounds's EB-5 program. Absolutely nothing whatsoever.

But when it comes to real floods on the Missouri, you'd think Governor Daugaard was Moses parting the waters:

The Governor really did a hell of a job. He was always there, he was always... around. I was glad that he was able to get out on the dike and look it over and see what everybody was going through [Zay Norman, campaign video for Dennis Daugaard, 2014.09.19].

Just what job did the Governor do during the floods? This ad talks about the flooding in the Fort Pierre area in 2011. But let's go downriver and look at the Incident Action Plan Organization Assessment List for June 13, 2011:

Dakota Dunes Flood Org Asgn List 2011Incident commander Joe Lowe, deputy Gregg Smith... hmmm, I don't see Dennis Daugaard's job on there anywhere. The chart doesn't list "walking on dike and seeing what's going on" as a job.

I know, I know, "captain of the ship." But South Dakota Republicans seem awfully selective these days about the ships they claim to have captained.


Friend of the blog Lanny Stricherz offers this guest column to explain that GOP Senate candidate Mike Rounds and Governor Dennis Daugaard own a record of economic development failure and corruption much larger than the EB-5 scandal.

*   *   *

We had a chance to remove the Rounds–Daugaard team from South Dakota politics during the primary in June, but passed on that opportunity. So now we are faced with the option of doing so in November. Will we take that opportunity this time, or are we still going to give them a pass on their utter disregard for the citizens of South Dakota?

The list of failed economic development projects, which wasted our tax dollars, goes much further than the EB-5 Northern Beef Packers bankruptcy, which cost more than a 160 million dollars, as well as more than 400 jobs lost. Among the failed economic development projects in which these two Governors invested state dollars and state employee working hours, are:

  1. CAFO dairy operations, two of which went bankrupt and at least one of which employed illegal immigrants not locals for the jobs as mandated by EB-5, and the others continue to pollute our lakes and streams, and only hurt the small dairy farmers in our state.
  2. The Big Stone II coal burner power plant, which after being fought for by our governor for years, was dumped by Minnesota's PUC as damaging the air and water surrounding it.
  3. The Basin Electric coal burning power plant in Selby failed for the same reason.
  4. The Keystone Pipeline, environmentally damaging, and bleeding 38 million dollars from South Dakota taxpayers.
  5. The Keystone XL pipeline which was originally approved by the Public Utilities Commission, but whose permits from South Dakota have now expired. This was caused by the delays in approval because of awareness of its potential to damage the Ogallala aquifer, the largest aquifer in the US and which serves the southwestern quarter of our state.
  6. Anderson Seeds, which cheated South Dakota farmers out of millions of dollars when it went bankrupt.
  7. The Hyperion oil refinery and coal burning power plant which the Governor was promoting as the Gorilla Project for a couple of years.
  8. South Dakota Children's Home Society, which siphoned off millions of taxpayer dollars while Dennis Daugaard was Lieutenant Governor and still employed by SDCH, in no-bid contracts and in violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.
  9. Another no-bid contract of 5 million dollars to Manpower to recruit 1000 new employees in 3 years. It only got 83 in the first year.
  10. State funding of a jobs training program, which trains workers at area vo-techs. Many of the welders trained at Mitchell then fled the State to work in North Dakota in the oil fields at double the pay. (Jobs training used to be and in most cases is the responsibility of the employer, certainly not government.)

While All of this waste was/is happening Governor Rounds cut education funding 5%, and then after not answering questions about education funding during the 2010 campaign, Dennis Daugaard cut it by 6 1/2% in the 2011 legislative session. Now, Governor Daugaard is turning down tens if not hundreds of millions of federal dollars by not expanding medicaid to cover those who are working but make too much to be below the poverty level but not enough to get a subsidy to purchase their own health insurance, simply because he is opposed to Obamacare which his friend Mike Rounds helped establish.

Speaking to the Pennington County Republican Ambassadors Luncheon on the day after the 2010 election, Dennis Daugaard is quoted by Kevin Woster in the Rapid City Journal, "In their hearts, South Dakotans usually do what's right," he said. "And they don't need the government to tell them what's right."

Including Mike Rounds there are four choices for US Senator. Including Dennis Daugaard, there are three choices for Governor.

Let's hope that the voters do what is right on November 4th.

—Lanny Stricherz, guest column, submitted 2014.10.05


It took Mike Rounds five months to come up with answers to the questions Bob Mercer submitted to him in May concerning Joop Bollen's EB-5 visa investment scam. Amidst repeating eight times that he was not involved in the "transactional details" of a program that was crucial to his legacy-building Northern Beef Packers project, Rounds throws this grenade into his own foxhole:

[Bob Mercer]: In March 2013, Gov. Daugaard's office received a federal grand jury subpoena. Were you the target of any part of that subpoena? If so, for what purpose?

