You read it here, AND ONLY HERE:Clash of the Titans II
Schwiesow versus Adelstein

Here's the scenario:
Two high profile Republican candidates;
There's a prior go-around, and no love lost between them;
One participated in publicly savaging the other in the media for his liberal views;
In turn, the other stole the one's campaign chairman from the first go around.
One is a State Party official. The other is a state legislator.
This is going to be a damn good race to watch.

Of course, I can only be talking about the re-match of the century: State Senator Stan Adelstein versus South Dakota GOP Vice Chairman Elli Schwiesow.

Why is this quickly eclipsing other hot races as the race of next June? We'll get to that in a minute. To start, let's just look at where they ended up after the last election:


Stanford M. Adelstein 2108

2108 51.49%
Elli Schwiesow 1986

1986 48.51%


122 votes separated the two combatants. And those 122 votes were hard fought. And not just hard fought. They were really, really expensive.

In the 2004 Republican primary, Elli raised and spent $31,284.56. And then there was Stan. He spent $110, 089.39 - and that's not the primary and general election. It was spent entirely in the primary. In other words, to get those 122 votes above what Elli had, he had to spend $78,804.83 more than she did. That's 122 votes at $645.91 per vote.

And ever since, the gulf between them has just widened.

The first shot across the bow was probably Stan bankrolling and actively promoting the Mainstream Coalition. And a return volley quickly followed in the form of "the letter."

Remember the letter that came out from a large group of Republicans? I wrote about it back last August. If you don't recall it, here's a snippet:
Lastly, we sympathize with these Republican "moderates" who want to be acknowledged by their party, who want their voice to be heard. After all, they have ideals too. Unfortunately, their ideals are already represented in the planks of the Democratic platform. Why should the Republican Party give voice, aid or comfort to those who represent a liberal philosophy that has been repudiated by voters time and again on the state and national level?
The whole thing appeared in the Rapid City Journal, which you can reach through this link. The letter was signed by many Republican notables such as
Gordon Howie, Elizabeth Kraus, Bill Napoli, Don Van Etten, GOP Congressional Candidate Bruce Whalen, and of course Elli.

After that, there was more than a rumbling of a rematch in the media. And one of the first things Stan did in preparation of it was to snatch up Elli's campaign chairman (and former Pennington County GOP chairman) Brian Hagg
to serve as one of Stan's campaign chairs, as he reports on this edition of Denise Ross' Talking Smack for the Rapid City Journal's Mt. Blogmore.

Before recent developments, I was pegging the Napoli/McCoy contest to be the biggest primary in the state. This race was figured as a very close second, until tonight. Tonight, I got my hot little hands on some information that just raised it to #1 on my list.

HERE'S THE SCOOP: This could be simply rumor, but some time back I was told that 'supposedly' Stan Adelstein had hired political consultant Jody Severson to work on political races this year for him. Jody is a long time South Dakota consultant often associated with Democratic causes, when he's not doing non-political stuff. I've spoken with him over e-mail before, and I have a pretty high regard for his abilities. There's no getting around it - he's good.

But tonight I found out that Stan isn't the only one who has a consultant. Again, this might simply be water cooler talk, but I hear Elli has hired a consultant as well. And, if true, I don't think Stan is going to like this one.

Tonight, I heard through the GOP grapevine that Elli Schwiesow has gone out and hired Patrick Davis to do some consulting for her campaign. Patrick is no stranger to South Dakota or Republican Politics. In addition to many other things, he served a long stint as State Republican Party Executive Director, he worked as a NRSC Regional Political Director, and for the 2004 cycle, he was National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Political Director.

Patrick is one of those rare folks at the level of political genius. He is well thought of on a national basis. And since hanging his own shingle to work out of his house in Colorado, he's had no shortage of clients, including being signed for a U.S. Senate race or two for the 2006 cycle.

If all of this pans out, this sets the stage for the Schwiesow/Adelstein race to be a constant move of pieces on the chess board. Every press release, every commercial, every mailer will have been thought out and re-thought. If this is true, you will see more money spent in this primary for the State Senate then you will in half of the statewide races in the general election.

If it's true, and you are a student of the craft (meaning you watch this stuff as closely as I do), you won't want to miss one second of this race.

And if it's all true, just remember you heard it here first.

If not, I'll just invoke Emily Litella as played by Gilda Radner from the old Saturday Night Live. And just ask you to "nevermind."


Anonymous said…
I hate to differ with you PP, but Jody Severson is not that good. He doesn't rely on grassroots, but he instead believes that he can win solely through direct mail and radio. His advice on yard signs says to not use patriotic colors, so people don't wrap you up in the flag. Jody Severson has hit a dead streak in Rapid. Heck, he even consulted for Jean French and had a huge bankroll and still was defeated by a political newcomer.
Anonymous said…
Isn't Severson a democrat? I wonder how he and Adelstein's values and ideas will play with GOP primary voters in Rapid City?
Anonymous said…
It hasn't mattered in the past. Adelstein trots out pictures of him shaking hands with Reagan as well as Bush 43. He takes pictures with a borrowed dog and shoots video of him walking down a street (common man). What will hurt him this time is his open affiliation with the Mainstream Coalition and his petulence during the abortion walkout. Protest is one thing, hurling expletives and throwing a tantrum is another.

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