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Draft Matt Varilek for Congress, Say Facebook Supporters

Matt Varilek, Congressional staffer, potential Democratic U.S. House candidate from South Dakota
Matt Varilek

Speaking of using the Web for politics, my Facebook updates are buzzing with notes on the new "Draft Matt Varilek for Congress" page. Mr. Varilek has made no declaration, but his name has surfaced among the chattering classes. Premier chatterer Kevin Woster has deemed Varilek "the most likely and perhaps most formidable" candidate we Dems could throw at Congresswoman Kristi Noem next year.

Jeff Barth, Minnehaha County Commissioner, potential Democratic candidate for U.S. House from South Dakota in 2012
Jeff Barth

It's a bit early for anyone's teeth to start chattering over a Facebook primary, but as of this writing, the Draft Varilek page has 182 "Likes." Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth has signaled his intent to challenge Noem for her seat next year. The "Jeff Barth for Congress" Facebook group has 60 members. (Remember: "Likes" and "Members" are likely totally different statistical beasts.)

Don't forget that the party line appears to be "We want Stephanie!" Yet Chairman Nesselhuf's pre-primary endorsement seems not to have trickled down to all online members of the party. And I don't see a "Draft Stephanie!" page on Facebook yet (but Facebook search really stinks!).

I would welcome such a page, and a couple others from candidates, or at least candidates' boosters, who want to put forth the strongest challenge possible for South Dakota's lone House seat in 2012. A vigorous primary seems not to have hindered the GOP's ability to win in 2010; arguably, it helped latecomer Kristi Noem get some momentum in press and donations. Even if SHS jumps in with her frontrunner advantages in recognition and cash, we Dems could make great use of a primary to vet our candidates, test messages, educate voters, and find out what the electorate really wants.


  1. Guy 2011.07.07

    DRAFT STEPHANIE! I want her back doing great things for South Dakota. Six months has been long enough. Also STEPH for SENATE in 2014!

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.07.07

    Guy, if you want SHS in Senate in 2014, how about using 2012 to establish another viable Dem in the race against Noem, backed with SHS money, then have both that Dem (Varilek, Barth, someone else?) and SHS leading the ticket in 2014? Synergy?

  3. Guy 2011.07.07

    Yes, that is a great idea. I doubt Tim Johnson is hanging around for a 4th term in the Senate. Besides, we seem to have an unwritten eletoral rule in South Dakota about trying for the 4th term in the Senate: it has not happened since "King" Karl Mundt. McGovern, Pressler, and Daschle all didn't make it past 3 terms. So, Steph is the logical and best choice. Frankly, I don't know who to run for the House next time around. Is Brendan Johnson at all interested in the governorship in 2014?

  4. shane gerlach 2011.07.07

    By 2014 I would think that Mitch Fargen or Angie Buhl would be ready to test the waters.

  5. Guy 2011.07.07

    ...then, there is Mayor Mike Huether of Sioux Falls.

  6. john 2011.07.07

    Isn't Varilek a former Johnson staffer ? I know I can't support Barth. He has been more of a R on the county commission

  7. Mike Quinlivan 2011.07.07

    Jeff Barth is a former meighbor of mine, and a fine man. He would have a lot of work to do, but he is dedicated, and will work hard. And win or lose, he will fly the Dem flag.

  8. Brett Hoffman 2011.07.07

    Matt V is a current Johnson staffer and I'm convinced he'd be a very good candidate. Click on Cory's facebook link for a little more biography if you're interested.

  9. Sara B. 2011.07.07

    Just for clarification, he is the director of economic development for Tim.

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