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Schaff on Nelson: “Exactly the Kind of Person” to Run Against Rounds?

25% of my readers and I aren't the only folks who think Rep. Stace Nelson would make a good challenger to U.S. Senate candidate M. Michael Rounds. Check out the Primary-palooza quote of the day from Professor Jon Schaff:

Political science professor Jon Schaff of Northern State University said Nelson or someone like him probably will challenge Rounds from the right.

“Stace Nelson strikes me as being exactly the kind of person who might make a run at this,” Schaff said. “I don’t know if it’s because he really honestly thinks he can beat Rounds, but certainly there’s going to be a certain wing of the Republican Party who is unhappy with Mike Rounds’ moderate Republicanism. They’re going to want to make at least an airing of the grievances, if you will, against that more pragmatic, less ideological wing of the Republican Party” [David Montgomery, "Conservative Lawmaker Nelson Pondering Senate Run," Political Smokeout, 2013.04.12].

Read that carefully: Schaff isn't endorsing Nelson. He's not even saying Nelson would have a shot. He's just saying Nelson fits the profile of the kind of person who would jump into this race to challenge Rounds.

And I can see where on the main lines of attack against Rounds, like his dreaded RINO pragmatism and sloppy fiscal management, Nelson is the perfect candidate to tackle him. Nelson has made RINO-calling a core element of his rhetoric. In his third year as a legislator, he has managed to maintain his outsider status. He makes more sense and keeps his eyes on practical policy issues better than any of the other RINO shouters in the state. And he has managed, perhaps in part through clever Jedi mind tricks on this liberal blogger, to make a name for himself outside of Fulton and his legislative district in a way that not many other legislators do.

Plus, Stace is even cuter when he plays hard to get.

Nelson v. Rounds would be the most fun primary race we could ask for. It would also provide the most cogent expression of the battle for between the mainstream GOP and the ultra-conservative forces who want to make that party their own.


  1. grudznick 2013.04.12

    There are rumbles of Napoli in the darkest grassrootyist recesses of the GOP and the rumbles are growing.

  2. mike 2013.04.13

    The wacko birds who put out those polls or vote in online polls clearly want an alternative to Rounds but they also are clear that if they had a choice they wouldn't choose Kristi Noem. Noem doesn't have a lot of love with these activists. Stace does and if he can craft a decent message I think he could do some damage and really advocate for the conservative wing of the GOP.

    Besides if Stace Nelson lost a primary to Rounds in early June he could turn around and ride that wave at the GOP convention and run for Lt. Governor where the most conservative delegates vote.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.04.13

    Is there a snowball's chance in Heck of Daugaard ever offering Nelson a promotion of any sort? Is that conservative base so easily fooled that they would view taking Stace out of the action in the House by appointing to a mostly do-nothing position where he'd be expected to toe the Governor's line as positive outreach from the Governor? And would anything short of a conservative victory against Rounds in June cause Daugaard to blink?

  4. Michael Black 2013.04.13

    We need a fresh voice in Washington. Rounds had his time as governor. It's time for someone else, someone much younger.

  5. Jenny 2013.04.13

    Aren't South Dakotans sick of career politicians?

  6. grudznick 2013.04.13

    Mr. Nelson as the lieutenant governor of the senate would give him the gavel power he so disdained in Messrs. Rach and Lust and would make him able to call on whoever he wanted. That might be what he wants.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.04.13

    Baloney. Nelson is ill-suited to that ceremonial post. He'd be more subject to orders from the Governor. Assuming he'd ever be appointed to and accept such a position (and we're already two levels deep in suspension of disbelief and laws of political physics), he'd quit before the end of the first Legislative session.

    Jenny: that's one more reason Nelson could pose a credible threat to Rounds.

  8. larry kurtz 2013.04.13

    perhaps grud meant chris nelson.

  9. Dana P. 2013.04.13

    sure, Nelson is a good candidate......if you like people that believe guns are the answer to every thing, and that women don't have a right to make decisions about their own bodies. Oh yeah, and a "my way or the highway" attitude? yeah, that works too!

  10. joeboo 2013.04.13

    The reason Nelson would be a viable candidate is because he is a good politician, knows how to communicate with people. And that is what you need in a primary, that with conservative credentials goes big in a primary. The issues won't hurt him any

  11. grudznick 2013.04.13

    Mr. Nelson is a fine young gentleman who likes laws about veterans and declaring holidays. I am a big supporter of veterans and holidays. Mr. Napoli runs with meatier ideas and was never ostrichized from the legislatures. If he runs he will be a force.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.04.14

    Well, Dana, that attitude got Noem elected, didn't it? Remember, we're dealing with a scary electorate. And as Joe notes, Nelson isn't a bad communicator.

  13. Dana P. 2013.04.14

    oh absolutely, Cory. Mr Nelson fits right into that profile of this electorate (I love your description. and it is scary) He's sort of like the "Ted Cruz/Rand Paul" of South Dakota, which many folks around here will love. Good communicator? Well, yeah, sure, I guess. If he is saying the stuff you like to hear? Yep, he is a great communicator. I've experienced, uh hem, communication with Mr Nelson. My opinion has nothing to do with the fact that he and I disagreed on a topic. It is more the way he treats people that HE disagrees with. With arrogance and contempt. That's all.

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