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Rhoden, Napoli, Kirby, Noem: Who Will Challenge No-Norquist Pragmatist Rounds?

Last updated on 2018.06.21

Let's see, just checking... DWC recycles its Brendan Johnson obsession twice this Sunday... revisits the "Kristi's so brave for calling school lunch bad" meme...

...huh, but nothing about that Sioux Falls paper's banner story about the Republican primary that DWC's sponsor M. Michael Rounds expects. Imagine that. There's a primary that even DWC itself acknowledges will happen, but the GOP propaganda machines focuses its discussion on a Democratic primary that it wishes would happen but which at this point does not seem as likely as an ideological battle between not-quite-conservative-enough Rounds and whatever Norquistian culture warrior can earn Jim DeMint's financial favor.

Ah, but parsing DWC distracts us from the real news. Who are those GOP challengers, Mr. Montgomery? And why are they challenging?

“There are a lot of people that are discouraged, in a sense, from the way Gov. Rounds spent his time in Pierre,” said state Rep. Manny Steele, R-Sioux Falls.

Several Republicans have said they’re considering a run for Senate against Rounds, including state Sen. Larry Rhoden, former lawmaker Bill Napoli and former Lt. Gov. Steve Kirby. And the most prominent potential challenger, U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, has refused to rule out a run [David Montgomery, "Conservatives Cool on Rounds in Senate Bid," that Sioux Falls paper, 2013.04.07].

Noem has a horse. Napoli has Rapid City wingnuts. Kirby has money. Rhoden occasionally has a butt-kicking mustache. (Grow it back, Larry, and I will endorse in the primary!)

Those Republicans could easily beat Rounds by pointing out what a sloppy job he did of handling the state's finances. Alas, they may spend more time hollering about Rounds's persistent refusal to take Grover Norquist's no-new-taxes pledge (didn't Republicans put Grover to bed last fall?). And on that point, Rounds defends his pragmatism as serving South Dakota's best interests:

“While we may know how we would feel about a particular issue right now, when things change, when circumstances change, a good legislator or congressperson should have the ability to reconsider their own position on an issue,” Rounds said.

Making promises “sounds easy,” Rounds said. But he said it’s bad for government, especially when the pledge is to a specific group.

“You’ll have all sorts of very specific special interest groups that will be in trying to ... put themselves in a position to be able to demand accountability for their pledges for years to come,” he said. “I don’t think that’s necessarily good for the voters in South Dakota” [Montgomery, 2013.04.07].

I like that answer. So would, I speculate, a majority of any group of South Dakotans... other than GOP primary voters. Joel Rosenthal tells Montgomery that there's a core of activists, "10 to 15 percent who are going to vote against Mike Rounds, no matter who" runs against him. Whether those activists can unify behind a candidate strong enough to challenge the Rounds-mainstream-GOP money machine is an open question...

...and a really interesting question that you'd think a blog pretending to be South Dakota's best political blog would spend more time discussing.


  1. larry kurtz 2013.04.07

    After Noem wins the GOP Senate primary curious whether Rounds would get in the House race.

  2. Kal Lis 2013.04.07

    I don't think he can. After the primary, Republicans will have candidates for all statewide offices. I doubt that Rounds has the hubris to run as an independent for anything.

    If there is a three person Senate primary, I doubt Noem will be the nominee. Rounds will take the country club set; Noem and Kirby/Napoli/Rhoden will split the tea party vote.

  3. larry kurtz 2013.04.07

    How would that not make Noem look like an even bigger loser?

  4. grudznick 2013.04.07

    Mr. Napoli is the lead man on this.

  5. Kal Lis 2013.04.07

    It would, but I don't see her winning in a three way race against Rounds. She might beat him head to head if a lot of out of state money comes in on her side and Rounds is totally left on his own. I don't think Rounds will be left alone. He'll get contributions.

    I really believe she's going to run for the House again. I know it means that she has to run every two years instead of six, but it's her seat to lose. Incumbents win in the US House more often than the members of the old USSR Politburo won "re-election."

