Last updated on 2011.07.07
We are eight months away from the date South Dakota's 2012 candidates can circulate petitions for office. We are thirteen months away from when parties would choose any competing candidates in their primaries.
But South Dakota Democratic Party chairman Ben Nesselhuf is already making his preference for the U.S. House race clear to the Sioux City Journal—Ben wants Stephanie:
South Dakota Democratic Party Chairman Ben Nesselhuf of Vermillion told me he has "ongoing conversations" with Herseth Sandlin about a possible 2012 run. Nesselhuf wouldn't quantify ongoing with a number or frequency, but said he's not letting the topic die.
"I very much want Stephanie to be my congresswoman again, and I've told her as much," said Nesselhuf, who was a state senator for District 17 until not seeking re-election last fall [Bret Hayworth, "Nesselhuf: Ongoing Talks with Herseth Sandlin on 2012," Sioux City Journal: Politically Speaking, 2011.05.06].
The party chairman appears to be in the interesting position of telling another Democrat, publicly, to step aside. Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth said last month he plans to challenge Congresswoman Kristi Noem for her seat. Barth did say that if Herseth Sandlin runs, he will not. The party chairman seems to be saying that's the outcome he'd prefer. To date, Herseth Sandlin has made no definite statement on the topic.
So I'm curious: Is Nesselhuf trying to smoke out his preferred candidate? And are other South Dakota Democrats to consider themselves on alert that they should direct their 2012 political aspirations to offices other than U.S. House?