Last updated on 2018.06.21
...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.