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Crow: Ravnsborg Didn’t Fire Me; Lederman, Arends Urged Him to Run

As reported here first over the weekend, Tea Party organizer Ken Crow said he was leaving the Jason Ravnsborg campaign and endorsing Stace Nelson for South Dakota's GOP Senate nomination.

Ravnsborg appears to have responded via Twitter that he actually fired Crow last week. (Whether Ravnsborg himself tweeted that tidbit is in question, as someone besides Jason appears to have posting access.)

Crow rejects that claim in a comment here this morning and in a new press release. Crow says he has e-mails that show Ravnsborg welcomed Crow's further participation in the campaign. Crow says he left because he saw a candidate who does not want to win.

And why doesn't Ravnsborg want to win? Based six weeks on the trail with the candidate, Crow concludes that Ravnsborg is running to do a favor for his friends Dan Lederman and Joel Arends:

...After several conversations late at night while driving back from Lincoln Day Dinners, he had mentioned this fellow named Lederman at several different times. It had never registered with me for I was not familiar with the inner workings of South Dakota politics.

Of course now I am being told that it was Lederman who had convinced Jason Ravnsborg to run in the first place. In retrospect, Ravnsborg had mentioned to me on several occasions that he had been talked into running by several State Legislators and Lederman’s name was in the same breath when this was said to me. To be candid I cannot recall if he explicitly stated that Lederman was the only one, but I can state categorically that Lederman was mentioned several times in these conversations along with a fellow by the name of Joel Arends and several other state officials. Again; it did not mean much to me at the time because I did not understand the gravity of what he was saying. But the fact is that he did admit that it was his old college friends that are now in the Legislature that had convinced him to run. Of course I have subsequently learned that Arends is the Attorney for Annette Bosworth [Ken Crow, press release, 2014.05.27].

Crow's mention of Joel Arends deserves attention. Arends has been Bosworth's attorney since at 2012. He's been helping her with her Senate campaign. She started campaigning in June 2013. After taking a pounding on this blog, she began to face mainstream media scrutiny in November 2013, when KDLT picked up the story about her raffle scam and forced her to spout nonsense on the evening news. Ravnsborg entered the race in mid-December 2013.

The possible Arends connection to Ravnsborg becomes all the more discussion-worthy when Crow tells us what Ravnsborg proposed doing with the Rounds-EB-5 ad that Ravnsborg felt was too strong for him to run:

Jason had sent me an email on Monday after this altercation and I am in possession of these emails. I was offered 3 different options in which one involved selling the advertisement (Mike Rounds EB-5 video) to the Dr. Annette Bosworth campaign [Crow, 2014.05.27].

Logic spins:

  1. If the ad is really bad, you don't let it see the light of day.
  2. If the ad is a lemon, only a used-car salesman would think of selling it to someone else
  3. If the ad hits a mark that you don't want to hit, you hand it to a poor marksman who can make everyone else think, "Don't use that gun; only crazy people pick up that gun."

The immediate story here is that Jason Ravnsborg's campaign staff has issued a vote of no confidence in their candidate. Ken Crow, the campaigner who spent six weeks at Ravnsborg's side, says that Ravnsborg doesn't want to win. Crow says that Stace Nelson is the serious conservative alternative to Mike Rounds.

The bigger story we need to get at is why Jason Ravnsborg doesn't want to win, and why (and when, and how much) Dan Lederman and Joel Arends encouraged Ravnsborg to nominally wage a losing battle.Ravnsborg


  1. Laura 2014.05.27

    Don't have a dog in this fight, but just because Crow says he wasn't fired doesn't mean that is true...Bos says she pays her employees, Nelson says he had nothing to do with the robocalls, Rounds says he balanced the budget, etc...unless you have specific evidence to prove otherwise, I usually take the position that there is usually a little half truth in most statements made by people involved in politics when asked the hard questions. My concern is why is Nelson so excited about an endorsement from someone that his campaign not more than 3 weeks ago was calling a racist?? Kinda makes you go ummm?

  2. larry kurtz 2014.05.27

    So much for that dog you don't have in the fight, Laura.

  3. Disgusted Dakotan 2014.05.27

    @Laura The campaign manager and technical staff of a US Senate campaign just quit and endorsed their candidate's opponent and outed their candidate as a Rounds' plant. Please show me where the Nelson campaign called Mr Crow a racist. There was allegations of such being pushed previously from Left leaning sources, that did make one go "hmmm."

  4. Steve Sibson 2014.05.27

    Well this seems to confirm that the only serious conservative contender is Stace Nelson. All the others were plants by the SDGOP Establishment to suck votes away from Nelson. You got Rhoden pulling the west river libertarians, Ravnsborg pulling veterans and Bosworth pulling the anti-Obamacare conservatives who know Rounds and Daugaard were behind the idea of health exchanges from the get go.

  5. larry kurtz 2014.05.27

    Please join me and send Rep. Nelson some money.

  6. Jolee 2014.05.27

    Did anyone BOTHER to contact Ken Crows employers? Tea Party Community to interview them, before publishing this article? It would be called INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING which usually cuts down on those pesky RETRACTIONS/APOLOGIES/and/or/LAWSUITS? It would probably behoove the reporter A LOT to contact Admin at Tea Party Community about the FALSE INFORMATION REPORTED IN THIS ARTICLE. AND IT WOULD PROBABLY BE A GOOD IDEA FOR THEM TO CONTACT THEIR LEGAL DEPARTMENT. AND TO RETRACT AND PRINT AN APOLOGY TO JASON RAVNSBORG. WHO IS A BRONZE STAR RECIPIENT FOR GODS SAKE. Comments are welcomed. Someone hand me my big gulp while I wait.

