Illegitimate U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth is now taking heavy fire from the South Dakota's right flank.
Rep. Rev. Steve Hickey (R-9/Sioux Falls) and KELO-AM conservative talker Greg Belfrage just unloaded a drive-time bombing on the fake campaign. Belfrage invited Rep. Hickey on air during the eight-o'clock hour this morning to discuss the lawsuit he withdrew Monday against the Secretary of State's certification of Bosworth's nominating petition. Hickey reiterated the statement he released to this blog Monday, saying Bosworth's "unscrupulous, scandalous, unChristlike" compelled him to speak out against her abuse of the electoral process.
His comments on air this morning were no less blunt. Rep. Hickey said every press release from Team Bosworth on the petition challenge has been false. Rep. Hickey (who, remember, is also a conservative pastor) said it drives him nuts to see candidate claim to be Christian and Republican and post devotions online yet brag about astroturf Facebook Likes ("we all know those aren't real") and raise money out of state with spurious fundraising companies. "Grandma in Florida is writing checks expecting that what she's reading on that mailing is the truth," said Hickey, and instead, Grandma is getting "duplicitousness" from Bosworth.
"Character matters more than Republican talking points," said Rep. Hickey. He sees a lack of character in her false petition circulating oath and in her ever-shifting story about the Che Guevara t-shirt she flaunted on Facebook.
Anticipating a Bosworthian response (and Bosworth was apparently banging at the studio door, demanding to be allowed a response on air this morning), Belfrage asked Rep. Hickey how he'll respond to charges that he has some ax to grind. Rep. Hickey responded that he has endorsed no candidate but that Bosworth simply won't answer questions, resorting instead to "backtrack and avoidance" and "major spin." Rep. Hickey said he spoke up in part because of Bosworth's attack on me. Rep. hickey said he sees Bosworth waging an "unChristlike" attack on a citizen activist who challenges politicians in an honest way. Rep. Hickey said an attack video on Bosworth would be ten times worse than he poking at me for once losing a job.
After soothing Bosworth's off-air temper by promising to have her on for an interview tomorrow, Belfrage said he essentially agrees with Rep. Hickey: Bosworth is an illegitimate Republican candidate. Belfrage said that he initially gave the challenge no thought when it was coming from "just a liberal blogger." He said he was skeptical of reports like those I've published on Bosworth's raffle scams and unpaid employees; such stories come out in political campaigns all the time, driven by disgruntled folks with axes to grind.
But Belfrage said he now wishes he had paid attention to criticisms of Bosworth sooner. He said my argument that Bosworth submitted a fraudulent petition is a "pretty compelling case, a fairly damning case." But it took Rep. Hickey speaking up to really get Belfrage to take note.
Belfrage wrote his own damning blog post yesterday, and he reiterated that commentary for his drive-time listeners today, likening Annette Bosworth to Bill Clinton:
This is yet another mess for Bosworth, whose campaign has been plagued by allegations of scandal and wrongdoing.
I've been reflecting a great deal on this situation since it first unfolded. I've been guided by a very simple belief. Oaths matter.
Many people made excuses for former president Bill Clinton when he lied to a federal grand jury about his involvement with Monica Lewinsky.
However, I said, "Oaths matter."
I'll say the very same thing now. Oaths matter.
If you took an oath swearing that people signed petitions in your presence, but you were out of the country at the time...you lied. It's just that simple [Greg Belfrage, "Bosworth Escapes Court Challenge," KELO-AM: The Daily Dose, 2014.04.15].
Belfrage then brought the Jesus:
As I've been contemplating Bosworth's petition troubles, I've been recalling the words of Jesus in Luke 16:10.
"The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones" [Belfrage, 2014.04.15].
Belfrage finds the other stories of Bosworth's wrongdoing hard to sort out, but he says breaking an oath is a dealbreaker.
To frost the cake, real U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Stace Nelson (R-9/Fulton) appears to be taking the same position. At yesterday's GOP Senate candidates' forum held by the Siouxland Republican Women, someone asked Bosworth about the challenges to her petition. Bosworth evaded, saying she's facing attacks because she has lots of grassroots support. Rep. Nelson stuck his neck out and said that he's read the arguments made against Bosworth's petition and agrees there are legitimate concerns about whether she should be on the ballot.
Donors, pay attention: it is not just one liberal blogger or a reporter in Pierre questioning Annette Bosworth's credentials as a Republican candidate. It is a conservative, pro-life pastor. It is the most prominent conservative talk radio host in South Dakota. It is a genuine grassroots conservative Senate candidate. It is Republicans.
Update 10:10 CDT: Belfrage tweets that he has had politicians surprise him with phone calls, but he has never had one just show up at the studio. Scott Hudson tweets that Belfrage should have let her in: "It could have been a legendary moment in South Dakota political radio. Pat Powers agrees. I say Belfrage did Bosworth a favor by giving her 24 hours to think about what word salad she wants to serve in response.