[Mike Rounds]: No. And, I believe the federal subpoena should be made public. So Attorney General Marty Jackley has repeatedly stated that I was [not] a target of the investigation. Eight separate law enforcement and investigatory agencies have reviewed various aspects of this case. Local, state and federal authorities have worked cooperatively. And yet, the U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson maintains his silence. The federal subpoena was delivered to the state in March or April of 2013, Governor Daugaard notified SD Attorney General Marty Jackley a short time later, the SD attorney general concluded his investigation in October 2013 — almost a year ago. The U.S. Attorney, Brendan Johnson, has had this file longer than anyone — despite the SD Attorney General concluding his investigation almost a year ago. The U.S. Attorney should release the federal subpoena [emphasis mine; Bob Mercer, "Rounds Answers Reporter's Questions on EB-5 Scandal," Black Hills Pioneer, 2014.10.02].

Notice that if Rounds were just answering the question, he could have stopped at "No." But Rounds then returns to this strange SDGOP obsession with a U.S. Attorney who is not on the ballot. Rounds and the GOP are like the bullies shooting spitwads at the smart kid in study hall who's just sitting quietly at his desk doing his homework, trying to goad the smart kid into doing something stupid that gets him in trouble and keeps the teacher from noticing what the smirking bullies are up to.

Round also misses one key fact. A subpoena involves at least two parties. Brendan Johnson is the subpoena-er. The state is the subpeona-ee. Governor Daugaard or Nila Novotny or somebody in the Capitol received that subpoena on our behalf last March. Now I know Mike says folks in the Governor's office are kind of bad at keeping the boss up to speed on such legal matters, but I'm sure someone in the Capitol has the subpoena says should be made public.

I agree wholeheartedly with Mike Rounds that the federal subpoena that Governor Daugaard announced last year should be made public. I think all eight of the subpoenas relating to the federal investigation of Rounds and Daugaard's EB-5 program and who knows what else should be made public. And Rounds's buddy and ticketmate Governor Daugaard could make that happen right now.

("Thanks, Mike," Governor Daugaard is muttering under his breath.)


Governor Dennis Daugaard has declared October "Archives Month" in South Dakota:

“Archival institutions have a responsibility to collect, organize, preserve and make available records that document the history of the state of South Dakota and the plains region for the education and appreciation of present and future generations,” Gov. Daugaard noted in the proclamation.

“October is a chance for South Dakotans to recognize the importance of archives and historical records,” noted Chelle Somsen, state archivist for the South Dakota State Historical Society at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. “There are county, municipal, university and private archives as well as the State Archives and each of these organizations contain historical records that document the rich history of our state” [State of South Dakota, press release, 2014.10.01].

However, the state will delete all record of Archives Month 30 days after its conclusion.


Northern Plains News reports that Democrats Susan Wismer and Corinna Robinson have not moved their poll needles since July. Nielson Brothers Polling surveyed over 600 likely voters from September 21 to September 25 and found the races for Governor and House looking statistically identical to the results two months ago:

Nielson percentages July Sept
Daugaard 53 53
Wismer 29 28
Myers 7 10
undecided 12 9
Noem 54 55
Robinson 37 37
undecided 10 9

Evidently Wismer's takedown of Governor Daugaard at Dakotafest went unnoticed by the electorate. So has anything else she or Robinson has done during or since the August fair ramp-up of the campaign.

Independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers's climb to 10% could be noteworthy as his first post-primary double-digit polling. But the three-point climb from Nielsons' July poll is still within the margin of error, meaning we can read no momentum into the result.

Nielson Brothers Polling has been branded a Democratic-leaning polling firm. It is thus interesting (or disheartening, depending on your inclinations) to see that NBP consistently scores Wismer, Robinson, and their Senate field counterpart Rick Weiland lower than the Survey USA poll published earlier this month.

Meanwhile, in Iowa, the Jim Mowrer campaign is crowing about a transportation union poll that shows the Democrat just three points under his incumbent Republican wingnut opponent Rep. Steve King. Managing Mowrer's aspiring campaign is Ben Nesselhuf, who used to run the South Dakota Democratic Party.


At the end of the Mike Rounds Administration, South Dakota's cost of living was 98.5% of the national average.

At the end of the second quarter of this year, South Dakota's cost of living was 100.8% of the national average. In our region, living is cheaper in Nebraska, Iowa, Wyoming, and Montana.

