Rep. Paula Hawks (D-9/Hartford) is excited about Rep. Susan Wismer's victory in the Democratic gubernatorial primary:
"She gives us all something to be really proud of and be really excited about," Hawks said.
With political aspirations of her own, Hawks says the history being made could open doors for more women in the future.
"We're moving forward and it's a giant step for everybody in South Dakota and South Dakotans of every party affiliation should be proud we're moving in this direction," Hawks said [Matt Holsen, "Women React to Wismer Win," KELOLand.com, 2014.06.04].
So is South Dakota Democratic Party chairwoman Deb Knecht:
When Susan Wismer won her race in yesterday's Democratic primary, she became the first woman in our state's history to earn a nomination for South Dakota governor.
Now all of us have to opportunity to make history again in November, by electing Susan as the first woman governor! [Deb Knecht, fundraising e-mail, South Dakota Democratic Party, 2014.06.03]
KELO's Holsen notes that Knecht has to choose her historical trumpeting carefully: Wismer is the second woman to appear on South Dakota's gubernatorial ballot. The somewhat socialist Nonpartisan League nominated Alice Daly for governor in 1922. Daly won 26.24% of the vote, almost beating Democrat Louis N. Crill, who got 28.74%, but not Republican incumbent governor William H. McMaster, who got 45.02%.
Daly stirred excitement in the national press for her speaking ability:
A spectacular feature of the campaign in South Dakota is the presence in the field of Miss Alice Lorraine Daly, who was nominated for the office of Governor of South Dakota by the South Dakota Branch of the Farmers' National Nonpartisan League. Miss Daly, who is a good speaker, started her active campaign several months ago, and has since that time been constantly making addresses in different parts of the State ["Woman May Be the Next Governor of So. Dakota," Boston Globe, 1922.08.06, p. 41].
Wismer is having trouble drawing similar excitement from the Boston Globe or the blogosphere. Lefty blogger and English teacher Michael Larson says Wismer needs some stronger language:
I will admit that I voted for Joe. Representative Wismer was lacking a little in personality and specific focus during the various debates viewed on-line. I figured that if Joe was going to win, he needed to drive more people to the polls on Tuesday. This would be a good thing. Start getting the Democrats that are still breathing to find a little passion. Obviously, this did not occur. Too many Democrats were sitting at home and many probably had no idea that there was a primary going on a couple of days ago.
If Susan Wismer wants to hope to break 35%, she is going to need to start doing what Weiland is doing and starting pounding the highways, looking for independent voters. I hope that Mrs. Wismer will start practicing strong language on the campaign trail. Every time she speaks about Daugaard, there cannot be weak statments of "I am not sure what we can do about that." She must offer clear, bold, and focused attacks followed by concrete plans [Michael Larson, "Primary Post-Mortem," Taking a Left Turn in South Dakota, 2014.06.05].
Fellow English teacher Leo Kallis believes Democrats chose unwisely:
Any reading of this blog will show that I am not Susan Wismer's biggest fan. I remain unconvinced that she's the right woman to take on Dennis Daugaard, an incumbent who is surrounded by South Dakota's largest coterie of Mayberry Machiavellis [Leo Kallis, "Turns Out Annette Bosworth Was Right: The Media Do Hate Women Of Substance," The Displaced Plainsman, 2014.06.04].
Republican John Tsitrian says Democrats committed primary hara-kiri:
On the Dem side, I'm chagrined that party insider Susan Wismer knocked off the dynamic Joe Lowe, whose background and style are much more suited to an executive suite than Wismer's tentative and wishy-washy persona. Wismer went far on party support and name-recognition, particularly in the rural counties of the eastern part of the state, but Dems should ask themselves why Lowe carried Pennington and Minnehaha Counties, where urbanized voters were probably more keenly aware of the differences between the two candidates based on the natural tendency to be more exposed, aware and knowledgeable about the race, thanks to more intense media and personal exposure. Dems might have had a chance with Lowe, but surrendered that possibility by nominating Wismer [John Tsitrian, "Rounds Doesn't Close The Sale. Dems Commit Hara-Kiri with Wismer. Jensen Wins In District 33? Ugh," The Constant Commoner, 2014.06.04].
But if Wismer wants hope, Wismer needs to remake herself. She needs to stop apologizing, stop moping about how hard it is to be a Democrat, and be a Democrat.
She needs to be more like Alice Daly:
Miss Daly first attracted Statewide attention in South Dakota five or six years ago when she was a teacher in the State Normal School at Madison, S.D. Even at that date she entertained views which were deemed too radical by members of the State Board of Regents and the result was that after extended correspondence between herself and members of the board, which was distinguished by its lurid character, Miss Daly resigned her place in the Normal School. In retiring she paid her respects to the members of the Board of Regents in a letter which attracted the attention of the entire State [Boston Globe, 1922.08.06].
While I look for those letters, Susan, find and unleash your inner radical!
...Miss Daly has proven herself more than a match for most male campaigners by her quickness of wit during speeches and the unusual knowledge she has of great public questions [Boston Globe, 1922.08.06].
Build and project that knowledge! And consider this Daly speech, quoted by the Boston Globe, from a Davison County community picnic in 1922:
I come before the voters of South Dakota as a human being, without any question of sex entering in. It is not a question of sex, but of capability, qualifications and spirit.
...Although I hope I shall not be called upon to say much during my campaign in defense of myself as a woman candidate for Governor, the first thing I shall do when elected will be a very womanly task. I shall take a broom and sweep the State House nice and clean [Alice Daly, quoted in Boston Globe, 1922.08.06].
...and take this shot:
...In South Dakota there has grown up a line of succession, and now we always have a Crown Prince or heir apparent [Alice Daly, quoted in Boston Globe, 1922.08.06].
Making history is all great and fine. But I doubt it's a voting issue. Susan Wismer won a low-turnout primary by counting on party faithful to stick with her party-establishment credentials. That will not translate to Independent outreach or November victory. Wismer needs to get on top of the issues, take bold stands, and fire up like the last woman to run for Governor, Alice Daly.