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Varilek Wins Cash, Johnson, Daschle… Herseth Sandlin Next?

Last updated on 2013.04.04

If Jeff Barth gained any advantage from launching his U.S. House campaign early, Matt Varilek has destroyed it. In the five weeks since announcing his candidacy, Varilek has raised over $100,000—maybe a tenth of what Congresskitten Kristi Noem has purred up, but possibly ten times more than what Barth has raised. Varilek has the endorsement of his former boss, Senator Tim Johnson. He has the endorsement of former Senator Tom Daschle.

In little more than a month, Varilek has lined up cash and clout behind his campaign. Barth has lined up YouTube videos... which I like, I really do! But if Barth wants a competitive primary, he'd better start producing names and numbers.

So Jeff, how about seeking Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's endorsement? She's been signalling since last March that she's not terribly interested in a rematch with Noem. Tom Lawrence said just the other day that SHS sounds more focused on being a mom than a candidate. Why not put her idle political capital to good use and endorse a candidate?

Herseth Sandlin has no need to rush into the endorsement game. But Barth had better hope Herseth Sandlin doesn't come out for Varilek; a trifecta of big Dem endorsements would go a long way toward sealing the deal for Varilek.

Bonus Barth Bing: The new study finding that good-looking candidates get more TV time (but not radio and newspaper coverage—oh bless you, sane and unsullied media!) also finds South Dakota does a good job of electing good-lookers, placing Herseth Sandlin and Thune in the top five for beauty in the 2007 Congress analyzed in the study. (And why else would Fox News keep putting do-nothing Noem on the air?) Varilek is just a bit cuter than Barth, wouldn't you say? If we want to keep getting that extra TV time for South Dakota, we are obliged to pick Varilek over Barth, aren't we?


  1. SDprogressive 2012.01.11

    I think that it is interesting how much attention these endorsements are getting, but do they mean anything? Varilek worked with both of these men, they are basically just work friends for him. It isn't like they have weighed both candidates and then selected Varilek as superior. They knew Varilek from the start, Sen. Johnson endorsed Varilek before Varilek even officially announced he'd run. I think that if these endorsements had been made with no prior connection between (employee/employer) they would have real meaning, but given the situation I'm not really that impressed.

  2. mike 2012.01.11

    What these endorsements mean is one thing. Money. Hildebrand, Johnson and Daschle's endorsement will open up pocket books. Dems do not like Noem and they know they can't allow her to go unchallenged or just put a name on a ballot. They must be able to challenge her on tv.

    Varilek might not be ideal but he's going to be better equipped on the issues and money than anyone Herseth faced prior to Noem.

  3. mike 2012.01.11

    The first thing I'd reccomend to varilek is to get out and hold a town hall in the largest cities in the state. And then grill Noem on not holding them. Agree or disagree with Noem or Varilek it doesn't matter it's all about being open to the public.

  4. poliglut 2012.01.11

    Time=money. Money can buy exposure granted by time. Time bought Barth some exposure. Varilek will buy exposure. It is expected: as a Washington insider, Varilek will have money connections that Barth doesn't. Like access to Johnson's contacts and addresses. Is that what we want? More insiders? Or someone without any ties to the current mess? Both are smart men and great candidates. More of the same or someone different? You decide.

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