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Republicans Shamed into Rejecting Jensen’s Bigotry: Will They Vote for Real Change?

In the dog-bites-man column, Governor Dennis Daugaard says that Sen. Phil Jensen's defense of KKK-style discrimination is "completely out of line with South Dakota values."

It's not hard to gang up on a Republican Senator who says stupid things that are winning himself and South Dakota universal bad press. Jensen has it coming, and South Dakota has it coming for having a district that would elect him.

But Governor Daugaard hasn't spoken up very strongly about the discrimination Jensen tried to write into law last month. Asked by Mr. Montgomery about the bills Senator Jensen and others sponsored to absurdly disguise anti-GLBT bigotry as civil rights legislation, the Governor swung a softer stick:

"Most of them were solving problems we haven’t seen here," Daugaard said. "More legislation driven by things that are occurring in other places. I guess I don’t see those problems here in South Dakota that the legislation attempted to address."

I asked him about criticism by some that those laws were “mean-spirited” or “hateful.” Daugaard demurred.

"I don’t know that I could characterize the motivations of anybody who introduces legislation," Daugaard said [David Montgomery, "Daugaard on the Anti-Gay Rights Bills," Political Smokeout, 2014.03.19].

Montgomery notes that Lt. Gov. Matt Michels spoke much more strongly against those reprehensible bills while they were bubbling through the Legislature last month:

"There’s no place in our laws for these kind of words," Michels said, adding that he believes most South Dakotans agree. "There’s too much hate in the world and we don’t need it here" [Montgomery, 2014.03.19].

The Governor and other prominent Republicans stayed shamefully silent for too long about three-term legislator Jensen's bigotry. It has taken surging local pressure and the embarrassment of a national media firestorm to shame them into shaming Jensen.

Now let's see that shame turn into real change: Republicans backing any alternative candidate to Jensen in District 33.


  1. Lynn G. 2014.03.20

    Jenson should announce he will not seek re-election.

  2. Lynn G. 2014.03.20

    Sorry *Jensen* should announce he will not seek re-election.

  3. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.20

    A few friends of mine that live in District 33 feel that he is so entrenched there that only way to get rid of him is by term limits.
    If District 33 is so red that they can't see straight, maybe they will find a candidate that is not polarizing and hateful.

    Naturally I hope that a Democrat will come forward and make Jensen's words a campaign issue.

  4. Dave Baumeister 2014.03.20

    I can't say for sure what his plans are for 2018, but if things follow a natural progression, Matt Michels will be one of the best governors South Dakota has ever seen.

  5. Jerry 2014.03.20

    Yes Dave, he is being groomed for the position and knows how to accept money for his job without really doing anything (a hundred twenty grand, for what?). Dude makes more than his boss, He will have to step over Marty Jackley though and Marty has done one hell of a job in protecting the elite of the republican party from ill with this EB-5 and Benda deal. Marty may want to jump ahead in the coronation process that we have grown fond of here in our state.

  6. Larry 2014.03.20

    There will be a Republican candidate running against him in the primary. However, there is so much interest in getting him out, the Democrats even will have a primary to challenge him. Hopefully, the Dems will play nice and get a candidate who can peel off moderate GOPers and be well-financed to take him on.

  7. Loren 2014.03.20

    "Most of them were solving problems we haven’t seen here," Daugaard said.

    So that sort of legislation is OK in those areas where they HAVE seen those problems, eh Gov? Bigotry and discrimination are OK if there is a "problem"? Oh, I just LOVE SD conservatism.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.03.20

    Lynn, it would be remarkable to see Jensen, who has already filed his petitions, withdraw from the race.

    Larry, when have Dems ever not played nicely? We're all one team, right? :-)

  9. larry kurtz 2014.03.21

    Standing up to bullies like PP is standing our ground, Cory: now he is denying he has ever used hate speech to describe Stan Adelstein or American Indians while apologizing for his party's hypocrisy.

  10. Jerry 2014.03.21

    Good to see a challenger to Phil Jensen and I hope that there is a Democrat in there as well. This turd needs to go back to Kansas, we can do without his hate.

  11. Brian Hunhoff 2014.03.21

    Matt Michels certainly has a bigger HEART than most of the Republicans in Pierre. If he was governor NOW, I believe there would be 48,000 low income South Dakotans with health coverage.

  12. Dave Baumeister 2014.03.21

    Jerry, the article you linked was over 4 years old, before Michels was inaugurated. He was fulltime for awhile. He did a lot during the floods. After that was done, he offered to go back to part time. I assume he took a huge cut in pay, but I can't check that right now. The money he was paid was to compensate him for giving up his private practice for something he hadn't signed on for.

  13. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.21

    I liked this headline in today's Rapid City Journal.

    "Arborist to challenge to Jensen in State primary"

    I didn't recall ever hearing the name Arborist in political circles, but then the article mentioned the name David Johnson who is a arborist and Republican.

    He had a "no comment" about Jensen's recent tirade or spoke to any other state issues or offered a platform for his campaign.

    With his "no comment" comment he will be a perfect politician.

  14. Troy 2014.03.21

    Since Jensen feels no obligation to explain himself, I have no further obligation to defend him. Think of him as you want.

    In the meantime, sight unseen, i'll be sending Johnson some money.

  15. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.21

    Good for you Troy, really, good for you.

    Will you be sending Robing Page some money too?

  16. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.21

    Speaking on KOTA News (I'm not tech savvy enough to provide the link), Jensen appears to not be backing down from his idiocy and is in fact happy with all of coverage he has gotten.
    Mark Kirkeby condemned Jensen for his idiocy while my friend, Senator Bruce Rampelberg defended him with the same GOP slant and understands Jensen's intent.

  17. Jerry 2014.03.21

    Dave, it appears that all things Michels has done have been some time ago. As far as part-time goes, isn't that really what an Lt. Governor is in the first place? I believe that it was ole Daguaard himself that said he wanted the Lt. to be of a hands on type of dude and to work to get things done and that is why he wanted to pay him more than he himself was paid. Now you come with the truth in your view. A part time fellow that gets benefits and a wad of moolah, how is that a good deal for any of us other than Matt? I was always under the impression that you went to Pierre to serve your state and the money meant very little because it is so little, except for Michels, that boy has done well there. Yeah, check on that pay check and get back, I think you will see he is pretty flush and knows how to make the most of it. As I am just a voter and taxpayer, what difference does it make if they fleece us and waste our resources? They are a republican dynasty with a long lineage. So I will just keep paying and paying and watch our state continue to slide into a failed one. Great governance.

  18. G-Man 2014.03.25

    Gay marriage is a threat? Two people who love each other is a threat to their society. But, adultery, gambling, violent video games, and greed don't seem to muster the same kind of emotion and garner the same rallying cry to mount a serious movement for change? It's a weird society we live in today.

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