A reader with a keen interest in the District 9 House race expressed deep disappointment with a flyer sent out by the South Dakota Democratic Party criticizing Hartford Republican Rep. Bob Deelstra. The reader is a vocal Democrat, but thinks such negative campaigning is beneath her party.
I haven't seen the flyer yet, but I have managed to get the text in question:
FRONT: Bob Deelstra Stuck us with the bill.
BACK: Our families are paying for Bob Deelstra's unpaid bills. Property owners pay higher taxes for local schools, families pay higher tuition for college, and seniors pay higher premiums for health care because Bob Deelstra cut funding for K-12 schools, higher education, and Medicaid. When Bob Deelstra cuts, South Dakota families are stuck with the bill. This November 6, send Bob Deelstra packing for sticking you with the bill.
Hmmm... it's not exactly the kind of negative distraction that Kristi Noem and the Republican Party run, manufacturing bogus arguments and insulting talent, education, and world travel to defend a do-nothing Congresswoman. In his first term in Pierre, Deelstra has supported a Republican budget regime that shifts more costs away from the state and down to the local and individual level. Pointing that out doesn't strike me as an underhanded smear; it's a simple statement that the party Deelstra chooses to dance with has some bad budget priorities.
That Sioux Falls paper may not read the flyers, but it has denied Deelstra its endorsement. Instead, the paper plays the extremes, endorsing the arguably more conservative GOP incumbent Rep. Rev. Steve Hickey and the clearly more correct Democrat Paula Hawks. I think the Sioux Falls paper just wants a juicier, more conflict-riddled District 9 delegation so they can sell more newspapers in Hartford.
I find Rep. Rev. Hickey good for blogging, too. He's one of the more rational religious radicals on the South Dakota political scene, and I whole-heartedly back his anti-usury efforts. Hickey also does the best job of publicly documenting his stances on the issues.
However, on one crucial ballot measure, Hickey is flat wrong. After sending some mixed signals last winter, Hickey voted for HB 1234, the Governor's really bad education plan. He continues to stump for that bill as Referred Law 16 on our ballot. Deelstra voted against HB 1234 last winter. Hawks jumped into the House race this summer in part because of her opposition to HB 1234 and her desire to bring her teaching experience to the Legislature to fight for education policy based on professional knowledge rather than ideology.
Dems are right to criticize Rep. Deelstra for his support of the Governor's radical and ongoing cuts to K-12 education, but Rep. Hickey has supported that same budget agenda, plus the school-wrecking policies of HB 1234/Referred Law 16. If you're voting on education in District 9, you really have only one good choice: Paula Hawks.
Bonus Web Layout Fun: Deelstra opposes Referred Law 16, but he's not exactly shouting about it. Check out his campaign web page on ballot issues:
To boost corporate welfare, Bob gives Referred Law 14 a regular epistle in 14-point font. He gives Referred Law 16 two lines and 10-point font. What, Bob, afraid the Governor's going to hear? It's Referred Law 16: it deserves 16-point font!