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.04.07

    Kal Lis is right. State law says you gotta pick: either run in a party primary or run indie; no jumping ballot columns after losing a primary. The only way Rounds could become House candidate after losing the Senate primary would be if the GOP's House nominee withdrew and the party selected Rounds to fill that spot. But that's nutty talk!

  7. grudznick 2013.04.07

    I think Mr. kurtz was asking if former Governor Rounds would get in the house for the legislatures race. I doubt it, he would have to beat out his older brother.

  8. larry kurtz 2013.04.07

    My point is that the GOP wouldn't run their biggest horses in the same primary any more than we would.

  9. Dave 2013.04.07

    Love this spirited, intelligent discussion of current political issues, which is impossible to find at that "pretender" political blog.

  10. El Rayo X 2013.04.07

    I did not know former Governor Mike Rounds had an older brother.

  11. lee schoenbeck 2013.04.07

    Tim is one of his younger brothers

  12. Douglas Wiken 2013.04.07

    Rounds has proved that smiles, grins, smooth talk, nice guy talk, etc. don't prove anything regarding qualifications for office....but that is altogether too common of all GOP candidates and office holders.

  13. Winston 2013.04.07

    Maybe Manny should run? Then Rounds, being the nice guy he is, would be more than willing to acquiesce to Steele's debate format and venue demands.

  14. Rorschach 2013.04.07

    Somebody will challenge Rounds from the right. Somebody will get the financial backing of the conservative national fundraising networks. Who will be that person? I think Stace Nelson has the hot hand right now. He has a lot of populist appeal, and he has checkmarks in all the right boxes for those conservative credentials. And he's not pretending. Now is the right time for Stace Nelson to move up, just as Noem did after 4 years in the house. Shelf life is limited, and if he doesn't move forward when his star is bright someone else will, and he will fade. The real question for Rep. Nelson though is whether to run for the US Senate or for Governor against a rudderless incumbent - albeit one who has done some conservative things. I think senate looks better for Stace, and that's where he will find the funds to mount a strong primary race.

  15. G-Man 2013.04.07

    Maybe the best decision for Stephanie would be to wait until next summer (2014) to make her decision. Hey, John Thune did not announce he was running against Daschle until late Spring of 2004, just a little over 6 months before he defeated him in the election. If Stephanie copies Thune and waits until the Summer of the election year, she can let "Mike Rounds Fatigue" set-in with voters tired of hearing about him. She could then launch that she is the "Fresh Face" in the campaign versus the "Old Stale Face" of Rounds. Just a thought.

  16. G-Man 2013.04.07

    That idea could actually work, but, I just don't know if the Democratic Party would have the patience to wait for Stephanie to announce next Summer instead of this year?

  17. Rorschach 2013.04.07

    And with all that pandering Rounds did with veterans, asking them to stand and then standing too as if he was a vet like them, Stace can actually stand proud.

    Here's what Stace ought to do whenever he's in a room with Rounds. If Rounds asks veterans to stand and be recognized, Stace ought to tell Rounds to sit down. Stace ought to beat Rounds to the punch. Take that page out of Rounds's playbook and ask veterans to stand - while Smilin' Mike is sitting down. And Stace ought to do this everywhere he goes - using Smilin' Mike's own trick, but using it to point out the truth - that Smilin' Mike isn't a veteran and shouldn't have been standing all those years as if he were a veteran. Rounds is in trouble if he draws a fearless and authentic opponent in the primary.

  18. mike 2013.04.07

    I would like David Montgomery to ask some better questions of these people. Articles that throw names around and accusations don't make for a great article.

    For instance if Noem is going to be the GOP conservatives alternative to Rounds then what does she have to say about her lack of opposition to his budgets that she also voted for? Didn't she vote to raise fees and revenues several times herself? Where has she been to the right of Rounds since she's been in DC? Does she really meet the standards of the right?

    The aspect of a Steve Kirby Mike Rounds battle is intriguing on it's own and yet he didn't explore it in the least. Given their history from 2002 it leaves me stunned that he didn't dig deeper into this. Kirby is a resident of Sioux Falls and he and his brother in law run the fundraising show for Noem as her treasurer's.

