Hot off the KJAM press: Roy Lindsay has taken out petitions to run for mayor of Madison. Fortunately not deterred from politics after his defeat at the polls just three months ago in the District 8 House race, Lindsay joins a bubbling field of petitioneers considering filling the old loafers of outgoing Mayor Gene Hexom. Subway sandwich slinger Lindsay will compete for signatures and maybe votes with basketball-eyed Sioux Falls booster Myron Moen, DSU freshman Paul Michael Weist, and DSU bookstore manager Dale Davis.

Lindsay's entry into the race does not dampen my hopes that we'll see at least one more candidate enter the fray: Ashley Kenneth Allen. The first petition splashes got Allen thinking about it. Win or lose, candidate Allen would bring a vigor and modern, expansive perspective to the mayoral campaign that Madison hasn't heard yet this century. Let's mix it up: the more the merrier!

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David Montgomery says Secretary of State Jason Gant's new campaign finance system still gives him fits. Yes, it's an improvement over the old paper system, but it's still a pain in the neck for users, especially for the candidates who count on this system to file their legally required data.

Roy Lindsay likely feels that way this fine election morning. The Democratic District 8 House candidate did not have a campaign finance report on file by the October 26 deadline. Secretary Jason Gant himself said that he had received no pre-general campaign finance report from the Lindsay campaign as of yesterday morning. Team Lindsay swore to me last week that they had filed it.

It's there now, dated yesterday, November 5. Lindsay has $8,687.81 on hand, mostly his own money, after spending a meager $1,792.19 so far. At least $250 of that will go to Secretary Gant as the penalty for not filing on time.

But it's hard to tell if the screw-up was really Lindsay's or the system's. Consider this cotemporaneous tale of Gant-tastic computer adventures:

I hear another person who runs a PAC (runs it? I think he is a PAC... but that's a whole nother blog post) was trying to file a supplemental report yesterday. PACs and other committees have 48 hours to file those reports from the time of the receipt of big chunks of cash; if they fail to meet that deadline, they face a Class 1 misdemeanor penalty, which can be a year in jail and a $2000 fine.

So PAC-man's clearly motivated to file that paper pronto. He logs into his account on the Secretary of State's website. He's looking for the button to file "Supplemental." Button, button, button... no button. I haven't filed reports on the new system, so I don't know if there's a supplemental report button or not. But PAC-man says there was one and that it disappeared from his account. He's got a time-sensitive document and the button that would have allowed him to file it has gone poof? That's a hair-raiser!

PAC-man called and got help: the Secretary of State's office advised simply printing a form and faxing it in, as apparently have other committees with last-minute contributions to report. There's just one more flaw in Secretary Gant's online jalopy: during the busiest time of the campaign, the system does not allow online filing of the most time-sensitive document required by the campaign finance system.

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I managed to watch the final District 8 Legislative candidates' forum this weekend, courtesy of KJAM's diligent election videography.

Here's what I learned:

