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Jeff Barth Makes MSNBC, Emphasizes Equal Rights, Political Class Warfare

Jeff Barth gets more free media, with five minutes on MSNBC with Chuck Todd this morning. Chuck Todd says that on a busy primary Tuesday, he says Barth's video and challenge to Matt Varilek deserve the attention of political junkies nationwide:

Todd asks Barth if the gay-marriage split was a turning point in the campaign. Barth says absolutely and works hard to turn a new phrase:

...I don't believe Matt thought through the whole thing correctly, and with an eye towards the November election he made his decision to support religious rites (r-i-t-e-s) instead of equal rights, and certainly, imnmediately that hurt him amongst Democrats [Jeff Barth, interview with Chuck Todd, The Daily Rundown, 2012.06.04].

Todd suggests that Barth sounds more like an Independent than a Democrat. Barth responds that economic class warfare may be less critical than political class warfare:

...the conflict is not between the upper class, lower class, and middle class. It's between all of us and the political class in Washington, D.C.... They are being bought and sold, we all know that, every day. The question is... when I was listening to your piece on Wisconsin, are we the citizens, are we for sale? As a regular South Dakotan, is he selling his vote to the highest amount of money? I hope not. I'm hoping to fight against that [Barth, 2012.06.04].

Barth closes with a another big-money dig against Varilek:

I'm running as a Democrat with a Democrat's budget of about 60 grand. My opponent is running as a Democrat with a Washington DC budget. I believe I can win in the fall against our incumbent Congresswoman Kristi Noem. I don't believe that my fellow Democrat can [Barth, 2012.06.04].

Careful, Jeff: whoever wins, the loser needs to be ready to come out Wednesday morning and say with total conviction, "Yes, we Dems can beat Noem! Let's do it!" As it stands right now, both Barth and Varilek have unique strengths and weaknesses that give them both an equal underdog shot in November.

Update 12:38 CDT: Tom Lawrence gives a good final profile of the Dem primary race in today's Mitchell Daily Republic. One baseball highlight: Barth says he hears someone's doing push-polls against him. Varilek campaign manager David Benson avers that Team Varilek is "not involved in that" and isn't "doing anything remotely close to that."

Hmmm... don't tell me Governor Daugaard's auto-dialer got hyperactive over the weekend....


  1. grudznick 2012.06.04

    All you libbies that blog here need to get out and vote for Mr. Barth tomorrow. Please.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.04

    Short of some stunning scandal in the morning, I plan to. Anyone joining me?

  3. Barry Smith 2012.06.04

    I might even vote twice :-)

  4. Bill Fleming 2012.06.04

    I voted for Brth today.

  5. Bill Fleming 2012.06.04

    BArth... (come on fingers...)

  6. judy 2012.06.05

    Barth, today (yesterday).

  7. Jimmy Kerr 2012.06.05

    I voted for Barth today as well.

  8. Troy 2012.06.05

    Here is my guess. Barth loses but it is closer than it would have been without the video. In the end, I'll bet not 1,000 South Dakota Democrats saw the video.

  9. Bill Fleming 2012.06.05

    More than that, Troy. At least by a factor of 10.

  10. Troy 2012.06.05

    Bill, you could be right. You have a better handle on YouTube and viral distribution. Do you think it will put him over the top?

  11. Sam Peil 2012.06.05

    I voted Barth today!

  12. PrairieLady 2012.06.05

    Barth got my vote at 12:30 today. I was the 34th voter in my precinct. Sad turn out so far, hopefully alot of voters went after work. Also signed the school petition when I was at the court house.
    Was going to get my drivers license renewed, but at both sites there was a several hour wait, with about 30-35 people ahead of me. Guess people were getting drivers license rather than voting.

  13. grudznick 2012.06.05

    Low turnout favors the crazies.
    I would think that in the Demoprimary, Mr. Barth is the odd-dog, so maybe smaller numbers will help him. I hope he wins, as that will at least give people something to weigh in their minds during the Noem/Barth campaign.

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.05

    My probability is now 100%. Ballot #45 in the Herman/Winfred precinct box is marked for Barth. Funny how my comment section appears to be a happy Barth echo chamber (even Troy likes him—you know you do, friend! convert now!). Are there any pockets of blog ruckus for Varilek today?

  15. grudznick 2012.06.05

    Go, Mr. Barth, Go!
    Polls probably closed by now over there. Get counting, counters, and let us know.

