Duane Sutton was really going to do it. NV Beacon breaks a story of a once shining Republican who has now lost his lustre

"The man who pauses on the paths of treason, Halts on a quicksand, the first step engulfs him."
Henry V (act I, sc. 1)
Today, Dave Newquist offers up an excellent true story of regret and treason. This tidbit was originally noted by Dave Kranz, but Dave N. provided the meat and 'taters of the story of State Senator Duane Sutton's fall from grace, and vain attempt to reclaim personal electoral glory by changing sides in the middle of battle:
Duane Sutton called up the head of the Brown County Democrats and inquired about switching parties and running as a Democrat. This would require one of the candidates running for the legislature this fall to withdraw, and a reorganized ballot to be submittted to the Secretary of State by the county executive committee by the last Tuesday in August.

Sutton's inquiry sent pro-choice people from both parties to buzzing like crazy. Many assumed his Democratic candidacy was a done deal, and were already celebrating his defection. He is a popular candidate in District 3 and is a member of the Mainstream Coalition that has bunched up the panties of so many Republicans. His partisanship is temperate and he has expressed discomfort with the hardline tactics that take place in Pierre. He had support from Democrats and Republicans who think that the abortion issue is a diversion away from the many issues that confront the state. If there is a bi-partsan element in Brown County, it is based upon recognizing the many issues that are ignored while so many people fret and rage over abortion and kuchen. Sutton could have been a contender.

Clearly, Sutton felt betrayed by the Republican Party, which mounted a single-issue candidate and appeared to ignore how Sutton represented it in the past.

However, before he had a scheduled meeting with the Brown County Democratic Central Committee, Sutton called and said he had changed his mind. While he had the serious consideration of members of the Central Committee and the Democrat state delegation from District 2, his candidacy would not have been a slam dunk. Sutton did meet with the Central Committee to review the recruiting of new candidates in light of the changed circumstance for the general election.

The labor factor in the party has serious reservations about Sutton's position on wages, collective bargaining, and workplace issues. When the possibility of his candidacy became known, veterans expressed fierce opposition. Some educators do not think he has a realistic grasp on educational funding and teacher pay.

Had Sutton run as a Democrat, he would have risked alienating the 52 percent of Republicans in Brown County who voted for him. A few may have voted for him, but the hard political fact in South Dakota is that party label means one hell of a lot more than stance on issues or legislative competence. Many would resent the party switch.
Republicans, you MUST read the full story here.

And a few things to bear in mind. The Republican Party didn't beat Duane. His opponent, Isaac out maneuvered him and out campaigned him. Nothing more. Despite popular rumor, no one put him up to it but himself. And he campaigned and won.

There are always bitter feelings after a loss. But to switch parties mid-stream because you didn't think you got a fair shake? That's blaming someone else for your own misfortune.


Anonymous said…
“There are always bitter feelings after a loss. But to switch parties mid-stream because you didn't think you got a fair shake?”

Isn’t that what has been preached on this site since the creation of the Main Street Republican group? All I’ve seen is comments suggesting that those people leave the republican party. OK, so it has started to happen. Why is anyone surprised? Isn’t this what all you conservatives wanted?
Anonymous said…
I'm so tired of hearing about abortion, either way, and it's only going to get worse. Please, somebody make a decision and stick with it so we can actually talk about real issues that effect every South Dakotan like health care, education, law enforcement, government spending, yada, yada, yada. We have so many important issues, to waste this much time, money and energy on an issue where there is no compromise between the two forces is crazy and wasteful.

So now instead of having Sen. Duane Sutton's experience representing the people of Dist. 3 they get to choose between two fringe candidates all because of one issue that is never going away no matter if the little, POOR state of SD bans it and the Supreme Court upholds the law.
Anonymous said…
Several years back, Duane Sutton's brother Tom Sutton ran for the SD House twice as a Democrat in Sioux Falls. He came close once, but didn't make it in. Tom Sutton switched to Republican and ran for the house again in 2002, losing by only about 30 votes. Ironically, Tom Sutton switched to Republican in part because he is a strong pro-lifer. Both parties have defectors.

The fact is, the Republican party has shifted to the right and left a lot of centrists behind. Expect more Republicans to switch.
Anonymous said…
"That's blaming someone else for your own misfortune." Sounds like the Bob Sahr posts below.

Also, it's not really correct to say that centrists have been left behind. Isn't it more accurate to say they've been pushed off the ship?
Anonymous said…
The people of District 3 have lost many years of experience by voting for a candidate with a single issue. They have no one to blame but themselves. I would think that they would admire Sen. Sutton's decision to make a choice, and stick to it. Abortion is a hard issue, but it should be a personal one. fyi...Duane Sutton does not have a brother named Tom.

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