  1. Charlie Johnson could have become a lawyer. In his introduction, Johnson said he was accepted into USD's law school but turned that down to work as a small-farm advocate.
  2. The man Johnson wants to replace, Senator Russell Olson, doesn't understand the disconnect between what he says and what he does on education. He says he's deeply concerned about raising teacher pay. He says he opposes Initiated Measure 15 because it doesn't guarantee that the new revenue goes to teachers. He says he supports Referred Law 16 because it is the first time he and his fellow legislators have made an effort to pay great teachers more. But Russ, if paying teachers more is such a priority for you, why didn't you get around to it until the sixth year of your time in Pierre?
  3. Leslie Heinemann isn't a complete GOP tool. Instead of the vague, evidenceless claims that Senator Olson and fellow House candidate Gene Kroger make for Governor Daugaard's education agenda, Heinemann admits his reservations about the bonus program for teachers. He says he can "discriminate" in his small business and pay more to the employees he thinks are working hard. He recognizes, however, that it's difficult to impose the private business model on public schools.
  4. Charlie Johnson sums up Referred Law 16's merit pay plank best: "I don't cultivate, fertilize, and harvest only 20% of my acres. I take care of all my acres. That's the way we have to do education, take care of all of education." He says Russ and the Governor are using Referred Law 16 as a "diversion tactic" to keep us from focusing on the real problem if their neglect of K-12 education funding.
  5. Amendment M is not going to pass, and even Russ Olson doesn't care. He says the amendment on corporate voting and regulation would create a more business-friendly climate in South Dakota—and when Russ says "business-friendly," he means crony-capitalist. But Russ acknowledges that there hasn't been much effort to educate the public on the merits of M, so he appears to shrug at its prospects, as did most other candidates at the podium.
  6. As I expected, Gene Kroger is least equipped to deal with policy issues. On Initiated Measure 15, while the other candidates addressed the regressive nature of the sales tax, the size of the proposed increase (excellent rebuttal from Roy Lindsay, explaining that IM15 is not the largest tax increase in South Dakota history), and the merits of spending the money on K-12 education and Medicaid, Kroger reverted to his Grumpy Old Party talk about inflation and how he has to pay twice as much for his pork and beans. Note to Gene: under President Barack Obama, monthly inflation has averaged 1.6%. Under President George W. Bush, it was 2.8%. From 1914 to 2008, it was 3.4%.
  7. Asked about rising student debt, Kroger again shrugged his grumpy old shoulders and said students have to "decide if this is what I want to do and do I want to pay the price to do it." He asserted that South Dakota tuition is lower and students have less debt than in other states, which is GOP code for "Quit your bellyaching." It's also only one-third true. South Dakota graduates have the median student debt in the country, which happens to be less than the national average. But South Dakota has the second-highest percentage (76%) of students graduating with debt. And given that our wages are the second-lowest in the nation, those students have an even harder time paying off their debt.
  8. All six candidates expressed their eagerness to use government to create jobs by protecting and expanding Dakota State University. Senator Olson confirmed that he is hoping to arrange for the state to acquire the current Madison Community Hospital property when that organization builds its new facility on the south side of Madison.
  9. While Russ Olson thinks getting DSU more land and buildings will help the university, Charlie Johnson says that if we want students to fill those buildings, we need to find more state support to keep tuition affordable. 

On the whole, if you have to pick a Republican in District 8. He at least shows signs of critical thinking that go beyond what Fox News or Governor Daugaard tell him to think.

But the joy of living in District 8 is that you do not have to pick a Republican. You have a full slate of Democratic candidates. Charlie Johnson, Scott Parsley, and Roy Lindsay will legislate with more concern for the common good and sensible, evidence-based policy than their Republican counterparts.

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In South Dakota, if you fail to timely file your campaign finance forms, you face a $50 daily fine. In Utah, you get kicked off the ballot:

The office of Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell says Brent L. Andrews of Sunset — a Democratic candidate for State Senate District 20 — failed to file a campaign financial disclosure form before the 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline, so he will be disqualified from the election as required by law.

...Mark Thomas, state elections director for Bell, said his office was on the phone with Andrews shortly before the deadline urging him to file quickly. "He argued with us that the deadline wasn't until next week and hung up," Thomas said. "So we're going to pull the trigger" on removing him from the ballot [Lee Davidson, "Utah Democrat Kicked off the Ballot," Salt Lake Tribune, October 30, 2012].

I haven't reviewed all of the South Dakota campaign finance filings, but I see one glaring blank: there is still no pre-general filing from the Roy J. Lindsay for House campaign. I spoke with the District 8 candidate's treasurer, and he didn't hang up: he says he filed the report by last Friday's deadline and is puzzled as to why Secretary of State Jason Gant hasn't posted it yet. I have found the U.S. Postal Service more reliable than Secretary Gant, so I wouldn't pull the trigger just yet on telling Roy to start cutting fifty-dollar checks.

Bob Mercer agrees: the Secretary of State's office does such sloppy web work that we can't tell just days before the election if we should be holding candidates accountable for errors or if we should be roasting Jason Gant for further incompetence.

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Friday, October 26 was the deadline for all South Dakota candidates to submit their pre-general election campaign finance reports to the Secretary of State's office. Here's the data for the District 8 Senate and House candidates:

District 8 Pre-general campaign finance 2012

(click to enlarge!)