  16. Bill Fleming 2012.06.05

    Troy, I don't know. I hope so. It's going to be an interesting night. And it's about time we Dems provided a little excitement, don't you think?

    (p.s. I predict if Barth wins, it will be because the Indys [aka ex-republicans] embraced him. That's the number I'm most curious about.)

  17. Bill Fleming 2012.06.05

    Ooops! Forgot to capitalize 'Republicans.' Don't get pissed at me Troy, it was a typo. LOL.

  18. Barry Smith 2012.06.05

    Cory your the only blog in the State that ever has any ruckus. What goes on over at the war college is more akin to combat.

  19. grudznick 2012.06.05

    Mr. Fleming,

    As I sat at Talley's on Sunday, having finished my gravy taters and looking the second plate I ordered for you, wondering if I was going to have to eat your portion as well, I though about this.

    I thought that if Mr. Barth wins, he's going to make me seriously listen to his message. I like the fellow. He seems swell and sincere. If he wins, I will listen. If the other fellow wins, I'm almost 95% sure I'll be voting for the young lady.

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.05

    Dang. Barth gets Grudz to listen. Next up: Barth turns water into Pabst.

    Now Grudz, on turnout, you forget you're talking about Dems. We're all crazies. I hypothesize tht low turnout means low Indy engagement, which means higher percentage of Dem diehards, which means advantage Varilek. Am I mistaken?

  21. Bill Fleming 2012.06.05

    Good man, Grudz. If Mr. Barth has sufficiently captured the imagineation of Indy voters, Kristi's got a horse race. That's the big question mark, isn't it.

  22. larry kurtz 2012.06.05

    A few precincts are in, and so far @MattforSD has 2,729 votes to @jeff_barth's 831. Brookings & Yankton are in, Minnehaha not.

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.05

    First results show Varilek cruising to victory with over 70% of vote in most early precincts. More updates on Twitter!!/coralhei

    Also, do the hashtag: #SDPrimary!

  24. larry kurtz 2012.06.05

    With 161/710 precincts in, Varilek up 5,561 to 1,944 for Barth. Game over?

  25. grudznick 2012.06.05

    Mr. Barth was a good fellow.
    I'm actually a little upset, he deserved to win.

  26. grudznick 2012.06.05

    Varilek will now be crushed by Ms. Noem.
    If the Dems themselves cannot support a Common Sense Libby of their own, how can anybody else support him?

    Noem 70-30.

  27. Bill Fleming 2012.06.05

    Not looking good for Jeff. West River would have to be a Barth clean sweep, and even then...

  28. larry kurtz 2012.06.05

    More than half of all precincts in, @MattforSD is up 74% to 26% for @jeff_barth. That's a wrap, folks.

  29. Bill Fleming 2012.06.05

    Turnout looks pretty low. Not

  30. Barry Smith 2012.06.05

    Jeesh-- Folks cant be to concerned about things if they cant even take 5 minutes to go vote- ARRRG!!

  31. Bill Fleming 2012.06.05

    Agreed, Barry. That's the most frustrating part... It's not "We the People" if we, the people, don't vote. Anything under 50% turnout is shameful, in my opinion.

  32. Bill Fleming 2012.06.05

    Look at the GOP. And their race was a foregone conclusion, and they're STILL outvoting us. For cryin' out loud, people. Come on.

  33. Bill Fleming 2012.06.05

    Okay, Minnehaha and Pennington Counties aren't in yet.

  34. Bill Fleming 2012.06.05

    Looks like Sibby bit the big one. Sorry Sib. Not surprised though.

  35. Bill Fleming 2012.06.05

    Pretty early, but Vargo starts out with a bang in Pennington Cty.
    ...and Randazzo with a whimper. We'll see...

  36. Barry Smith 2012.06.05

    Anyone think that all those votes for Romney will quiet the battle in the GOP. My guess is not.

  37. Carter 2012.06.05

    Well, ladies and gentlemen, Matt's going to need all the help he can get against Noem this November. Best to start our Matt Varliek rallying cries now.

  38. Troy Jones 2012.06.05

    Because Barth underperformed my expectations and many here, Bill must be right alot saw the video but didn't like it.

    One Dem said to me yesterday, "Barth reminds me of Goober Pyle.". Not exactly the image of a Member of Congress.

