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Nelson Dings Rounds on Big Money; Rounds Calls Criticism D.C. Dysfunction

On a question about the ability and willingness to compromise and get things done in Washington, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Stace Nelson said he's running to represent every South Dakotan of every party. He spoke of serving with dedicated Democrats as "a privilege and an honor." He then leveled this criticism at his own party and the man standing to his left:

SN Turn SDPB 20140515We have to be honest: our country is in trouble with 17 trillion dollars in debt and we can't blame that on the Democrats. That occurred because go-along-to-get-along bought and paid for career politicians went to DC and sold themselves out for about *** nine million dollars of special interest moneys to get there. And they work for the lobbyists. They went along with all that pork-barrel spending, and they increased our national debt and just made a mess out of things in D.C. [Rep. Stace Nelson, GOP U.S. Senate primary debate, SDPB TV, 2014.05.15, timestamp 1:06:52].

See those three asterisks? At that point, Nelson paused, turned to Mike Rounds, curled his lip just a little bit, then delivered the nine-million-dollar line. He didn't raise his voice. I couldn't have coached that gesture better myself. The stagecraft of that moment was Reaganesque.

Nelson went on to cite Democrats as character references for his ability to work with others in Congress:

SN Head SDPB 20140515"I promise you, if you send me to D.C., I will serve each and every last South Dakotan. I don't care if they're Democrat, Independent, Republican, Constitutionalist, or Libertarian. I will go to D.C. and I will break my heart trying to find the right solutions for America. And I won't play these petty partisan games. And if you doubt me on that, I would ask you to talk to my Democratic colleagues in the South Dakota Legislature. They will tell you that I am the most conservative legislator in the South Dakota Legislature. But they will tell you that I am an honest, principled person and that I will support good legislation when I can as strongly as if it was my own, because I work for you, and those Democrats work for you, and I will work with them in D.C. to try to find the right solutions for America [Nelson, SDPB debate, timestamp 1:07:19].

And how did Mike Rounds respond to that appeal to bipartisanship and the criticism of his big money from special interests?

MR Head SDPB 20140515The dysfunction in Washington D.C.? You've seen some of it right here tonight. Folks, you have to be able to play well with other people. You have to be able to work with them, agree to disagree sometimes and still come out, find ways to compromise on other issues [Mike Rounds, SDPB debate, 1:08:29].

Mike Rounds, bullcrap. Stace Nelson's criticism of your own campaign finance goals and strategy is not an example of D.C. dysfunction; it's an attempt to diagnose and address dysfunction. Your response seems to reinforce what Nelson says: you will go along to get along. You'll poo-poo those who take bold stands as "not team players." And you won't bring any new ideas to Washington, or the ideas and interests of the regular folks back home from all sides of the aisle who don't put thousands of dollars in your pocket.

On this question alone, Rounds sounds like the purveyor of politics as usual, while Nelson sounds like the candidate who will speak truth to money and power on behalf of all Republicans and all South Dakotans.


  1. Steve Sibson 2014.05.16

    Cory, actually Rounds' response supported Nelson's go-along-to get-along point in regard to the process used by crony capitalists. What Rounds does not like is that principled conservatives will make their crony capitalist Neo-Fascism "dysfunctional". Of course the same is true of the Democrat's Neo-Marxism.

  2. Rhino Lynn 2014.05.16

    I feel Stace came in first last night with the debate and agree with ken of at SoDakLiberty blog with how the candidates performed

    It looked to me that Stace did a great job in preparation for the debate and kept it positive for the time needed counter what the political opposition would say that is campaign is just about being angry and negative.

    The only two things that I felt were in error was what Ken pointed out over at SoDakLiberty with he went into too much biographical data when answering a question and what I felt was just a little to much of an attack on Rounds in the final opportunity to speak. Again it's good and vital to attack Rounds but you don't want to turn off voters and give the opposition with too much negativity nor play into Rounds theme that he as the ability to work with others.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.16

    I wonder, Lynn (and Ken), if David Montgomery would agree that Nelson spent too much time attacking Rounds in closing. Montgomery was saying on SDPB Wednesday that the challengers had to attack Rounds or lose. I think Nelson went there about as hard as anyone could in the context of the questions. And it's hard to pass up a chance to be last speaker, with no immediate rebuttal from Rounds possible, and to drop the hammer on him.

  4. Rhino Lynn 2014.05.16

    Cory it was an excellent and lucky opportunity for Nelson to be the last to speak. I agree with applying the final hammer but I alone not Ken came away with the feeling of just a tiny itty bitty less of attack at the very end and finish it with sweetness and a positive note. lol That's just me though.

  5. Mark 2014.05.16

    Are there any joint appearance left before 6/3?

  6. Mark 2014.05.16

    Make that appearances. (wishful thinking?)

  7. Steve Sibson 2014.05.16

    Lets not forget Bosworth's answer to the question:

    Men are worthless, women are the solution.

    Typical anti-man feminist goddess worship. And she is suppose to be a conservative?

  8. Bree S. 2014.05.16

    I agree with Rhino Lynn. I thought Stace went after Rounds just a touch too much in his closing statement. And I also agree with Ken that he went into too much Bio again on a question in regards to reiterating his military service. Really though I can understand why he did that, unbelievable that Ravnsborg had the gall to say Stace's military service wasn't relevant. I find Stace's experience in counter-terrorism and counter-espionage especially and entirely relevant to the
    EB-5 problems we have in South Dakota.