    Napoli can be written off.

    Larry Rhoden is less interesting to me because he's lesser known and from the middle of no where.

    I noticed Lee Schoenbeck chimed in here for a second up above. He's been silent during this whole Rounds for Senate talk. Why isn't he a likely alternative to Rounds? He nearly challenged Daugaard based on the idea that Daugaard was Rounds 2.0 so why so quiet?

    And again we see Herseth getting all the love from voters in polls (PPP and madville) and yet we see the Dem county chairs out endorsing Brendan Johnson for Senate as if they can't wait to push Herseth to the side.

    Montgomery's article left much to be desired.

  19. mike 2013.04.07

    And why was Stace Nelson left out? I could see him making some serious noise.

  20. mike 2013.04.07

    The biggest problem for Noem if she were to challenge Rounds would be that her record doesn't hold water as the Tea Party conservative she paints herself as to the Howie's of the world. She also doesn't want to be seen as ultra conservative to the masses who vote in the general.

    Her record would be scrutinized as much as Rounds and I'm not sure she could win after a bruising primary.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.04.08

    Thune formally announced his candidacy against Daschle in early January 2004... at the same time that Jon Lauck launched his astroturf blog to support the Thune candidacy.

    There's no waiting until summer 2014: party candidates must submite primary petitions to Sec. Gant by the last Tuesday of March. Indies get until the last Tuesday of April. And the longer they wait, the more donors they lose to the folks who are declaring.

  22. Brett 2013.04.08

    Just like everyone else, I'm merely speculating here, but from Kristi Noem's perspective, if she aspires to a Senate seat, there will hardly come a better time than now to run. She is at least an even match, if not a favorite, in a primary with Rounds due her perception as being the more conservative candidate (whether there is material difference between Rounds and Noem in terms of policy is beside the point; Noem has a more confrontational style of politics and seems more antagonistic toward President Obama--that counts for more than if she voted to raise fees in the state legislature).

    Open Senate seats are very rare and there's not reason to think there will be another one anytime soon. If we end up with Senators Thune and Rounds, I can easily imagine them successfully defending those seats for the next 25 years (unless Thune runs for president in 2016, but that is a thin reed to base your hopes on), leaving Kristi to be perpetually running for her House seat. I'd think that simple fact puts a great deal of pressure on her to run.

  23. mike 2013.04.08

    Brett makes a lot of sense. Noem's only out would be if her aspirations were to be Governor in 2018 but that has term limits. Rounds would hold the senate from 2014, 2020 and either retire or run again in 2026. Meaning he'd be running for a third term in his early 70's.

    That is a long time for Noem to wait and I don't see Thune leaving the senate for any appointment lesser than VP or Secretary of State. For all we know he will go unchallenged forever.

    Lastly I think Democrats are making a huge mistake. If there were to be a GOP primary Herseth would be in a great position to win that Senate seat. I'm still not willing to give Brendan Johnson a senate seat because Noem or Rounds beat each other up in a primary. Brendan Johnson will always be the underdog in that big race. Herseth on the other hand would become the front runner because she and Rounds both have that emotional conection with voters in the middle.

  24. Winston 2013.04.08

    The ball is on the Democrat's side of the court, at this time, as far as the Senate race is concerned. As long as the Dems do not allow the SHS/BJ posturing to get out of hand, and the Dems can come to a pre-primary consensus as to who should be their Senate nominee, then it's the Dems to lose.

    Odds are good that Rounds will have an opponent for the Republican Senate nomination, which further facilitates the Dems plans. This potential struggle for the Republican Senate nomination is essential, however, if the Dems want to hold on to the Johnson Senate seat. If Rounds does not have a Republican Senate opponent and the Dems allow SHS and BJ to get into a cat fight, then the Senate seat goes Republican.

    As far as Noem is concern, I am not that confident she even knows where to go with her political career. I do not believe she could beat SHS as far as BJ the verdict is still out. If Noem challenges Rounds for the Senate nomination it all depends upon how good the right-wing of the Republican Party turns out on election day, and whether the Karl Rove crowd can affectively offset this presence.

