Breaking News: Shannon County GOP Chair Bruce Whalen to take on Herseth

The hat tip on this one goes to Theron McChesney of SD Progressive for picking up on the breaking news from "The Hill" first:

Carol Pitts, the Republican Party's top recruit to challenge Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D) in South Dakota, announced yesterday that she will not run.

Instead, Bruce Whalen, the Republican chairman of Shannon County, will make a bid to unseat Herseth, said South Dakota Republican Party Executive Director Max Wetz.

Whalen is now considered the front-runner to win the GOP nomination. Thomas Bixler of Yankton is also vying to challenge Herseth.

Read all of this breaking news story here. (Scroll down for South Dakota)

If the party is announcing it, we can assume Bruce is being annointed as the party's mainstream candidate over Tom Bixler.

As many Republicans know, Bruce was the South Dakota GOP's man on South Dakota's reservations as the GOP tried during the last election to break a decades old stranglehold that the South Dakota Democrats hold on that voting block. Bruce is enthusiastic, and has a can-do attitude that will serve him well in this uphill race.

I have an e-mail out to him to see if he has a release he's putting out. As you'll notice, I've also added a picture of him to the rolling pictures at the top of the page (next to Stan Cartman).

If Bruce doesn't have a release ready to go, I'll try to get an interview in. So in the meantime, stay tuned to this website for more on the congressional race!


jack said…
As a candidate, Whalen pulled 15.9% in his home county in 2004. As a political organizer, he delivered 13% of the voters for his boss (John Thune). He has 2% name ID and nothing in his campaign account.

Steffi has to be happy with this situation.

If the State Party keeps recruiting, it looks like they're afraid to have an Indian on the ballot as a Republican (note Wetz calling Carol Pitts their top choice). If Whalen is the GOP candidate, Joel Rosenthal's landslide prediction is a done deal. I also wonder what Tim Amdahl thinks of Wetz annointing Whalen as the 'frontrunner' (does he know something we don't pp?)

In any event, the GOP leadership gets to say they have a candidate, and Herseth wins in a landslide.
Anonymous said…
Whalen is a nice enoough guy, but let's be honest - If he wasn't one of the few vocal Republicans on a reservation, we wouldn't know him from Adam. I can respect Bruce for doing a thankless job in Shannon County for the party, but he has no chance against Herseth. But I guess when you start turning to the chair of the most Democratic County in the state to be a candidate, things are getting pretty desperate.

I just hope we don't dump a bunch of money into this race in order to make Bruce (and the 12 GOPers on the rez) feel good.

Wish we could do better, but I can't think of anyone else. Sad.
Anonymous said…
It's Eric Cartman, not Stan Cartman. Stan's last name is Marsh.
PP said…
Anon #3, Did you even look at it?

It's Eric Cartman as Stan Adelstein. Hence "Stan Cartman"
Anonymous said…
I think Bruce would be a fine candidate, just as I am pleased that two GOP women legislators are considering a run. I don't understand why there are so many negative comments on this web site about potential challengers. Apparently, someone believes their crystal ball indicates that no one could rise above the low 40s, and therefore, no one should run. Are these the minions of Herseth, the mainstream coalition or simply self-defeating republicans. I hope they are either Herseth's people or the mainstreamers as both are not republicans.

Anyway, let's encourage, rather than discourage. Some all-knowing individual speaking of low 40s should find something positive to say, unless of course they are working for the mainstreams and/or herseth!
Anonymous said…
Last Anon-I'm am neither a mainstreamer or a Dem but a realist and political junkie like many. I like watching and supporting races that are true contests, if there isn't going to be one this year w/Herseth, fine. You can not make one w/a sub par candidate just because they are a Republican...if Tom Bixler was the candidate as a Republican, would you give him $1000? Would you give S. Krebs, Whalen that amount? Would you call your friends and business assocatiates and ask that they do the same?

That's the problem w/poor candidates running against someone like Herseth. Remeber some of the
'sacks of tatoes the Dems ran against Thune in the House, if you took great interest in those races too bad for you. I think the collective point is enthusiasm comes on the belief at some level of a possible success (be it in a win or a message being pushed into the light). Sorry Charlie, not here, not now, not with these candidates.

Go ahead PP, preach against that as I'm sure you will. But I will leave the "give it the old college try" motivation to the political consultants, self-serving and often times self-deluding candidates.
PP said…
I will preach against that, as candidates are not made in the announcement. They are made through hard work.

If it weren't the case, Stephanie would have been written off when she took on Janklow.

She worked hard, and proved herself by the vote total she obtained, which put her in the drivers seat for the special.

Republicans tend to be too quick to kick their candidates to the curb before they see what they can do.
Anonymous said…
What others are saying!!
Dirty Politics-The Attack Dog/Lap Dog Effect

The Bush administration and the Republican controlled congress have made a horrendous mess of our country, in too many ways to summarize with a 200 word limit.

Our state government, also controlled by republicans, has maintained a culture of social and economic racism directed at the tribes within the state and has wasted too much time and money on extremist far right issues.

Now we have Max Wetz apparently a Karl Rove clone in the role of attack dog and Bruce Whalen, apparently in the role of the Republicans’ lap dog, shamelessly attacking our Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth with lies and slander and trying to get her to publicly denounce the Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean.

This ruse is so obviously stupid that only a Republican zealot could have conjured it up and it is even more absurd that Whalen would allow himself to be drawn into such an idiotic plot.

If Bruce Whalen has any decency at all, he will disavow these tactics, and run his campaign based on whatever skills and abilities he thinks he has, and not attempt to slander a hard working young lady who enjoys very strong support in our state

George Wilson
PO Box 311
Pine Ridge SD

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