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Kloucek Redistricting Plan: Local Support, Fairer Representation

My post on Representative Frank Kloucek's proposal to amend the Republican redistricting plan elicited disagreement from frequent commenter Troy Jones. Mr. Jones contends that Kloucek's amendment to avoid splitting his home county of Bon Homme between two districts is not altruistic: he says Kloucek benefits from greater home-field advantage by keeping more of his Bon Homme neighbors in his bailiwick. I maintain that Kloucek's home-field advantage is watered down by the challenge of facing two Republican incumbents, including fellow Bon Hommer Ed Van Gerpen, instead of just one.

It probably doesn't matter what district we put Kloucek in; the indomitable campaigner from Scotland can turn any part of any county into a home-field advantage by going door to door with a big box of kolaches.

Rep. Kloucek himself provides us a great breakfast treat with his own take on why the legislature should not split Bon Homme County:

Fellow Legislators:

The proposal to split Bon Homme County has our residents concerned. We have resolutions of support for keeping Bon Homme County intact from the County Commissioners, Mayors and City Councils of Springfield and Avon Letters of support from Mayors of Scotland and Tabor and petitions signed by over 300 people. I ask that you support the plan to keep Bon Homme County with Hutchinson Douglas and McCook counties. Charles Mix Aurora Jerald Tripp and Gregory would form another district and Davison would be with Hansen County. There is no need to split any counties with this amendment which will be offered on the floor. Please vote for this common sense amendment to keep our rural counties intact. This past week Bon Homme County hosted Tourism director Jim Hagen. All five towns chamber of commerce's are cooperating on tourism development which is fantastic. What happens when the county is split as proposed? This is yet another reason to keep the county intact.

There are many more reasons for keeping a county intact, Integrity of elections, confusion with ballots, confusion at the ballot box, election worker concerns, possible loss of local representation, and many more. Our Auditor and others from Bon Homme County are coming to visit with you and other legislators on Monday. Please welcome them and support their efforts in any way possible.

Thank you in advance for your support. This proposal would be more than a fairness issue. It is the right thing to do. Thanks and again I ask for your support and vote to keep our county intact [Rep. Frank Kloucek, comment on Madville Times, 2011.10.22].

Whatever Kloucek's motives, he makes a good case. Even if Jones is right, even if keeping Bon Homme whole totally serves Kloucek's electoral interests, it also happens to be what a lot of people in Bon Homme County want. It keeps elections simple and preserves a sense of local community identity.

Rep. Van Gerpen has endorsed Kloucek's plan. So has Bon Homme County auditor Tammy Brunken. Kloucek's plan actually reduces (by over 40%!) the variance in population among the three districts covering the eleven counties affected by his plan.

Kloucek has produced a plan that does his home county some good and does no apparent harm to anyone else. Let's show some bonhomie to Bon Homme and pass it.


  1. Troy Jones 2011.10.22

    Split any county and the argument is the same. Don't split BH, and you will have to split more counties.

  2. joeboo22 2011.10.22

    The part of the county that would be split from Frank is the most conservative parts of the county. I don't know if the Avon area has ever voted for Frank, and Springfield is so-so in supporting Frank. The only argument about spliting Bon Homme is that it has never been split or at least not in a long time.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.10.22

    No, Troy, reread the YPD article. Unless I'm missing something, Kloucek's domino redraw doesn't split any other county. Plus it brings districts 19, 20, and 21 closer in numbers.

  4. LK 2011.10.22


    I'm honestly not trying to goad anyone into a long drawn out argument, so I hope you will take this as a serious query.

    It seems to me that the Republican goal is to reduce Democratic representation in the legislature by 1/2 to 1/3. Given that Republicans already dominate both chambers and the executive offices, why is decimating the opposition good policy?

    Even state government needs checks and balances. Oligarchy never struck me as desirable, but that system seems to be the SDGOP's goal.

    Finally, although it's totally hypothetical assumption, I believe I'd be a lot less concerned if the margins in the legislature and executive were 55% to 45% and these lines were being drawn.