  7. Bree S. 2014.05.27

    That's a good one, Larry. When did they enter that bill in the state legislature? Before or after Jan. 21st 2010?

  8. owen reitzel 2014.05.27

    "Please show me where the Nelson campaign called Mr Crow a racist. There was allegations of such being pushed previously from Left leaning sources, that did make one go "hmmm.""

    DD keep the left out of this fight unless there is proof from the Left sources that did make one

  9. Bree S. 2014.05.27

    Jolee, Ken Crow is a cofounder of Tea Party Community along with the Salety's according to Wikipedia. Why are you calling Tea Party Community his employer? If Ravnsborg doesn't like what's printed here, why doesn't he release the emails Crow is referring to? Why doesn't Ravnsborg prove his claim to have fired Crow? We deal in truth here not capitalized threats.

  10. CK 2014.05.27

    It would probably behoove the above commentor to learn proper grammar and internet comment etiquette.

    Shouting gets you nowhere, honey, and I'm pretty sure Cory thoroughly does his homework.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.27

    Jolee, I can only stand to talk to so many Tea Partiers in one day. And legal department? Please, you are far from the first person to think that throwing that baseless comment up would scare me into submission or censorship.

    Jason Ravnsborg (or someone tweeting for him) says he fired Ken Crow. Ken Crow says that's false. I invite anyone with knowledge of the situation to further confirm or deny. As Jolee says, the comment section is open. We'll see if I'm apologizing or if Jason Ravnsborg is apologizing for running the second bogus campaign on the GOP ticket this spring.

  12. Roger Cornelius 2014.05.27

    You're more tolerant than I, talking to teapublicans is bad for my health.

    Simple solution, if Jason fired Ken, produced a dated letter of termination.

  13. Ken Crow 2014.05.27

    Cory is in possession of the email exchanges between myself and Mr. Ravnsborg. Every word in my press releases is factual as well the emails. I have not lied one time in this entire sordid affair. I did not make it a sordid affair. My mistake was donating my time and energy to someone that did not actually want to win. I had interviewed Mr. Ravnsborg many times on the phone prior to travelling to South Dakota. He seemed very legitimate to me. But when you are on the verge of possibly forcing a run-off election and the candidate backs off, something is wrong! You know it and I know it. Why do you announce, campaign and work? It is too win! If you are not going to work to win, then don't drag good citizens into your political games. It is Ravnsborg that owes his volunteers and workers an apology.

  14. Troy 2014.05.27

    There are people who want to win but not to win at all costs, especially at the cost of their integrity.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.27

    Troy, how would it violate Ravnsborg's integrity to run an ad that repeated things Ravnsborg himself said earlier in the campaign, such as at the SDNA debate on April 12? In Pierre, Ravnsborg hit Rounds for being involved with EB-5 and losing $80 million. He hasn't since retracted that statement. How would running the ad in question constitute any further violation of integrity?

  16. larry kurtz 2014.05.27

    Well, at least we're learning why Rounds needed 9 million to win a Senate seat.

  17. Roger Cornelius 2014.05.27

    Doesn't one have to have integrity before it can be violated?

  18. Disgusted Dakotan 2014.05.27

    This explains the attack Powers posted on his Rounds' campaign blog put out by Lederman and Arends. Don't look at what Crow is saying people, look at Lederman's juvenile commercial.

    That is the GOP that Troy Jones and Pat Powers envision, not about the issues, or where candidates vote on them, but juvenile personal attacks on a disabled veteran who had to go the bathroom.

  19. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.05.27

    Oh, what the hell Disgusted, he only served more than a career, why should these people have to respect him? I'd hate to see the way they would treat Gene Murphy or any of the other DAV guys.

    PP had a post on DWC about the VSOs telling Burr to stick it because he called them lax for not challenging to have Shinsecki removed as head of the VA. I posted an article from last night that showed that Burr took over a million in campaign contributions from the healthcare industry, which by the way would like to privatize the VA. But after one good response, PP archived the article, although he had some that were three days old still on his website.

  20. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.05.28

    I posted the following on my two posts on DWC last night on the above issue.

    My apologies Pat Powers for my post last evening. I thought the post on the VA was your original post not reposting "Taking a Left Turn in South Dakota" post on the subject. How do I get this egg off my face?

  21. Tim S 2014.05.30

    Hey @Bree since you say you've went to WIKI to learn more about the Tea Party Community, maybe you take 2 seconds and be bothered to actually spell peoples names correctly?
    FYI: Just because Ken was given the title of co-founder doesn't mean he's an owner of the Tea Party Community. My family has, and continues to be the sole owners the Tea Party Community & Tea Party Tribune.

    Tim Selaty Sr.

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.30

    The use of the term "owners" here raises a red flag.

  23. Tim S 2014.05.30

    FACTS: The Tea Party Community and staff have not left the Ravnsborg camp.
    Mr. Crow is the ONLY ONE who has left the campaign, and his opinions and views are his exclusively. The Tea Party Community and staff continues to actively support and work closely with the Ravnsborg campaign.

  24. Tim S 2014.05.30

    @caheidelberger - Thought this statement was pretty clear: "My family has, and continues to be the sole owners".
    Owners = Wife, Son, and myself.
    Hope this help to clarify and lower the 'Reflag'.

  25. Bobbe Helmerick 2014.05.30

    So much for the integrity of the Tea Party Community.

  26. Lynn 2014.05.30

    Wow! I am going to have my own Tea Party too. Let's see I can endorse candidates and sell different varieties of Tea such as Native American Teas to Japanese Organic Kuckicha, Hojicha, Green and Maitake Tea.

  27. Lynn 2014.05.30

    Kukicha Tea*

Comments are closed.