The Senate race is a swamper: Heartland Consumer Power District's permanent lobbyist Russell Olson outpaces farmer Charlie Johnson 13 to 1 in campaign contributions, 6 to 1 in ad spending, 9 to 1 in total expenditures, and 104 to 1 in cash on hand. Charlie, you have a lot of knocking and handshaking to do this week!

The House race is tighter in dollar terms. I can't give a complete report yet, since Roy Lindsay's report is not yet available (there's a paper copy in the mail, right, Roy?). I'll update that as soon as Sec. Gant does. But from the reports in the hopper, we see that while Scott Parsley has raised $4,800 more than Leslie Heinemann, Heinemann has out-advertised Parsley by $12,800. Yet Parsley's cash-on-hand advantage is just $2,600.

Where has Parsley's money gone? In a sign of either Democrat selflessness or self-confidence, Parsley has given $14,100 to other candidates around South Dakota, $4,000 more than he has spent on himself:

Campaign/Committee receiving donations from Parsley for House campaign Date Amount Type
BILL ANTONIDES FOR HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 10/01/2012 $500.00 SD House of Representatives
HAUSMAN FOR HOUSE 10/01/2012 $500.00 SD House of Representatives
HAWKS FOR HOUSE 10/01/2012 $750.00 SD House of Representatives
KLOUCEK FOR SENATE COMMITTEE 10/01/2012 $100.00 SD Senate
MAYNARD J. KONECHNE 10/01/2012 $500.00 SD House of Representatives
SOUTH DAKOTA DEMOCRATIC PARTY 10/01/2012 $11,750.90 Political Party

Meanwhile, Heinemann has kicked a hundred bucks toward 8-mate Kroger's campaign.

While raising just 38% of Senator Olson's obscene haul, Parsley has spread 58% more green love to his party and fellow candidates. Here's how Olson has thrown his love around so far this fall:

Campaign/Committee receiving contributions from Olson for Senate campaign Date Amount Type
CHICOINE FOR SENATE 10/04/2012 $500.00 SD Senate
CHRISTINE ERICKSON FOR HOUSE 06/14/2012 $250.00 SD House of Representatives
FRIENDS OF DAN LEDERMAN 10/04/2012 $1,000.00 SD Senate
FRIENDS OF KENT JUHNKE 10/04/2012 $1,000.00 SD Senate
GENE KROGER FOR HOUSE 09/18/2012 $500.00 SD House of Representatives
JOHN S MEYER FOR SENATE DIST 21 10/04/2012 $500.00 SD Senate
OMDAHL FOR STATE SENATE 09/17/2012 $500.00 SD Senate
OTTEN FOR SENATE 09/17/2012 $500.00 SD Senate
ROMNEY FOR PRESIDENT, INC. 09/25/2012 $1,000.00 Other Committees
RUSHMORE PAC 10/04/2012 $500.00 Political Action Committee
RUSHMORE PAC 10/13/2011 $50.00 Other Committees
SHANTEL KREBS FOR SENATE 10/04/2012 $500.00 SD Senate
SOHOLT FOR DISTRICT 14 SENATE 09/17/2012 $500.00 SD Senate
SOUTH DAKOTA RETAILERS ASSOCIATION PAC 09/28/2012 $125.00 Political Action Committee
VAN GERPEN FOR STATE SENATE 10/04/2012 $1,000.00 SD Senate
VOTERS FOR MILES 10/04/2012 $500.00 SD Senate

Both Parsley and Olson are working to build their party as well as their own political fortunes. But the amount Olson is spending on himself suggests that he perceives a much greater threat to his continued grip on power than Charlie Johnson's bankroll would suggest.