    2014 will be an interesting year for many reasons, and I believe it being the first year of implementation for ObamaCare and the rumor mills there of, will play a big part in that congressional election cycle. Noem could benefit more from this emerging issue than Rounds in a Republican Senate primary. On the Democratic side, SHS can just remind voters (after the primary a course) that she never supported ObamaCare, whereas BJ will inherit his father's "yes" vote for ObamaCare.

    Stacie Nelson would do a greater favor to the Dems if he ran for Governor against Daugaard in 2014, then running against Rounds. If the Dems want to beat Daugaard in 2014, it will take a two part wish-list of, one, a populist/right-wing alternative to Daugaard in the Republican gubernatorial primary, and two, a well funded Democratic candidate in the fall (Huether) to beat Daugaard in 2014.

    But with all these names, SHS, BJ, Rounds, Daugaard, Nelson, and Noem, the political calculus definitely becomes very complex. However, it is vastly simplified for the Democrats if they can prevent a cat fight for the Senate nomination, for the Republicans it is simplified if they can lessen a Republican primary challenge to the Senate race only, absent a potential Republican gubernatorial fight.

  25. Kal Lis 2013.04.08

    I guess I see the world far differently than most here. I certainly will agree that the time between now and November 2014 will be interesting.

    I don’t think the Senate race is the Democrats to lose; it’s the Republicans to lose. The Republicans, in every backroom where they meet, are sending their members one message: the Republicans can have a clean sweep of every statewide office if no one gets greedy. They are certainly not going to make it easy for Noem to create an open House seat to go with the open Senate seat. Incumbency is a valuable political asset. (By the way I’m fairly certain Democrats meet in backrooms as well.)

    I don’t believe the Republicans will let egos get in the way. They are going to spend a whole bunch of time screaming about “the people’s seat,” just as Republicans in Massachusetts did after Ted Kennedy died. It worked for Scott Brown, and it has pretty good chance of working in South Dakota.

    The PPP poll shows Rounds beat Herseth-Sandlin by 5 points. That’s outside the standard margin of error. It shows Herseth-Sandlin beating Noem by only one point with 5% undecided. I doubt that that 5% is composed primarily of disaffected liberals who will come home to cast a rueful vote for SHS. If anything, the lion’s share of the undecided in that poll are conservatives who worry that Noem is too liberal.

    As far as Noem looking for the Senate, the PPP poll has her with far higher unfavorable than Rounds. Running for the Senate is not going to drive those numbers down. I believe she has to look at a “what happens if I lose?” situation. She doesn’t strike me as the type that lobbying firms would rush to hire. If she wants to keep living in the lifestyle that she has become accustomed, she will see the Senate as a risk and the House as a safer bet. When she ran in 2010, she had nothing to lose. That’s no longer true.
    I just can't see a big name Republican Senate primary happening. Rounds will dispatch those with less name recognition. Daugaard has already given Rounds cover with the endorsement. Political junkies who frequent blogs might love Stace Nelson; the general public probably couldn’t pick him out of a line-up. Fewer could name anything Bill Napoli has done. Fewer still could easily find Union Center, Larry Rhoden’s hometown, on a map.

    All that being said, I think South Dakota Democrats will do themselves a disservice if they concentrate on the U.S. Senate and U.S. House. There’s some post on the site where Cory talked about his fantasy political football roster or trading card roster. He had Brendan Johnson in the Attorney General slot. That’s the only slot that really makes sense for him.

    SHS also needs to weigh her future carefully. If she wants to be Governor, she can’t run as a three-time loser. She’s already lost to Janklow and Noem.

    I wrote a post at the Displaced Plainsman urging the Democrats to develop a few priorities and work hard to achieve them. My personal priority would be getting rid of Noem, but if they have polling that indicates other options should be a priority, I’m all for that. I doubt that putting all the focus on the Senate will do them any good.

    I’ll stop rambling now.