Thus, according to data from the Council for Community and Economic Research posted by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, under Governor Dennis Daugaard, the relative cost of living in South Dakota has increased by more than two percentage points, to within one percentage point of the cost of living in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Any number of factors could have contributed to this increase in the cost of living, like lack of local food production and manufacturing increasing our reliance on imported goods, or perhaps low wages depressing economic growth and business creation to spur competition. But since our candidates like to take credit for investment and imaginary jobs. Will Governor Daugaard take credit for raising the cost of living in South Dakota?

Second Quarter 2014 Cost of Living
State Rank Index Grocery Housing Utilities Transport Heath Misc
Mississippi 1 86.2 90.1 71.8 86.8 94.9 91.3 91.8
Tennessee 2 89.3 93.5 76.3 91.8 93.8 89.4 95.4
Idaho 3 90 93.1 75 85.7 100.8 101.1 96
Oklahoma 4 90.6 92.6 79.5 95.2 94.4 95.5 94.9
Indiana 5 90.9 92.3 79.6 94.6 100.2 94.8 94
Utah 6 91.6 96.9 86.1 88.7 94.4 92 93.7
Arkansas 7 91.8 91.4 83.9 96.1 90.7 87.1 98
Kentucky 8 92 93.9 78.1 98.5 101.8 92.6 96.5
Michigan 9 92.1 94.8 80.3 97.3 100.2 95.1 95
New Mexico 10 92.1 94.6 77.4 89.5 100.9 98.8 99
Nebraska 11 92.3 97.2 82.9 97.1 95.5 97.3 94.2
Alabama 12 92.4 99.8 79.4 100.6 95 86.9 96.9
Texas 13 92.5 90.1 84.3 94.2 96.7 94.7 97.4
Kansas 14 92.5 94.4 84.6 96.8 94.2 97.4 95.3
Iowa 15 92.8 94.5 87.2 90.7 96.6 96.8 95
Georgia 16 92.9 100.9 80.3 93.7 97.7 95.8 97
Missouri 17 93.4 98.9 79.4 106.2 95.7 98 96.9
Wyoming 18 94 96.6 95.2 99.4 91.6 98.8 90.6
Louisiana 19 94 98.1 88.1 91.1 96 95.3 97
Ohio 20 94.3 99.9 83 100 101.1 96.5 96.2
South Carolina 21 95.7 105.4 81.4 106.1 94.3 98.3 99.8
West Virginia 22 96 95.2 94.6 91.4 100.2 97.3 96.9
Illinois 23 96.2 96.8 92.5 94.4 105.9 101.4 94.8
North Carolina 24 97 103 86.1 100 98.5 106.5 100.2
Virginia 25 97.1 97.2 92 103.4 92.8 99 100.4
Wisconsin 26 97.5 98 88.7 98.9 102.2 109.9 100.2
Montana 27 99.4 102.9 111.6 87.9 86.2 105.1 96.1
Florida 28 99.8 103.6 95.1 102 103.1 98.3 100.1
Arizona 29 100 100.9 100.5 97 98.4 101.9 100.5
Nevada 30 100.8 106.7 95.6 86.5 106.6 96.7 105.1
South Dakota 31 100.8 103.1 104.5 96.9 92.6 98.6 101.4
Colorado 32 101.2 96.1 110.9 91 99.4 103.7 99
North Dakota 33 101.4 103.4 105.2 92.3 101.2 107.9 99.2
Minnesota 34 101.6 105.5 97.1 87.4 100.7 104.5 107.9
Pennsylvania 35 101.9 102.7 98.7 110 100.5 96 103.1
Washington 36 104.2 101.8 110 87.2 106.4 115.7 103.2
Delaware 37 105.4 108.7 96 114 103 100.8 110.4
Maine 38 108.1 96.8 118.5 83.6 107.8 122 110
New Hampshire 39 114.8 100.9 125.2 124.7 97.4 119 115.3
Maryland 40 117.5 108.6 170.6 100.9 101.6 90.9 94.1
Vermont 41 117.6 103.7 140.4 124 107.9 108.1 108.5
Rhode Island 42 122.4 108.2 135.1 124.8 104 119.2 124.9
Oregon 43 123.8 113.8 158.9 91.9 113.3 115.5 114.9
New Jersey 44 124 103.7 160.5 114.4 107.4 105.4 115.4
Massachusetts 45 124.1 109.3 153.6 116.5 108.6 113.5 116.5
California 46 127.8 115.3 176.1 111.9 115.8 111.7 106.4
New York 47 131.8 111.7 189.8 106.5 111.3 105.1 113.7
Alaska 48 132.2 130.5 149.4 160.1 108.6 144.6 118
District of Columbia 49 138.2 108.7 242.5 96.6 103.7 97.7 99.5
Connecticut 50 141.6 115.1 204.4 128.8 117 107.9 121.2
Hawaii 51 158.9 157.4 206 224.9 125.3 113.3 122

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