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Clarity Polls SD Governor’s Race: Herseth Sandlin, Huether, or Heidepriem?

Brenda Wade Schmidt answers Pat Powers's question about Clarity Polling's recent calls around the state. It appears they have a client interested in the 2014 gubernatorial campaign:

The first question was whether I had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Daugaard, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Mike Huether and Scott Heidepriem. From there, the survey asked various questions in which I was asked how I would vote if Daugaard ran against each of the Democrats. Press one for Daugaard, two for the other candidate, the automated poll directed.

The poll was clearly only about the governor’s race but did include questions about abortion, taxes, gun control and gay marriage. It also asked how often I attended church, whether I had cable TV and if there were any guns in my house [Brenda Wade Schmidt, "Press One for Dennis Daugaard, Two for the Democrat," Got Opinions? 2013.02.26].

From Wade Schmidt's description, the poll doesn't appear to have done head-to-head on the possible Dems. But when Clarity processes the data, here's how they'll find a primary would break:

  1. Herseth Sandlin: 75%
  2. Huether: 15%
  3. Heidepriem: 10%
Mike Huether
Mike Huether
Scott Heidepriem
Scott Heidepriem

I give Huether an edge over Heidepriem based on Heidepriem's inability to break the low glass ceiling for Dems in 2010 and lack of any evidence that he's building a better hammer for 2014. Given a choice between those two men, a slight majority of Dems would lean toward trying something different... although some of us will get excited about rained-on Alpo before we vote to put a former Premier BankCard usury exec in charge of our state.

Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin

But that choice is academic if SHS enters the ring. She has a combination of experience, connections, fundraising potential, likability, and star power that outpace the other two H's and give Dems the most feasible shot at unseating Dennis Daugaard in 2014.


  1. Mark 2013.02.27

    Maybe someone is testing the waters for another sending an encouraging prod to SHS to think Pierre as BJ thinks DC? It could solve a lot internal problems for the Dems and both races would be competitive in the general.

  2. Mark 2013.02.27

    Then run Heidepriem against Noem, and who knows?

  3. mike 2013.02.27

    Herseth for US Senate
    Brendan for Congress
    Bryce Healy for Governor

    We need to start pushing Bryce for Governor because he could really rail against Daugaard and his education bills. Plus he has already won a statewide office.

  4. mike 2013.02.27

    Bryce Healy for Governor would be interesting.

  5. Stan Gibilisco 2013.02.27

    In this RIPA's opinion, no Democrat except one has a palm tree's chance in Antarctica of unseating Dennis Daugaard in the next electron.

    That one: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

    She'd give Daugaard one heck of a race.

    [RIPA = Republican On Paper Anyway]

  6. Stan Gibilisco 2013.02.27

    The next electron.

    Been writing a book on circuit diagrams.

    That's my excuse.

    I meant neutron, of course.

  7. Stan Gibilisco 2013.02.27

    Not RIPA. ROPA.

    I gotta get off this computer right now.

  8. Stan Gibilisco 2013.02.27

    I'm on vacation in Cody. They must be smoking weed over in Wapiti.

    More seriously, I have a great deal of respect for SHS and, depending on what she would say in a race with Daugaard, she might get my vote if she ran.

    I have crossed over and voted for her before.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.27

    ...and that proven crossover appeal is a big reason to put SHS at the top of our ticket. It might also inspire a lot of good Dems to jump on her coattails and fill the down-ticket slots.

    Keep working on that book, Stan. I find it terribly amusing when you type anything that even glancingly suggests you and Kelly Ripa in the same category. :-D

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.27

    And Bryce Healy! Good suggestion, Mike! How hard would he have to work to recapture and build on his statewide name recognition from his 2003-2007 term in school and public lands?

  11. Winston 2013.02.28

    If the Democrats run Sandlin against Daugaard, she will lose. No female, Pro-choice, Democrat can be elected governor at least in the near future.
    But a female, Pro-choice, Democrat can be elected to Congress (i.e., SHS.) Why is this? Well, it follows the same warped logic which the voters of South Dakota have shown for many years as they send Pro-choice candidates to Washington to uphold Roe v. Wade, and then send Pro-life candidates to Pierre to restrict the heck out of it.

    Most Democrats who promote Sandlin for governor are just good Democrats hooked on "Herseth Nostalgia" and the idea of putting Ralph's granddaughter in the Governor's Mansion.

    Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin should run for the US Senate in 2014. She can win. Brendan Johnson should challenge Noem in 2016 and not 2014. B. Johnson's chances would be greatly improved in 2016 versus a 2014 bid with the help of the Presidential election cycle and the increase in left of center voter turn out potential in such a year.

    Who should the Democrats run for Governor? Well, a lot of my liberal friends or associates will get mad at me when I say this, but my pragmatic choice is Huether. I am not real happy with his sub-prime connection, but he is a historic Democrat, unlike our 2010 gubernatorial candidate, and he has the capital, and the political ties in and outside Sioux Falls (i.e., Yankton, Brookings, and even Rapid City) to get the job done. I also think he can soften Daugaard's support in Minnehaha County among upper-middle income suburban voters, using his Events Center voters list to get this done. He also has no voting record on abortion, which is a plus. Then, if you tie all these strengthens to the belief that Daugaard is potentially vulnerable (Run Howie run!.... See Howie Run!), then I believe Huether could squeak out a victory, which SHS could not.

    What about the "Anti-Sioux Falls" thing for Huether you may ask? Well, from day one Huether should remind fellow South Dakotans on how he was a "Buck" and a "JackRabbit.... and I say that as a "Coyote."

    The House in 2014? Definitely a candidate perhaps a token candidate, but the Democrats must never repeat the vacancy mistake of 2010 ever again! Shame on them!

  12. Brett 2013.02.28

    One issue I would take with your analysis Winston is whether it is better for a democrat to run during a presidential cycle or not. Judging from recent history, Daschle (1978), Johnson (1986), and Herseth-Sandlin (2003) were all elected without presidents at the top of the ticket. I don't think the presence of Barack Obama at the top of the ticket did Matt Varilek any favors in 2012 either (conservative enthusiasm for voting no was no offset by increased turnout on reservations as far as I know).

    If Herseth-Sandlin will draw democrats to the voting booth to vote for her in the Senate, it may make more sense for Brendan Johnson to seize that opportunity to run at the same time so they can vote for him while they're at it. From where we sit at this moment in time, it looks like he would have a chance to win in 2014. By 2016, who knows?

    Anyway, speculation is fun.

  13. G-Man 2013.03.08


    2014 is not a Presidential Election year thank God.

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