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Wismer Matches Voters on Policy, But Mercer Says She Can’t Win

Bob Mercer beats up on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Susan Wismer in a withering assessment of her campaign. He says Wismer and running mate Susy Blake are about to make unwanted history by lengthening the GOP's grip on the governor's office to forty years. Mercer ridicules Wismer's fundraising power:

While Wismer struggled to attract people to a Sioux Falls fundraiser last Sunday evening — the crowd at its peak might have reached three dozen, mostly women, and mostly older than her — Daugaard hosted a crowd of some 700 guests at the annual governor’s pheasant hunt [Bob Mercer, "History-Making Ticket Fading in Governor's Race," Rapid City Journal, 2014.11.02].

The portrayal of Wismer surrounded by little old ladies seems odd, given that Wismer has shown no sign of parlaying her lady-power ticket into higher turnout from the female majority. The last SurveyUSA poll shows no meaningful difference in Wismer's support between women and men or between older and younger voters.

Mercer continues the beating, portraying Wismer as diffident and unprepared for a statewide campaign:

Wismer, 58, and Blake, 63, when asked what it would take to rebuild the Democratic organization, said they didn’t know. Wismer struggled with whether to run for governor. First she was in, then she wasn’t, and then she decided she had to be, she said.

She is finishing her sixth year in the state House of Representatives. An accountant from Britton, she lived in a heavily Democratic legislative district and didn’t need to worry about campaigning for the House seat [Mercer, 2014.11.01].

But then Mercer gets so excited about mocking Democrats that he starts making stuff up:

She went from essentially a certain winner whose political values matched those prevalent in her area, to a certain long-shot who doesn’t seem to be in sync with what a majority of voters want from state government.

Not in sync with what a majority of voters want? A majority of voters want state government to raise the minimum-wage; so does Wismer, but not Governor Dennis Daugaard. A majority of voters would have state government raise teacher pay; so would Wismer. Voters would have state government expand Medicaid; so would Wismer. According to the last SurveyUSA poll, a majority want more details about the EB-5 scandal; Wismer has fought to get to the bottom of EB-5, while Daugaard has participated in the GOP stonewall on the scandal that should bring down his former boss Mike Rounds, if not his own complicit administration.

Mercer mischaracterizes the disconnect. It's not between what voters want and what Wismer wants. It's between South Dakota voters' policy urges and their overriding, cognitively dissonant affection for certain names, faces, images, and party labels.


  1. Jaka 2014.11.02

    Mercer seems to have drank the Pierre GOP koolaid way too long for sure.

  2. John 2014.11.02

    Many could have written Mercer's comments months ago. The democrats should have nominated Joe Lowe, but instead chose once again to shoot themselves in the foot only to bemoan the awful wound and near inaction.

  3. larry kurtz 2014.11.02

    Ten minutes after DD's coronation he will expand Medicaid, renounce Rounds and come out of the closet.

  4. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.11.02

    John, And if the Dems had nominated Joe Lowe, he would have maybe gotten one percent more votes in the general than Wismer.

    Larry, Crap in one hand and wish in the other and see which one fills up the fastest.

  5. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.11.02

    Larry, I should have added, ten minutes after his coronation, he will announce that he has to cut education funding 5% as they are running short of funds in the Redi fund.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.02

    Lanny, I disagree: Lowe would have created greater synergy among candidates and driven more GOTV enthusiasm. If asked how to rebuild the Democratic Party, he would likely have a ready answer. The difference would have been more than one percentage point.

    I do agree with you that a second Daugaard term keeps education funding in peril.

  7. Bill Fleming 2014.11.02

    You're right Cory. There is a great disconnect between the wishes and needs of the people of South Dakota, and the candidates they choose to represent them.

    It seems we continually-almost neurotically- fail to understand that we are only a Democracy on voting day. Hence, we the people only have that one day, every two years to really hold our elected officials’ feet to the fire.

    We should be far, far better informed and selective about who we choose. It's not a popularity contest, our lives depend on it. We should chose our political leaders with that in mind.

    If your Senator was a doctor, would you trust him/her with your child's life? Because that is exactly what a Senator's job really is all about.

  8. larry kurtz 2014.11.02

    Democrats should kill the primary process and nominate our candidates at the convention.

  9. Tim 2014.11.02

    Larry, you mean like the libertarians? That leaves a bit to be desired.

  10. larry kurtz 2014.11.02

    Primaries are a waste resources: expect the earth haters to kill theirs, too.

  11. grudznick 2014.11.02

    Many people have said that young Ms. Wismer was very weak in the legislatures and even though there are few Democrats there most were better suited than her to run. Odd none stepped up.

  12. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.11.02

    The view from MN is that SD Democrats screwed up the governor contest badly. Wismer appears to be a poor campaigner and fundraiser. However, she almost certainly would make a better governor than Dogaurd.

    Larry, I prefer primaries to nominating conventions or caucuses. In MN the Democratic Party has caucuses and I don't like them, though I have attended. Both conventions and caucuses involve fewer citizens than primaries.

  13. Wayne Pauli 2014.11.03

    My favorite oval that I colored in was the oval for Wismer / Blake. Yes, I know they will probably not get past 30%, but the most awesome thing about these ladies is that they are not The incumbent.

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.03

    Wayne, we need to inspire more awe than that.

  15. leslie 2014.11.03

    susan, campaign skills or not, in person is formidable, an active, thoughtful patient listener, she rocked the "Lakota GOTV" at UTTC, rapid city, all afternoon sunday, long after rick sang and left. rick, robin, ritchie, rochelle, corrina, yes, CORRINA, rocked the place too.

    go susan!! vote for this woman now and often!!:)

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