But wait! Russell Olson makes up that love-spreading gap with his Leading South Dakota PAC. Check out these contributions:

Campaign/Committee receiving contributions from Russell Olson's PAC Date Amount Type
CHRIS NELSON FOR PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION 09/01/2012 $250.00 Public Utilities Commission
DEB PETERS FOR SENATE 05/21/2012 $1,000.00 SD Senate
FRIENDS OF BRUCE RAMPELBERG FOR SENATE 05/21/2012 $1,000.00 Political Action Committee
GENE KROGER FOR HOUSE 09/01/2012 $500.00 SD House of Representatives
HEINEMANN FOR SD HOUSE 10/01/2012 $500.00 SD House of Representatives
KRISTI FOR CONGRESS 09/01/2012 $500.00 Other Committees
KRISTIE FIEGEN FOR SOUTH DAKOTA 09/01/2012 $250.00 Public Utilities Commission
MARK JOHNSTON FOR DISTRICT 12 SENATE 05/21/2012 $1,000.00 SD Senate
MICKELSON FOR DISTRICT 13 HOUSE 06/01/2012 $250.00 SD House of Representatives
PETER NORBECK PAC 09/01/2012 $5,000.00 Political Action Committee
SOHOLT FOR DISTRICT 14 SENATE 09/01/2012 $500.00 SD Senate
TOM NELSON CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE 05/21/2012 $1,000.00 SD Senate
WESTRA FOR DISTRICT 13 HOUSE 10/12/2012 $250.00 SD House of Representatives

The $5000 contribution to Mike Rounds's Peter Norbeck PAC gets me scratching my head. Mike Rounds gave Olson's PAC $1,000 last December; his PAC gave RussPAC another $3,000 in August. I'm sure this money-go-round makes sense to someone in Russ's office... but maybe such bookkeeping machinations are why Russ has burned up $2200 in mere administrative expenses.

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The Lake County Democrats are in business! With the big DSU homecoming parade tomorrow, the Dems are opening their new headquarters at one of the best intersections in town, at Washington and North 2nd Street/Highway 34. I'm not sure which part of the location warrants more comedy: situating the Democrats in an old liquor store, or waving the Dems banner across the street from the DSU Foundation, now named after good old local Republican Dale Kringen.

And hey, who's that putting up that banner?

Roy Lindsay at Lake County Dems HQ

Roy Lindsay flies Dem colors at Lake County Dems HQ, Madison, SD

District 8 House candidate Roy Lindsay took a break from making sandwiches at Subway and crossed the street to tack up the Dems banner.

Party chair Joan Stamm at Lake County Democrats HQ -- grand opening Saturday, September 29, 2012, Madison, SD

Party chair Joan Stamm at Lake County Democrats HQ -- grand opening Saturday, September 29, 2012, Madison, SD

There's county party chair Joan Stamm out front. She'll be on hand to greet well-wishers, donors, and voters of all stripes at Saturday's grand opening after the homecoming parade.

President Barack Obama, 2009 Inauguration poster, at Lake County Dems HQ, Madison, SD

President Barack Obama, 2009 Inauguration poster, at Lake County Dems HQ, Madison, SD

That's our President! Team Obama has not sent word that it will be dropping by Lake County Dems HQ or the homecoming parade, but I'm sure Roy, Scott, Charlie, and other great Dems will be there to talk parade and policy with you. Come Saturday, enjoy the parade, and meet your next District 8 legislators!

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Just one candidate, Republican dentist from Flandreau Leslie Heinemann, has filed petitions to run for District 8 House. Incumbent Republican Rep. Patricia Stricherz has signalled she'd like to go back to Pierre for a second term.

Now comes word that a Madison Democrat is ready to join the race. Longtime Madison High School shop teacher and sandwich guru Roy Lindsay is circulating petitions to run for District 8 House.

Lindsay will be a strong candidate in District 8. His long career as a local teacher gives him good name recognition, as well as the best authority possible to talk about the damage the Republican Party has done to our K-12 education system. With Roy in the race, either Leslie or Patricia can count on not going to Pierre next winter.

Roy needs 42 signatures to make the ballot. Folks, why not give Roy a call and help him reach that number this weekend?

No word yet on whether incumbent Democrat Rep. Mitch Fargen from Flandreau wants to take another turn at bat in Pierre. But we can certainly use a good Dem to challenge Senate Majority Leader Russell Olson for his seat. Trust me, Dems: you will enjoy being on the ballot alongside a workhorse like Roy. Go get those petitions!

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