Is Tim Amdahl the comeback kid? Kranz talks about Amdahl for Congress against Herseth

Dave Kranz is reporting today in his Argus Leader column (not on-line as of this writing) that Tim Amdahl may be deciding to make a run at Stephanie Herseth in the congressional race.

Tim, the former Commissioner of School and Public Lands (from 1986-1990) had participated in the congressional race for the vacated Thune Congressional seat where he would drive his camper/mobile campaign office around the state.

I can't access the Secretary of State's election data at the moment, otherwise I'd post the election results from that race for your review. Suffice it to say that Tim was not the front runner. (watch for an update later)

But having held statewide elective office, Tim does know how to campaign at a statewide level. He knows how to go into a town and get the local media's attention. In the beginning, he might not be considered much, but if he hooks on to the right theme and issues his candidacy could go farther than others.

I suspect Tim would run on a platform of family values coupled with appealing to Republican values of freedom and lesser government. As before, you might see him making a serious appeal to South Dakota's ag community.

In the 2002 race, Tim's spending in the primary was not unrespectable for this kind of race. From Opensecrets.org:
2001-2002 Total Receipts: $32,912
2001-2002 Total Spent: $32,818
Cash on Hand: $91
Debts: $3,051
Date of last report: December 31, 2002
I'm just guessing here, as I don't recall. But I don't recall him being on tv, runnning commercials. If my hazy memory is correct, that probably hurt him as much as anything. Running your campaign purely on the road is noble, but impractical in a state with South Dakota's geographical size.

But don't forget about Jim Seward. As I mentioned recently, I hear he is thinking about it.

Between Amdahl and Seward, I'm going to try to chase down whether these guys are serious. The best of both worlds would be that they're both willing to give it a go, and there would be a primary so Republicans could put their best foot forward.

Republican supporters deserve an opportunity to be competitive in that race. Hopefully next fall, we can "bring it" to the congressional contest.

Comments

jack said…
Jim Seward would be a far, far better candidate than Tim Amdahl, but either will lose the general. Seward has been getting good press from his prosecution of the Belle Fourche mayor and he is very good on television. He seems pretty smart and he's quite articulate.

Amdahl is not. I met Amdahl in 2002 and I was not impressed. Even after telling him I was skeptical of too much mixing of government and religion, he continued to sort of ramble on about teaching the bible in school and making Christianity the central part of our government -- not particularly persuasive (ever heard of 'know your audience?')

And I don't know how raising $25,000 in six months can be considered credible. He's already probably a half-million behind Herseth, and even if he raised ten times that amount in 2006, he won't be competitive. Amdahl won the School and Public Lands seat by 3,000 votes and then promptly lost it to Democrat Curt Johnson, handing the Dems their only Constitutional Office during the Mickelson 1990 landslide (PUC, is technically not a Constitutional Office). His loss ended a streak of five straight GOP School and Public Lands Commissioners (and during a GOP Governor landslide!). After that, he got less than 10,000 votes in the Republican Congressional primary -- placing third in his home county -- and he lost a bid for PUC (to Gary Hanson) at his own party's convention.

I'd say Seward is a far, far better candidate, and if Amdahl is the only option on the table, I'd keep looking.

In any event, thanks for the update.
Anonymous said…
I know Larry Russell will not challenge Herseth, but he would be our best candidate. Russell could successfully debate Herseth toe to toe. Russell is young, smart, carismatic, articulate, passionate, enthusiastic, and conservative (fiscally and socially). These are the qualities we need in a candidate to ever have a chance to defeat Herseth. The Central Committee had their chance to defeat Herseth in 2004, and they nominated the wrong candidate. Diedrich (who is a nice guy, and someone I supported in the 2002 U.S. House primary vs. Janklow) was defeated by Herseth in the June 1st Special Election by 1.5%, and I can guarantee you that Larry Russell and his campaign would have been 1.5% better than Diedrich. If the Central Committee would have made the right decision back in January 2004, we would not be having this conversation today, and we would have Congressman Russell in the U.S. House!

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