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Robinson Underdog… But Able to Build on Varilek’s Numbers Against Noem?

Kevin Woster meets Democratic House candidate Corinna Robinson and comes away impressed. He still thinks Robinson will lose to money and image machine Rep. Kristi Noem, but contrary to the extremely selective hearing at Dakota War College, Woster says more pro Robinson than con.

When Woster says Robinson is likely to starve for campaign funds and lose the race by something under 20 percentage points, he's not condemning her qualities as a candidate; he's simply offering the same realistic pessimism that would face any Democrat seeking to win back South Dakota's House seat. South Dakota Democrats could run Jesus against Noem, and the commentariat would call him an underdog while the commentariat shouted "Nancy, Harry, Obama!"

Woster also misunderestimates Robinson. In 2012, Rep. Noem beat Democrat Matt Varilek by 15 percentage points. There is no attack that Woster foresees on Robinson that Noem didn't dish on Varilek. Team Kristi falsely assailed Matt with the whole "not a real South Dakotan" schtick; they'll do the same to Corinna, just as loudly. Varilek hurt himself with the base with his misstep on marriage equality; if Robinson can avoid that error (and you will avoid that error, right, Corinna), Robinson brings more Dems to support her and narrows the vote gap between herself and Noem.

I've been wrong about South Dakota's ability to recognize Kristi Noem's self-serving fecklessness before, but since beating Varilek, Noem has done nothing to earn more support from voters. She spent most of the last two years failing to deliver a farm bill. She helped shut down Mount Rushmore. Even on the main issue Pat Powers bubbles into a headline from Woster's critique, Robinson's stated desire to live in Washington, D.C., Robinson can make a strong case that she simply wants to do the job better than Noem has been doing it flying home all the time to Tweet pictures of herself at ball games.

Robinson is still an underdog, and as the loyal opposition, I wouldn't have it any other way. But she is no more of an underdog than Varilek in 2012 or any other South Dakota Democrat in the hunt today. Go, fight, win, Corinna! (And tell Tom Katus to forward me that campaign press release on your commitment to marriage equality....)


  1. owen reitzel 2014.03.31

    I think Robinson has to nail Noem and the Republicans/conservatives on what solutions they want for this country.
    Noem votes 51 tines to repeal Obamacare and offers no solutions. She wants to cut the deficit but doesn't say what she wants to cut and offers no solutions.
    Robinson has to really attack Noem on this. Really all Democrats have to.
    The Republicans/Conservatives have offered us nothing.

  2. mike from iowa 2014.03.31

    Noem voted to slash billions from SNAP.Pretty sure she'd vote for Keystone XL and a war with Iran and/or Russia.

  3. owen reitzel 2014.03.31

    Mike, Noem would vote for a war with Iran/Russia unless Obama wanted to go to war.

  4. larry kurtz 2014.03.31

    We have to plow the road for Robinson: help Cory and ip pound Noem.

  5. Tara Volesky 2014.03.31

    While you're at it pound Rounds and Daugaard too. The only chance any candidate has to beat Rounds or Daugaard is on Corruption entrenched in SD politics. Just ask Nate Silver. You can't will on education, just ask Scott Heidepriem.

  6. Jenny 2014.03.31

    I think Robinson can be an impressive candidate. She just needs to move her campaign 300 miles west to Sioux Falls, since no one East of the river have ever even heard of her. She's smart, attractive and has an impressive military background. Why is she hiding in Rapid City? I personally think she's establising her base for future elections against Noem, since she doesn't seem that serious about getting out to SD towns meeting people. Money is probably an issue also.

  7. Jenny 2014.03.31

    'East to Sioux Falls' I meant. Rapid City is not where the SD dems are.

  8. Douglas Wiken 2014.03.31

    Democrats ignore Rapid City at their peril. There are loads of people in Rapid fed up with the conservative crapola. Democrats can find issues that appeal to both Rapid City and Sioux Falls and everything in between. They just can't let Republicans frame the issues in their mythology.

