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Nelson: Rhoden Raises Taxes! Rhoden: La-La-La! Sticks Fingers in Custer Voters’ Ears

Charley Najacht of the Custer County Chronicle offers a brief summary of the debate that took place in Custer on Monday, November 4, between Republican U.S. Senate candidates Stace Nelson and Larry Rhoden. Check out the exchange on taxes:

Nelson challenged Rhoden’s voting record on a number of issues, including tax increases and fees in light of the state’s $50 million budget surplus last year.

Rhoden said there was a lot of misrepresentation in what Nelson was saying about his voting record in the state legislature. “User fees have been successful in South Dakota government to cover specific government services,” Rhoden said.

Rhoden said he also voted for a continuance of the half cent tourism tax to help fund advertising and marketing for the state. Nelson said he voted against the tourism tax, as he has voted against many other tax and fee increases [Charley Najacht, "Candidates Spar over Issues," Custer County Chronicle, 2013.11.07].

Nelson says he follows the Republican platform and votes to review and reduce taxation. He says Rhoden does not. Rhoden responds by saying he votes to increase taxes, but for good purposes.

Rhoden's response is perfectly reasonable. It's the response I'd give. But I'm a Democrat. Rhoden's not (at least he hasn't been, officially, since 1998). Rhoden's not talking to Democrats. He's talking to Republican primary voters, to whom Nelson is saying, Rhoden doesn't vote like a conservative Republican! Rhoden's response doesn't say, I am so a conservative Republican! It says, Being a conservative Republican isn't the right way to go.

Confused as he may be in proper Republican debate responses, Rhoden nonetheless appears to have the favor of local Republican leaders. An eager reader who was there says that, as usual, Nelson was handing out his voting scorecards, which include information on tax and fee votes that come straight from AWOL opponent Marion Michael Rounds. Recall that back in July, Team Rounds released a list of 56 votes Rhoden cast to increase fees and taxes. Nelson has updated that list to show his votes alongside Rhoden's.

Rhoden took grave offense at Nelson's effort to educate voters about Rhoden's policy choices and demanded that Nelson take back his flyers. The Custer County Republicans in charge of the event agreed and ordered that Nelson not distribute those flyers. I hear they even required people to hand back any such flyers that voters may have received.

So Rhoden can shout "Misrepresentation!" and Custer County Republicans automatically censor his opponent's information. That hardly seems fair. Nelson is saying Rhoden voted for tax increases. The record shows Rhoden voted for tax increases. Rhoden is welcome to make the argument that some tax increases are good, but he's misrepresenting Nelson's statements of fact as falsehoods.


  1. interested party 2013.11.10

    The Chronicle is usually a good source for news on FLDS but when i tweeted that story to #sdsen Stace's operatives seized then ran with it. You're welcome, CAH.

  2. TG 2013.11.10

    More mistruths. Starting with this "demanded that Nelson take back his flyers". Completely false. The lady scolded Nelson and said she told him they weren't allowed and he passed them out anyway. This came from her not Rhoden. She then collected them based on her own decision.

  3. grudznick 2013.11.10

    "Rhoden is Right"

    Those are the bumper stickers that should be handed out at the Bulgin' Bull and the Gold Pan Saloon to the fellows with sawdust on their boots. Mr. Rhoden is the real deal, and it will be obvious the the wholesome people of Custer.

  4. Cranky Old Dude 2013.11.10

    Rhoden is a RINO plant. His candidacy has no real meaning other than to steal votes from anybody who has the temerity to challenge the RINO establishment.

    Look closely: he doesn't carry his home precinct when he is elected to the legislature-what does that tell you?

    Thanks to Cory for covering this-my wife was at the Custer event and says you did a good job (Even though you once compared her to Joe Mc Carthy-which she took as a compliment!)

  5. Anne Beal 2013.11.10

    you forgot to explain that Nelson doesn't believe that government should require any funding at all, that it should run on unicorn flatus. Just don't locate the production operation in Hanson County.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.11.10

    Burning unicorn flatus does produce fewer greenhouse gases.

    Cranky, your wife is Joe McCarthy. Grrrr! That said, if she has any notes or video of the Custer event that can enlighten us further, please share!

  7. interested party 2013.11.10

    Custer County should just change its name to Cracker County.

  8. TG 2013.11.10

    Cranky - can you ask your wife if this statement is true? (Rhoden) "demanded that Nelson take back his flyers." Thanks!