  26. G-Man 2013.04.08

    Cory, you're correct that John Thune "officially" filed to run against Tom Daschle in January of 2004, but, Thune really did not begin campaigning until June of that year. Remember when everyone was wondering where Thune was from his official (silent) announcement until he started really campaigning later that year?

  27. Winston 2013.04.08

    Rounds's best day was the day he announced. It does not get any better for him than that.

    As long as the Democrats can come to an amicable agreement (pre-primary) on who should be the Democratic nominee for the US Senate, then Rounds is forced into a political world where the Right says ..."Okay, we have a Democratic candidate and a moderate Republican candidate for the US Senate, but where is "our" candidate? If the Democrats have a cat fight for the US Senate nomination, then a Republican senatorial primary is less damaging to the Republican brand and more damaging to the Democratic brand, but absence the Democratic cat fight, Rounds is very vulnerable to a right attack.

    There may be a whisper campaign within the Republican Party, quote..."Let's not blow a potential sweep." But those types of warnings are never heeded by the fringe elements of a political party, if any thing, they only encourage political disunity thanks to the fringe element's reaction to such dictated discipline. Especially, when this Party is the dominate "cocky" Party in South Dakota, with the absences of a "heavy" (like the role the late Governor Janklow often played within South Dakota Republican politics) to keep everything in line. Rounds and Daugaard do not command the type of political discipline which is necessary to assure a "sweep."

    I do not think B Johnson should run for the AG spot nor any other Democrat with a promising political future. Democratic candidates for state constitutional offices never win on their own right. They win because they run with an extremely popular Democratic gubernatorial candidate. Then the further you go down the ballot, Republican candidates for state constitutional offices begin to gain electoral ground as their name placement on the ballot becomes further and further removed the "popular Democratic gubernatorial nominees" name placement on the ballot. I call it "Registered Republican voter voting remorse."

    I agree Noem needs to go, but the best way to get rid of her is to have her give up her House seat for a Senate bid. Because even if she beats Rounds, the Democrats can stop her in the fall. Else, 2016 would be a better year for the Democrats to defeat Noem (assuming Thune runs for re-election and only has token opposition from the Democrats.) If Noem runs for re-election to the House in 2014, it will be an ignored race, which works to Noem's benefit.

    As far as the political relationship of Daugaard and Rounds. These two politicians need to be careful. Their close and obvious political association in 2014 could work against both of them. Their political camaraderie will only encourage political challenges within their own Party from the Right for their intended nominations.

    Hopefully, 2014 will not be a dud, and Party discipline will be lacking on one particular side of the aisle that year...

  28. Rorschach 2013.04.08

    If Noem wants to be a senator, 2014 is her best shot. She knows this. She also knows if she loses a senate primary her political career will be over as there are a lot of ambitious folks in SD GOP. She's a lightweight, and substantive people like Dusty Johnson and Marty Jackley would garner more support than her trying to make a comeback after a loss.

    So Rep. Noem has to either go all-in for a primary and be that fire-breathing conservative the out-of-state groups want to fund, or do the conservative thing and stay put in her own seat. But back to my first thought. If she wants to be a senator it's now or never.

    Right now, Noem is certainly talking to those out-of-state conservative groups as they invited her to do in hopes of getting their backing. It's the off-year spring mating ritual. Noem's congress critter status and partisan hackery make her their top dog for this dogfight, so she will have their financial backing when she has sufficiently and publicly smooched their patooties - which she will do. This spring mating ritual between Rep. Noem and the money men will soon reach its climax with the conservative groups left satisfied, Noem walking out with a lot of money, and everybody talking very dirty about Mike Rounds. Whew!

    This will leave a vacant house seat, which Brendan Johnson will jump on like a bum on a bologna sandwich. It's the better race for a first-time candidate anyway. The GOP will have a big primary for that open house seat.