  9. larry kurtz 2014.03.31

    Doug, everyone with space in Madville's sidebar: use your position as a weapon and push DWC to the bottom of the page.

  10. Tara Volesky 2014.03.31

    Did you know the that SD Newspaper Association is having their annual convention in Pierre Fri. and Sat., April 11th and 12th and they are having a Senatorial debate with the 5 Republican primary candidates. They are also having Governor Daugaard speak but they would not invite Lora Hubbel. Aren't they breaking the equal time rule. And why aren't they having a primary debate for Susan Wismer and Joe Lowe too. Sounds a little bias to me. Cory maybe you should call your friend Seth Tupper and raise some hell. He is doing a panel discussion on OPEN GOVERNMENT! lol.

  11. Jerry 2014.03.31

    Douglas is correct about Rapid City. You only need go so far as John Tsitrian to see this. Mr. Tsitrian may well be a registered republican, but even he is showing the strains of a government that has gone to far here in South Dakota. Rapid City is key to the race and was why NOem got there in the first place against Herseth, Rapid City voters gave NOem the victory and Rapid City voters can take that away.

  12. larry kurtz 2014.03.31

    No travel advised on I-90 between Wall and Spearditch.

  13. Jenny 2014.03.31

    You still need Sioux Falls support, Jerry. Small town South Dakotans, I know, don't really like the clout that Sioux Falls gets all the time, but if dems are going to get serious about winning elections again, Sioux Falls has to be in the equation big time.

  14. Jerry 2014.03.31

    Of course Jenny, Sioux Falls and East River for that matter, were about even with support for NOem in the past. They are where the majority of our citizens live. Rapid City carried it for NOem in that first race and that was my agreement with Douglas.

  15. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.31

    John Tristan's recent blogs on Noem maybe more revealing than we know.

    Personally, I know of more and more Republicans that are turned off by Noem for all the obvious reasons.

    Corrina needs to target this group of Republicans by citing all Noem's vulnerabilities. She'll get the Democrats vote, but the "undecided" Republican vote maybe winnable.

  16. John Tsitrian 2014.03.31

    Thanks, Roger. I'm on board with Corinna and I know a lot of Republicans who are looking for an alternative to Noem. I think for C.R. it's all about energizing Dems and capturing a lion's share of Independents (around 18% of registrations). I do think she did herself some damage by telling Kevin W. that she intends to be a D.C. resident if elected despite Cory's reasonable take on it. BTW, for the record, I held a meet-and-greet/fundraiser for Corinna at my house a couple of weeks ago.

  17. Larry 2014.03.31

    Jenny, Dems usually ignore West River and the Hills. There is a lack of presence by the Dems. Yes, Rapid City pushed Noem over, but Herseth made few appearances here and the Republicans were in the news everyday. Heidepriem did the same. His idea was to campaign in the SF area and win. That really worked out for them didn't it? Sure win Sioux Falls, but reduce the margin in the Black Hills. Most of the candidates have not carried Sioux Falls either. She is peeling off plenty of GOP votes now.

  18. John 2014.03.31

    Newspapers don't have equal time/ space requirements.

  19. Roger Cornelius 2014.03.31

    Agreed, why Corinna would make her residency a campaign issue is puzzling and in a state like South Dakota will likely backfire on her. She needs to find a way to correct that, like right now.

    I remember your meet and greet at your home, how did it turn out? Any other Republicans, besides yourself, there that are on board with Corrina?

  20. John Tsitrian 2014.03.31

    Roger, it was successful, somewhere between 30-35 showed up. About a third were there by my invitation and I'd say they're a pretty eclectic political group. Honestly don't know their registrations but I have no doubt some are Pubs.

  21. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.04.01

    Do you remember back in December after the shutdown was over? President Obama had asked for 96 million in foreign aid for the Israeli missile defense system. The house which had been so penny pinching on food stamps and any other domestic social program, had still not passed a farm bill, which is what left our ranchers with no protection during the blizzard, but tripled that request to 284 million dollars, Ms Noem joined 398 of her colleagues in voting 399-0 to approve that tripling. Then finally the second week in March we sent 429 million to Israel for that missile defense system. Who do you think our Congress represents?