  9. Cranky Old Dude 2013.11.11

    PLease bear with me. Mrs. Cranky is out of the compound tonight, off to a Cranks, Dissidents and Bomb Throwers meeting. I will get her take on the Custer event tommorow AM. She was there for the whole sordid affair (Disclaimer: she is wholehearted campaigning for Stace).

  10. TG 2013.11.12

    TG - then she might be a little bias but I'm sure she can still know what went on but my question is simple "is this statement true? (Did Rhoden) "demand(ed) that Nelson take back his flyers."" or was it the people running the event? Not a theory on what happened behind the scenes, just what the attendees witnessed (because I already know the answer to the former). Thanks!

  11. TG 2013.11.12

    That last "TG" should've been "Cranky"! :-)

  12. TG 2013.11.12

    Cranky - one more question. What do you mean by "he doesn't carry his home precinct"?

  13. TG 2013.11.12

    Just caught this as I was moving to the next page. Does anyone care that only 5 were actual taxes? And those 5 were for visitor related and gambling taxes, not SD taxpayer taxes? And that the rest are fees which are applicable to the industry/profession vs. spreading those taxes to the taxpayers? Just wondering if anyone here has delved into those facts. I've looked up each bill back to 2008 and those are my findings. Curious if anyone else had a different outcome. Thanks!

  14. Cranky Old Dude 2013.11.12

    She says she got there a bit late and missed part of the kerfuffle. She was told that something was approved and then either unapproved or somehow didn't please the organizers."We don't have time to check this out and so we're not going to allow it." She did see them go around the room and take the handout away from people. This also occurred about a month earlier at a FHA luncheon. Stace could probably be more help on the details. She says that Rhoden does have a habit of making sure the organizers get told that Stace is "distorting" his record. She also confirms that the information that Stace uses comes directly from a Rounds hand-out on voting records.
    Her comment: "Free speech is getting harder to find..."

    Crackers in Custer? Naw! Why just ask anybody who lives there-they'll tell you it is the center of the Known Universe.

  15. TG 2013.11.12

    Ok, so the bottomline is this statement is inaccurate "(Rhoden) "demanded that Nelson take back his flyers."" which was what my question was. Thank you for confirming what I already knew but I don't think Corey would just take my word for it. Right, Corey? ;-)

    The real problem with the scorecards is the misrepresentation. For example, it says SB1234 and Voted Yes or Opposed. You need to know what's in the bill to know whether that's a good or bad thing. For example, included as a negative are Joint Resolutions (not Bills); say it was related to Term Limits. All the legislator's vote meant was that "YES it should go to the people to vote on it" Passed unanimously in House and Senate but appears on the scorecard as he voted against Term Limits. These are throughout and the Fee/Tax example I posted above. Just not enough information but I'm sure that will be addressed.

    It's so much more calm over here. It's nice for a change!

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.11.12

    Wait wait wait, TG. you're saying Rhoden did not say that he wanted those flyers withdrawn? At the very least, I make a minor amendment: "Rhoden complicit in censorship!" At the very least, having misrepresented true statements about votes he has cast as lies, Rhoden then stood idly by as others imposed censorship on the free speech that he complained about. I'm still not smelling the daisies here.

    I catch much worse guff on a weekly basis here in the blogosphere than Rhoden has yet in this campaign. I don't go crying to higher powers to have those statements pulled from our electronic public forum (although when I read some of the outright libel, I'm sorely tempted). When necessary, I simply respond with the facts. Rhoden can shout misrepresentation all he wants, but he cast the votes Nelson's spreadsheet says he cast, right? The Custer County Republicans acceded to a complaint from Rhoden and bought into "Gee whiz, we don't know for sure, so we better censor the statement." The Custer County Republicans chose to take Rhoden at his word instead of Nelson, when Nelson was the one offering easily verifiable claims.

    The tax and fee thing seems like a hard dodge. If I were a conservative, you wouldn't get out of a tax argument by saying, "Oh, I'm not raising taxes on you; I'm only raising taxes on those other guys." You're still raising taxes!

    You also wouldn't convince conservative-me of your conservatism by saying you raised fees, not taxes. I'd turn around and say, "You increased the extent to which government is reaching into my pocket. How's that conservative?" And you would respond...?

  17. Disgusted Dakotan 2014.01.07

    Yes "TG" as a campaign worker for Rhoden, how do you respond?

    So the issue about Rhoden being misrepresented by Nelson in regards to the Tax & fee increases he supported, has already been proven to be a very poorly constructed Rhoden campaign dishonesty..

    Where's that video of their debate in Sioux Falls again? Somebody just frame the clip of Doc Thompson looking at Rhoden in amazement and then reading Rhoden the riot act that taxes and fees are the same thing.

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