Stan versus Elli just went to defcon 1
Don’t expect them to be friends when it’s over.
They aren’t friends now, after all, despite — or maybe because of — their party affiliation.
And the District 32 primary battle — the second in two years — between incumbent state Sen. Stan Adelstein and challenger Elli Schwiesow threatens to expand the already spacious divide between the two prominent Republicans.
The Stan-and-Elli story is marked by profound differences in religion, personal style and philosophical beliefs weighty enough to send riffles across the normally calm waters of Republican unity in Rapid City. They might also reflect the larger chasm in the state Legislature and South Dakota society about matters, such as abortion, that mix the heart, the soul and the law.
The enmity expected in the GOP primary for the Senate seat in District 32, which covers most of south-central Rapid City, began to show its teeth this week. A campaign advertisement by Adelstein labeled Schiesow a conservative extremist, and letters to the Journal editorial page by Schiesow’s supporters painted Adelstein as a far-left liberal.
The split showed up during a Republican candidate forum Thursday when Adelstein, after stiffly accepting a handshake from Schwiesow, indirectly blasted his opponent for distorting his record, even though she hadn’t yet spoken at the event.
And even Schwiesow, an effusive 58-year-old vice chairwoman of the state Republican Party known for her personable demeanor, had to struggle to be nice when asked if she would vote for Adelstein in the general election, should he defeat her in the primary.
“Well, he’s the Republican,” she said, after a deep breath. “I’ll vote for the Republican.”
Adelstein, a less-effusive 74-year-old Rapid City businessman and community benefactor, couldn’t quite reach that level of diplomacy on the same question.
“I probably wouldn’t vote,” he said. “She’s not a nice person.”
Adelstein said that as Schwiesow smiles, she also directs supporters to attack him through “grossly dishonest” editorial letters and comments. He also said Schwiesow takes unfair advantage of her position with the Republican Party in the primary.
It’s wrong for a party official to challenge an incumbent in her own party, Adelstein said.
“I think it’s grossly inappropriate that she do this,” he said. “It’s grossly inappropriate to have her campaign headquarters in with the county Republican office.”
Schwiesow has her GOP office and a separate campaign office in the same building as the Pennington County Republican office at 837 E. St. Patrick St. She said she carefully keeps her state-party work separate from her campaign. And there is no party rule against a GOP official running in a party primary, she said.
“He didn’t give up his title of senator to run. I didn’t have to give up my title to run. The two are separate,” she said.
Schwiesow said she encourages her supporters to be factual and polite in addressing Adelstein’s record. She was surprised to hear Adelstein said she wasn’t a nice person.
“I don’t think anybody has ever said that about me,” she said.
You can't miss this article - so read it here. The above is just a snippet, and the article goes in depth about Stan funding Republican primary candidates across the state.
Speaking of which, I hear there's lots going on behind the scenes between Stan and his fellow Republican Senators. The start of it was the letter which appeared in last week's Rapid City Journal about Stan as penned by Senator Jerry Apa.
I hear that from there it's taken on a life of it's own with Stan demanding an apology for the letter - I'm working on trying to get copies of all this because from what I heard this is some of the best stuff I've seen in years . The latest of it, is that Stan was being told to jump in the lake.Just as a point of clarification, despite Stan's protestations, I defy anyone to point out an instance of Elli not being a nice person. Certainly, not everyone might agree with her views. But as far as Stan calling her "not nice" - it's a low blow. Elli is one of those people that exhibits a personal grace and basic human kindness that's often lacking in today's society. AND I don't think there's a Pennington County Republican that would disagree. Stan didn't win any points with the voters by making that statement.