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Nelson Shells Rounds; Now If He Can Just Redirect Bosworth…

I don't think Rep. Stace Nelson (R-19/Fulton) has formed an official Congressional exploratory committee yet (first he might need a legal defense fund!), but he's pounding on M. Michael Rounds harder than this liberal blog. Kevin Woster gives the Fulton Republican a chance to blast Rounds in Sunday's Rapid City Journal. Here's the part pro-Rounds people don't want you to read:

Nelson rejects Rounds' contention that the former governor has strong support from conservatives.

"I can't name one real conservative in the state of South Dakota who is in Rounds' camp," Nelson said. "He's trying to recreate himself."

Nelson said Rounds had "an atrocious record" while governor, allowing government to expand, ballooning a structural budget deficit that topped $100 million and readily relying on federal stimulus dollars that conservatives abhorred.

"The fact that he needs $9 million to run in South Dakota should tell you that he knows his record is poor and he needs all that money to distract South Dakotans from his record," Nelson said.

Nelson hasn't yet decided if he will run for the U.S. Senate, but he is considering it. He said he has been contacted by the Tea Party Express, the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservative Fund [Kevin Woster, "Rounds Prepares for Conservative GOP Challenge," Rapid City Journal, 2013.06.23].

Woster also gets Northern State political guru Jon Schaff to declare Nelson a greater threat to Rounds than us Dems:

Schaff said a candidate like Nelson might energize conservatives and attract substantial support from out-of-state groups.

"I'd say Stace Nelson has a better chance of beating Mike Rounds than Rick Weiland (the announced Democratic candidate) does," Schaff said [Woster, 2013.06.23].

In the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" department, check out who visited Stace Nelson Saturday in Mitchell:

Potential GOP Senate candidates Dr. Annette Bosworth and Rep. Stace Nelson, Mitchell, SD 2013.06.23 (photo from Facebook)
Potential GOP Senate candidates Dr. Annette Bosworth and Rep. Stace Nelson, Mitchell, SD 2013.06.23 (photo from Facebook)

(Boy, that Nelson guy hangs out with all the characters, doesn't he?)

...or could Bosworth and Nelson sink each other?

But more than one primary challenger from the hard right would split the hard-right vote and weaken the impact of all, [Schaff] said.

"If the people in that wing of the party are serious, then they better settle on somebody," Schaff said. "Because if they've got three people running, Mike Rounds wins for sure. One person with a lot of focus and some outside money might make something happen" [Woster, 2013.06.23].

Schaff's point is solid: If Bosworth and Nelson compete for the conservative primary vote, Rounds walks away with the nomination of the unified mainstreamers. Nelson would need every vote he could get, and even the inattentive or drunk 5% who would vote for no-chance Bosworth would damage his chances in the uphill battle against Rounds. If Nelson is smart, he told Bosworth Saturday to run for House against Kristi Noem... and if Bosworth is smart, she'll take Nelson's advice, tackle an empty-boots incumbent against whom she'd be better matched, and enjoy the synergy of an outsider challenger campaign with Nelson as an ally, not an opponent.


  1. Nick Nemec 2013.06.24

    From what I see it'd take at least two Bosworths to make one Nelson.

  2. mike 2013.06.24

    Stace is a hard charger.

  3. Rorschach 2013.06.24

    Where is her lab coat? And where does he hide his pistol - under his hat?

  4. Bree S. 2013.06.24

    I'll send her a lab coat with a picture of Che Guevara on it for Christmas. She'll be the envy of all her friends.

  5. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.06.24

    Is she tiny or is Nelson that huge? Or both? Geeeez.

  6. mike 2013.06.24

    Stace could become the stuff that legends are made of.

  7. Rick 2013.06.25

    He needs a smart campaign manager, a well-connected fundraiser and a communications director right away. All three need to be veteran campaign experts who can work with Stace to prevent gaffes and keep him on the 1, 2, 3 things that define "what this election is all about." Then they need to raise some very serious money. Stace is a force of nature but he's highly prone to stepping on those message landmines.

    If he follows these steps, he's on the right track to winning the nomination. If he keeps floating around, he'll be a pinata for Dick Wadhams' minions.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.06.25

    The campaign experts you speak of, Rick, would all seem to be tied to the GOP mainstream. Can Stace find any such smart, well-connected Republicans to work for him in South Dakota? Or should we Democrats agree to work with him in the primary to beat Rounds, then all massly defect to Team Weiland? (Oh, so treacherous!)

  9. Rick 2013.06.25

    Are there ethics in politics? Hell no! Having said that, a consultant who crosses party lines in a partisan campaign will have great difficulty maintaining the trust and respect of current and future clients, as well as her/his competitors in the business. When there is a line crossing, it involves a nonpartisan campaign.

    I can think of some veteran consultants who wear the GOP brand and who probably could launch Stace's campaign to get the nomination. If they are South Dakota residents, they're going to be a little concerned about the Rounds/Daugaard alliance. But that might inspire them to win because there are consequences for losers who go up against the Pierre political machine.

    Nelson's serious money would probably come from national sources. He has alienated the establishment types in South Dakota as far as the primary is concerned. If he wins the primary, you'll see them pony up right away to get the win. What is kind of liberating for him is Stace Nelson has no more bridges to burn, except one. As a populist, the only bridge he needs is his credibility and trust among the everyday voters.

    Nelson may turn out to be a greater threat to winning the general election than Rounds. His base would be Tea Party sympathizers, hard-right activists, rural Republicans and independents, which is the fastest growing base in South Dakota. If he doesn't self-destruct in the primary, he'd grab those blue collar Janklow Democrats and independents who would never get excited about Rounds. The task for Rounds is raising enough money to buy the vote.

  10. Douglas Wiken 2013.06.25

    About 50% of the consultants help lose elections.

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