  29. Winston 2013.04.08

    If Noem does run for the US Senate in 2014, then the question becomes ...."Can the Dems bag both the US Senate and House seats?" They did it in 2008, but '08 was a very Democratic year with all the Bush fatigue, war fatigue, the power of Democratic Congressional incumbency, a token Republican nominee for Congress, and a major, I am going to allege with all do respect, sympathy vote for Senator Johnson. Prior to '08, the Democrats in South Dakota have not won simultaneous Senate and House races since 1992, a very anti-Republican year, and 1986, which was a very Democratic year thanks to the state of the farm economy and a token Republican congressional nominee in the name of Dale Bell. Before that it was 1972, with the election of James Abourezk to the Senate and the re-election of Frank Denholm to the 1st District Congressional seat in another Democratic year for Dems in SD (just not for George.)

    So I think you know where I am going with this. The next question is "What type of year will 2014 be?" I think for Democrats in South Dakota it will be a neutral year at best, unless all the cat or dog fights take place on the Republican side of the aisle and if Noem runs for the Senate the latter could definitely be true. Then maybe, as long as the Republicans do not run someone like Mark Mikelson for the US House, the Democrats could sweep both the US Senate and House in 2014. But most likely it will be a neutral year with actual or at least proxy cat or dog fights on both sides of the aisle, especially for the US Senate. Plus, do not forget about the implementation year for ObamaCare, which is 2014, I still think that this pending issue is the true 800 pound gorilla in the room which will help to greatly define the congressional races of 2014 and whether it is a neutral year or a Republican year in 2014.

  30. Brett 2013.04.08

    Wow--a lot of great, sensible discussion on this thread. Two things to add: it is easy for outside observers to exhort their own parties to settle the question of who is running for what office without divisive primary fights, but in the end, the parties can't force candidates to make nice. If Brendan and SHS, or Rounds and Noem decide they want the Senate seat, all of those politicians have the resources to wage their own campaigns. None of them are obliged to listen to the well-meaning advice of party hacks or the wise words of those of us that comment on blogs. They will all make the decisions that they believe are the best for their own careers, party unity or no.

    Secondly, if Rep. Noem believes she is making the safe choice by staying in the House, she may have another thing coming. I think SHS was lulled into this same false sense of security when she chose to keep running for the House instead of entering the governor's race in 2010. She felt she was "safe" in the seat she had won several times. Well, as we saw, there's not much reason to believe the House seat is truly safe over the long term for any incumbent.

  31. mike 2013.04.08

    Winston, Yes the Dems can win both seats but it will probably require SHS to run for the Senate and Brendan for congress. I think SHS wins. Brendan is the wild card. SHS would win if Rounds and Noem beat each other up. Brendan would have a good chance against Dusty Johnson or another upstart in the GOP.

  32. mike 2013.04.08

    I'd like to see SHS take another shot at Noem. Noem will only get more popular the longer she is in office because more people will feel they know her. SHS needs to get back in the game.

  33. joeboo 2013.04.09

    This article is dumb, borderline stupid and doesn't say much. I'm a democrat with little ties and I can tell where they stand.

    Noem- If she wants to be a U.S. Senator she will run, hard to wait if that is her goal. If its not her goal she will wait, maybe run for governor or try to stay in the U.S. house

    Rhoden- I know Larry's 2 oldest sons pretty well. The one interned with John Thune, only way he would run is if John Thune would endorse him. Knowing Larry's 2 oldest sons I'm not so sure he should run for national office.

    Kirby- the only one on the list that really interest me. I have the feeling he hates Rounds enough to run knowing it will make him even more unpopular in the state, but the fact that he could hurt Rounds he might just do it. He also has the $ to self finance.

    Napoli- I have no clue on who this guy is, that is enough for me to eliminate him as a candidate.

    When looking for a primary candidate for someone against an established candidate like Rounds you have to look at a few things. The #1 thing is money, they either have to be wealthy enough to self finance or have ties to right wing groups that can help fund raise. #2 is to either have enough name recognition or have ties strong enough to gain traction. #3 is to be in a position to be recognized.

    There are republicans out there that can beat Rounds, Rounds did some shady things towards the end of his time as a Governor, his budgets were bad, the airplane thing should be looked at hard, the federal money being taken and then used for other things, the amount of state jobs added, some programs, started, amounts spent on certain things.