    Next question:. Can Varilek break 40%? I think that is the over-under.

  39. Troy Jones 2012.06.05

    To Bills comment on turnout.

    Good thing you let Indy's vote in your primary or your turnout would be even more dismal despite having a statewide race. :)

  40. Bill Fleming 2012.06.05

    I know, Troy. Abysmal. Pfffft.

  41. Bill Fleming 2012.06.05

    Jeff didn't have enough stuff in the pipeline. No money. But he made us all feel good, and that gives him an A in my book. Thanks Jeff!

  42. Bill Fleming 2012.06.05

    ...meanwhile, it continues to look like Vargo's gonna give Brenner a thumpin'. Good.

  43. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.05

    I'm very bothered to see our abysmal turnout when the Dem primary mattered much more than the GOP primary. Enthusiasm gap?

    Varilek can beat 40%... if he quotes Madville Times articles on Noem extensively in his campaign ads!

  44. Vickie 2012.06.05

    I was rather disappointed at the general turnout when I went to vote today.BUT...using Bill's link I find that my precinct,which is lumped together with 2 others,had a Dem. & Ind. turnout of 54.58% and a Repub. turnout of 48.43%.

    Countywide there were more Dems. & Ind. voters at the polls than Repubs. and "Others."

  45. Bill Fleming 2012.06.05

    Much better Vickie. Whatever's in the water where you live, let's bottle it and pass it around the state!

  46. Troy Jones 2012.06.05

    She might be in a district like Mitchell where they had aMayors race.

  47. Winston 2012.06.05

    My congratulations goes out to Matt and his team. My prayers tonight will include a prayer for Matt Varilek that he defeats Kristi Noem in the fall .... but I am afraid the true victor tonight was not one Democratic crowd over an other, but rather Scott Walker and the Super PACs ... and I pray also we will find solvency to deal with this true threat to our Republic's democratic principles.

  48. Taunia 2012.06.05

    Slow down kids. SD's primary turnout was 21.01%. In the 49/so state primaries/caucuses (some states had both, some states had Dem one day, Rep another) through April 24, 2012, South Dak is in THIRD place for voter turnout.

    Nice work, SD. Check and see how few voters turned out in a lot of states. Only New Hampshire (31.1%) and Alabama (23.6%) are ahead of you, through April 24 reporting.

  49. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.05

    Yeah, but our GOP turnout was 25.02%, while Dem/Indy turnout was only 17.74% ( We didn't get a lot of buy-in on this primary. Did most Dems sense it was already in the bad and decide to save themselves the trip? But then how to explain higher turnout among GOP for whom it was absolutely clearly in the bag?

    Winston, I don't stand in the way of praying, but in the immortal words of Tom Joad, "Prayer never brought in no side-meat." We have some butt-kicking to do.

  50. Vickie 2012.06.05

    LOL I don't know if it's the water here Bill. I live in Mitchell and the water supply around here is famous for being rather nasty. I'm of the opinion that many people around here are tired of certain politicians not representing the real concerns and issues of their constituents. I know that I heard a lot of grumbling about that sort of thing as I stood in line chatting with about 15 other voters. I think that if we could get more people around the state to finally get tired enough of certain things then maybe,just maybe,they'll get themselves to take elections much more seriously.

  51. Carter 2012.06.05

    Even Wisconsin was behind us? Huh...

    Winston's right, though. Scott Walker winning is a bigger blow than any primary result in SD could have been. I figured he would win, but I'd hoped at least it would be a close call, but all that's happened is the resounding voice of money calling for the destruction of one of the last bastions of equality we have.

    Your teachers' union may not see Daugaard's successor if the ball keeps rolling the way it is, Cory.

  52. Taunia 2012.06.05

    Well it's not like the 8 Dems in SD voted (almost) twice.

    What was the exit polling there? I'm most perplexed by WI exit polling: Walker and Obama. There's no explanation.

  53. Winston 2012.06.06

    Cory, we certainly do!

  54. grudznick 2012.06.06

    Unions are for the weak minded, just like religion. Wisconsin is right.

    All my candidates lost tonight. Barth. Sibson. Wait. I was against that crazed Howite in district 30 named Ferrbe or something. He lost, so that's one Howite down. But Kopp won, and he's a Howite. Ferrbe had signs that said "Conservative with Common Sense." I'm really glad he lost. He was not a member of the Conservatives with Common Sense, and we all voted against him because of his claims. He has little common sense.