  22. Kathy Scott 2014.04.08

    It's a lot easier to come out looking like a star when you have a debate like Dakotafest appropriated by Teddi Mueller, the treasurer of the PAC at the South Dakota Corn Growers Association writing the questions and a relative of Noem's on the board. Here's copy of her email to our former VP telling us she already announced they were running the debate and to keep me, the head of PR out of it. Eventually asking for my resignation or they would tell their assoc. not to attend. Isn't this like someone losing their farm. I was there 15 years and have children all to sway an election.

    From: Ray Bianchi
    Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2012 11:41 AM
    To: Kathy Scott
    Cc: Gerry Whitty
    Subject: FW: Noem, Varilek to debate

    Raymond L.Bianchi
    Vice President-Group Show Director
    Diversified Group-Cygnus Business Media

    IDEAg-Dakota Fest
    IDEAg-Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show
    IDEAg-Illinois Farm Show
    IDEAg Interconnectivity

    Aviation Pros LIVE

    3030 Salt Creek Lane
    Arlington Heights, IL 60005 USA

    Mobile 262 473 9244
    Office 847 454 2716
    Personal 708 620 9738

    From: Teddi Mueller []
    Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2012 10:22 AM
    To: Ray Bianchi
    Subject: FW: Noem, Varilek to debate

    I had the wrong e-mai l think! Can you let me know if you get this?
    Teddi Mueller
    SD Corn Council/SD Corn Growers
    Legislative and Industry Affairs Director
    4712 S. Technopolis Drive
    Sioux Falls, SD 57106

    Office: 605-334-0100
    Cell: 605-321-1395

    From: Teddi Mueller
    Date: Thursday, August 2, 2012 9:46 AM
    To: "" , Emery Tschetter
    Cc: Lisa Richardson
    Subject: FW: Noem, Varilek to debate

    Ray and Emery,

    Here is the information. Attached please find a press/media alert that went out last night and the letter to the candidates that explains the format and how the debate would run. I will have Lisa ,the Executive Director of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association, representative from SDSU and myself screening the written questions. Ray if you want to be involved in that process as well we would love to have you involved. Emery will also have some SDSU people handing out the cards for questions to be written on and helping pick them up. Thanks for all your help!

    One thing that I don't want to happen because it could it throw a wrench in the whole debate, is please make sure that Kathy doesn't contact the candidates offices. She said that she was going to so could you please follow up and make sure that doesn't happen it will only cause a stir back here.

    Thanks Teddi
    Teddi Mueller
    SD Corn Council/SD Corn Growers
    Legislative and Industry Affairs Director
    4712 S. Technopolis Drive
    Sioux Falls, SD 57106

    Office: 605-334-0100
    Cell: 605-321-1395

    From: Randy Hascall
    Date: Thursday, August 2, 2012 9:25 AM
    To: Teddi Mueller
    Subject: Noem, Varilek to debate

    South Dakota
    Corn Growers Association
    4712 S. Technopolis Drive
    Sioux Falls, SD 57106
    Phone (605) 334-0100; Fax (605) 334-0505

    For Immediate Release
    Contact: Teddi Mueller
    Phone: (605) 334-0100
    Fax: (605) 334-0505

    Noem, Varilek to debate at DakotaFest
    (Aug. 1, 2012) – U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and challenger Matt Varilek will square off in an Aug. 22 debate organized by the South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA) and South Dakota State University at DakotaFest in Mitchell.
    The debate will concentrate specifically on South Dakota agricultural issues.
    “These are critical times in agriculture and we look forward to bringing the candidates together to discuss the issues that are important to South Dakota farmers and ranchers,” said Lisa Richardson, the SDCGA’s executive director.

    What: Debate between Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and Democratic challenger Matt Varilek
    When: 2 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 22
    Where: DakotaFest in Mitchell, at the SDSU Pavilion, in the northwest corner of the grounds.

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