  5. Troy Jones 2011.10.22

    I don't think it is good policy if I thought it was really possible. I like strong parties as I think they help police the system.

    The ability to concentrate by party is hard to do. I hear it all the time but the minority party never has presented me an analysis by distrcit which shows it was done. They make the accusation but never present hard numbers. If there were hard numbers, I think we'd see them.

    And, when you look at the amazing fidelity to county boundaries, if it occurred, it was more by coincidence.

    Give me a statewide analysis (not just one or two districts that support a particular point of view) and I'll look at it. Otherwise, I'll dismiss it as an attempt to gain political points.

  6. Troy Jones 2011.10.22


    You are correct according to the article. Other counties in the Southeast appear not to be split. Does the change have a domino affect other places? The article is silent on it.

  7. LK 2011.10.22

    Thanks for the reply. I haven't looked at all of the changes closely. I do know that the Democrats in the northeastern South Dakota seem to be clustered in a way that eliminates one or two of them, and Kloucek seems to believe that he's targeted for elimination according to the P&D article.

    You may well be right that it's a coincidence; if so, it's an unfortunate one. Like you, I believe that strong opposition parties are necessary. I might like to see a couple more of them, but that's a topic for another day.

  8. Stace Nelson 2011.10.22

    Frankly speaking, what a mess.

    @LK, you give the SDGOP credit where none is due. The obvious lack of concerted consideration for all incumbent Republican legislators is proof in the map under consideration and in the concerns expressed by an apparent pro-life voter

    Should be an interesting Monday.

  9. Bill Fleming 2011.10.22

    The whole notion of pitting Mr. Klouchek against Mt. Nelson is living, existential, empirical proof of two things in South Dakota:

    1. That all politics is local and,
    2. That our SD Legislators have a peculiar sense of humor.

  10. LK 2011.10.22

    I skimmed the post; I'm not going to get into an abortion discussion here or anywhere else on the interwebs. Such discussions create heat not light.

    When a party has a 50-19 advantage in the House and a 30-5 advantage in the Senate, I don't how anyone could have avoided having Republicans face off against each other when district lines are being redrawn. That being said, I'm sure the SDGOP party chair was heard from as the new district lines were being determined.

    I spent 5 years in what Cory calls the Bison Lemmon metroplex. At the time I lived there, I don't know if there was a more conservative area of the state. Things may have changed, but the conservatives there held a belief in God, country, family, and fealty to county in equal esteem. Looking at the lines and listening to some of the discussions, I thought that the county line doctrine was being adhered to in a, for lack of a better word at the moment, fundamentalist fashion.

    Judging from your remarks, it looks as if Monday will provide some political entertainment.

    By the way, I don't remember who supported Rep. Hickey's anti-usury measure last session; if you and he are both re-elected, will you support it this session?

  11. Stace Nelson 2011.10.22

    @Bill I would call Rep. Kloucek a Conservative Democrat and a heck of a campaigner. Folks on both sides of the aisle would be well served to take some notes.

    @LK I am not sure if Rep. Hickey will bring such a bill this January or not. It will depend on the bill. I am not a fan of high interest rates; however, I also believe South Dakotans have the right to make up their own minds on the issue.

  12. Bill Fleming 2011.10.22

    Stace. Yes, Frank's a great campaigner (a group of us helped him with his first one way back in the day. I only met him briefly, but remember him well even so.).

    And his collection of neckties is the bomb, I'm told.

    Plus, anybody who loves and promotes kolaches the way he does is a SD force to be reckoned with.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.10.23

    Troy, as I understand it, the Kloucek amendment touches only those three districts discussed. It calls for no changes in any other districts.

    You are right that the GOP map does a pretty good job of sticking to county boundaries. It de-gerrymanders Moody County in District 8. Most of the crazy wiggles are in the crowded urban areas, as is to be expected. Kloucek's plan only increases the fidelity to county boundaries.

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