    I haven't much else to say negative about Stace's debate performance. I thought he rambled a little at the beginning of answering one question and he was a touch evasive in another question. He definitely blew away everyone else. I would rank the debate Nelson, Rhoden, Rounds, Ravnsborg, Bosworth.

  9. Bree S. 2014.05.16

    I think its mostly self-absorption Steve. She hasn't anything to recommend her other than chromosomal differences at this point. My mouth was hanging open a couple of times as she talked about running a small business and needing to make sure people got paid.

    On another note, Cory you should review the Idaho Debates.

  10. Kurt Evans 2014.05.16

    “John Thune needs a partner.”
    —Manager Mike Rounds

    As I commented last night at SDWC, let’s get Thune’s perspective.

    August 26, 2002 (Rapid City Journal):
    South Dakota would be better off if it had a Republican senator who could work not only with Daschle, but also with President Bush and GOP members of Congress, he said.
    “I think having muscle on both sides of the aisle is important,” Thune said.

    October 22, 2002 (Minnesota Public Radio):
    For Congressman John Thune, the race is about political balance.
    “South Dakota would benefit from having muscle on both sides of the aisle. I think right now we kind of have a one-sided team in the United States Senate,” Thune says. “We got people who can work with the Democrat side — Tom Daschle can work with the Democrats.
    I could work with the Democrats, but I also could work with the Republicans and with the White House, and I think that’s a very powerful combination for South Dakota.”

    October 24, 2002 (Rapid City Journal):
    Thune said South Dakota already has power among Democrats in Congress because Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle is the Senate majority leader. The state’s second senator should be a Republican who can work with other GOP lawmakers and President Bush, he said.
    “That is a team with muscle on both sides of the aisle. That gives us a strong bipartisan combination,” Thune said.

    November 4, 2002 (PBS News Hour):
    REP. JOHN THUNE: With Senator Daschle, obviously you’ve got a leader among the Democrats, but right now South Dakota has what is essentially a one-sided team in the Senate, and I think we need a team with muscle on both sides of the aisle. I think South Dakota’s most effective, most powerful combination is a team that can work not just with the Democrats, but also with the Republicans in the Senate and with the White House to get things done for the state.


    Admittedly, if the goal were to find a "partner" for Thune, Manager Mike would be a great fit.

  11. larry kurtz 2014.05.16

    Control the courts, Dems: letting the earth hater party control the judicial confirmation process would signal an extinction-level event.

  12. Dave Baumeister 2014.05.16

    I see why you don't mention Bosworth in your reports of the debates. She came off as a total imbecile. 1st question about "natural disasters" - she refers to "national" disasters three times (never mentioning the word "natural"), and her pat answer is "let the families solve the problems." I really don't think she is as stupid as she comes off, but she is so confused about what she is doing, as her husband has tried to recreate her as something completely contrary to what she truly is, that she cannot even think for herself anymore. Last night, that really showed.

  13. Roger Cornelius 2014.05.16

    The disappointment I had about the debate was that there wasn't, and hardly a comment, concerning GOED/EB-5.

    Stace did what he had to do, perhaps he did attack Rounds too much, but it was necessary, this was the only public opportunity for him to call out Mike before the primary.

  14. Rhino Lynn 2014.05.16

    Reminder the debates are in Kyle tonight

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.16

    Tonight? They were this afternoon!

  16. grudznick 2014.05.16

    Mr. Rhoden is at home West River. Go Mr. Rhoden!

  17. owen reitzel 2014.05.16

    hope he stays west river grud

  18. grudznick 2014.05.16

    Think he's got the East River vote locked up enough already, Owen? Methinks he'll probably make a few more swings to the more libbie eastern edge of our state over the next few weeks and then really pound a focus on Sioux Falls during the general election.

  19. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.05.16

    Feminism does not equal man hating.

  20. Bree S. 2014.05.16

    Yeah I think Rhoden's Warshington cowboy ad is really making waves in Sioux Falls.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.16

    Nope—looks like it's been playing anonymous astroturf games since February. Hit "Ignore".

  22. DM 2014.05.16

    Nelson is an idiot. He acts more like a Dem than a Republican as he never bashes the Dems and yet claims to be the most conservative, which Dems despise. Very confusing.

  23. Les 2014.05.16

    """"Very confusing.""""""" To be expected from childish name callers.

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.17

    Bree, I checked the Idaho highlights. Funny stuff! Why can't our debates be that fun?

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.17

    Kurt, great point on Thune's own statements about bipartisan representation. I won't bang that drum too loudly, however, as that will sandbag our efforts to replace Thune with a sensible Democrat to join Weiland in 2016.

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.17

    DM, Nelson doesn't need to bash Democrats right now. He'll do plenty of that in the general. Do you disagree with his point that "go-along-to-get-along" Republicans are as responsible for the national debt as Democrats? Do you disagree with his effort to distinguish himself from his immediate competitors?

  27. Roger Cornelius 2014.05.17

    Did we listen to the same debate?
    Nelson and his Republicans comrades spent an ample amount of time bashing President Obama and the ACA when they could have been debating GOED/EB-5 and other conservative scandals and lies.
    I don't much care for Nelson's politics, but he is not an idiot just because we have differing opinions.

  28. owen reitzel 2014.05.17

    "Methinks he'll probably make a few more swings to the more libbie eastern edge of our state over the next few weeks and then really pound a focus on Sioux Falls during the general election."

    Hope he does. I'd like to talk to him about his ad.

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