    Barth. I did want Barth to win.

  55. Carter 2012.06.06

    I think there's an easy explanation, Taunia. The Democratic party has been entirely ineffective over the past 3.5 years, and the independents are tired of it.

    Bush ruined the economy with his policies, but the Democrats haven't used that to their advantage. With an ineffective DINO in office, the Democrats barely stand a chance against the Republicans. All our party does is try to defend themselves (poorly) against Republicans, when they should be trying to turn the tables.

    Scott Walker won because people (including our government) don't understand how the economy works, and so they look to someone doing something dramatic to fix things, instead of people too timid to really try anything.

  56. Vickie 2012.06.06

    Yes Troy,I live in Mitchell. The mayoral race is important,but there were also school board candidates to vote for,the one-way street BS issue,as well as other county races,and the Dem. primary etc....and even though I'm a registered Dem. and couldn't vote in the OTHER Repub. race...there was a lot to be decided. I still wish that the voter turnout was higher though.

  57. Winston 2012.06.06

    Grudznick, I am going to pray for you too tonight.

  58. Carter 2012.06.06

    To be honest, I don't think anywhere will see a particularly high voter turnout until we get a great, fiery candidate that can really get the voters to be passionate. The 2008 presidential race wasn't bad (~60%), but even Obama didn't really ignite the voters.

    Unite the working and middle class (basically the same class, anymore) behind a single, far-from-center candidate and you'll see your voter turnout. But as long as we continue to have fairly dull, middle-of-the-road candidates with middle-of-the-road ideas and middle-of-the-road policies, we'll be lucky to see voter turnout pass middle-of-the-road numbers.

  59. grudznick 2012.06.06

    Winston. Thanks.

  60. Barry Smith 2012.06.06

    I agree with you, but the last part of your comment would seem to be a good characterization of Matt. What do you think he needs to do?

  61. Carter 2012.06.06

    Barry, I don't believe any politician, and especially no democrat, currently has the ability or will to rally the party around their banner.

    Look to the Republican Tea-Partyists and Quasi-Tea-Partyists in 2010. They had just come out of the embarrassment of having one of the worst, least-liked presidents in history. Even Republicans were sick of Republicans in 2008, and yet they still managed to win a majority in the House, and win all over the US due to a dispassionate Democratic Party and their own fiery, get-on-board-or-get-out leaders.

    Fast forward to 2012. The Tea-Party is mostly withered away, especially compared to 2010, and Republican support is (slightly) waning, and the Dems still have their dispassionate, middle-of-the-road leaders.

    What we need is one (or several) strong, charismatic leaders who are as staunchly left-wing as the Tea Party was right wing. People who are willing to invoke the other team as "The Enemy". To be willing to actually fight against the Republicans, instead of just timidly resisting them for a little while and then basically giving in.

    When I look at Varilek, I don't see that. I still see someone whose middle-of-the-road, non-aggressive style and lack of a powerful charisma gives him little chance of even beating Noem, let alone charging into Washington waving the Democrat banner, which is what's needed to really get the votes going, nationwide.

    I point to the abysmal 11.8% Democrat turnout rate as evidence. Varilek and Barth combined barely got a 10th of SD Dems to vote. I don't see Varilek suddenly making a massive change to become the Democrat Rockstar the party needs to get the voter count up. I don't even see him making enough of a change to win the Senate race.

    I think 2012 will be a fairly close year, overall. Neither the Dems nor the GOP will make a big sweep of any national election, but that's certainly not because people are so excited on both sides that there will be huge turnout. Average voter turnout this fall? ~55%.

    Focusing just on the Dem party, it's clear that Dems are sick of their party leaders. The moderate Dems are okay with it, but us liberals (at least this liberal) are tired of the Democratic Party being the party of compromise and moderateness. Democrat voting turnout will be low until that changes.

    Kind of went off the rails a few times there. I do hope that's gotten my thoughts on Varilek and voter turnout out without being confusing.

  62. Bill Fleming 2012.06.06

    I kind of agree with Carter here. The usual posture of a good candidate would be 'consensus builder.' But these days, I think there are even some GOPers in SD who wouldn't mind if we lefties came up with a 'dragon slayer.' Our problem is organization. Telling Dems what to do is like herding cats. ...not as bad as artists, but almost. LOL.

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