  34. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.04.09

    True, Brett, none of the candidates are obliged to listen to the remarkable well-thought-out commentary my readers are offering... but I hope they do read and listen, if for no other reason than to get a hearty laugh as they compare our armchair speculations with their secret polling and well-paid consultancy.

    No Stace Nelson in Montgomery's article? Maybe Montgomery wanted to avoid stoking speculation by focusing only on those folks who've expressed an interest in the job. Has Stace Nelson put anything on the record about his desire to run for statewide office?

  35. Les 2013.04.09

    SD will receive major support from both national parties and outside interests in 2014.
    From the GOP side, I doubt they will support a Noem taking on a candidate with Rounds potential thereby putting both the house and senate at risk. Kristi has already proven she's an obedient servant in DC..
    You Dems are sol as you've already proven you can't get behind your only hope. SHS nervous about entering the political fray? Duh! It's a GOP sweep in 14.

  36. larry kurtz 2013.04.09

    The corrupt SDGOP is splintering while we remain stalwart.

  37. Rorschach 2013.04.09

    Just because Rep. Noem is the House leadership's bootlicker doesn't mean she lacks ambition, Les. There are wealthy conservative national interests looking for senate seats to pick up, and Mike Rounds is not their candidate.

    Rep. Noem knows that if she's not their primary candidate against Rounds, somebody else will be. Is she going to take a back seat to Stace Nelson? Or Larry Rhoden? Or you? I don't think so.

    GOP sweep? We're a GOP state, but then so is ND and we saw what happened there last year.

  38. Kal Lis 2013.04.09


    I don't know if the Heitkamp example works for anyone in SD except Herseth-Sandlin.

    Heitkamp had run for statewide office before. She was elected as ND's state tax commissioner, the office that Dorgan and Conrad used to build their credentials before they began their careers in DC

    I wasn't following the ND race, but I'd bet she got all that was left of the Burdick-Dorgan-Conrad networks. I haven't seen any evidence that SD Dems will unite behind anyone. If they don't Les is right, it will be a clean sweep.

  39. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.04.09

    Kal Lis, we Dems can unite, just like Burt Reynolds and Terry Bradshaw at the Palomino Club in Hooper!

  40. Kal Lis 2013.04.09

    Great example, Hooper came out in 1978 when Kneip, last Democrat elected Governor, was in office.

  41. Les 2013.04.09

    North Dakota is not SD Ror. Since 1960 the Dems have held the Gov's office close to 2/3 of that time plus, the two Burdicks, Conrad, Dorgan and Happy Heidi. Find a Dorgan in SD and you'll have the seat.
    Btw, Joe's first comment to lil Heidi while taking her oath. was "spread em".
    You Dems must really issues if all you have to do is kiss a little butt, specially when it's Steph's.

  42. G-Man 2013.04.09

    If the Democrats can't come to support her, then, maybe Stephanie should run as an Independent?

  43. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.04.09

    G, I'm not sure Stephanie's problem with Dems is any bigger than Mike Rounds's problem with the Republicans. Recall the PPP poll that
    finds SHS clobbering Brendan in a hypothetical primary.

    If Stephanie's problem with Dems is bigger than PPP and I think, and if she could make the case that neither party is effectively representing South Dakota's interests and values, then an Independent run would make sense. But what if she couldn't find that daylight? She'd have a hard time pulling 33%+1 of voters away from the party brand, wouldn't she? If she doesn't want to run as a Democrat, might she not do better to simply defect to the GOP?

    Les, whose butt am I kissing?

  44. G-Man 2013.04.09

    Cory, actually I believe she could pull-off running as an Independent. When she was a Democratic Congresswoman, her successful campaign motto was and continues to be: "An Independent Voice For South Dakota."

  45. Les 2013.04.09

    The ol SD party switcheroo dance Corey? Seems to work well with the masses. I'd rather see Steph stay with her party, it's kinda cool to have a lamb in wolves clothing.
    As the blue lass she was, I felt a vote for my conserv values a good percentage of the time. I expected her to vote against me at times. It's a crying shame I have to depend on a Colorado democrat to defend my rights against infringement by the NDAA.

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