Why is Forward SD spending money in a race with no opponent? Goofyness ensues

I had a note where someone was pointing out an anti-Chris Nelson ad running on Rick Knobe's Viewpoint University down at KSOO. It was of concern, because it supposedly lacks a disclaimer.

And today, the Rapid City Journal is running a report on how Forward South Dakota, the anti-video lottery people, are running anti-Chris Nelson ads on TV as well. Read up on why they think it's necessary:
The sponsor of a proposed initiated measure that seeks to repeal video gambling is running radio and television ads that criticize Secretary of State Chris Nelson for refusing to put the measure on the fall ballot. “Who’s pulling the secretary’s strings? Is this another favor to protect special interests, or has our state video lottery addiction become so strong that our current administration will steal our right to vote,” say the ads being run by Forward South Dakota, the group promoting the repeal of video lottery.

The ads say somebody is trying to manipulate the secretary of state, and the television version shows hands pulling the strings of a puppet that resembles Nelson.

Nelson said Wednesday he is surprised by the ads because the issue is before the South Dakota Supreme Court, which will decide whether the video lottery measure should be on the fall ballot.

“It has absolutely nothing to do with special interests. It has everything to do with the law,” Nelson said.

Nelson and Attorney General Larry Long announced on May 30 that initiated measures seeking to repeal the video lottery and a tax on cellular telephone companies could not be placed on the ballot because of a 1995 state Supreme Court opinion. That ruling said an initiated measure could not be used to repeal an existing law.

Forward South Dakota has asked the high court to take another look at the issue and order Nelson to put the measure on the November ballot.

Daniel Brendtro, a Sioux Falls lawyer who is treasurer of Forward South Dakota, said he believes no law gives Nelson the discretion to interpret the South Dakota Constitution and decide what goes on the ballot.

Brendtro said he understands that a video lottery supporter called the secretary of state to raise the question of whether the 1995 ruling should be used to keep the measure off the ballot.

“It’s this bigger issue behind the scenes we’re trying to get at,” Brendtro said.

Nelson has said he sought the attorney general’s opinion after someone contacted him about whether the 1995 decision would apply to the video lottery and cellular telephone measures.

“What I take that to mean is a video lottery attorney or a video lottery proponent called and said let’s get this thing fixed with a technicality, rather than actually letting the people have a say,” Brendtro said.

Nelson said Wednesday he doesn’t disclose the details of conversations, but he believes that he had to get the attorney general’s advice after the question was raised. He said he wants the Supreme Court to clarify how constitutional language applies to such measures.

“That’s the thing I find strange about this whole advertising campaign,” Nelson said. “We’re dealing with legal issues here. The legal issues are squarely before the South Dakota Supreme Court and they’re going to decide what in fact is proper and how this thing needs to be handled.”

Nelson said he “wasn’t a fan” of the 1995 Supreme Court decision. “It’s forcing me to do something this year that I certainly don’t like to do.”

However, Nelson said he also believes the attorney general’s analysis is sound.
Read all of this goofyness here. (They put this guy in charge of a statewide race?) Maybe this is why Dan Brendtro couldn't get through a State's Attorney race, his only other attempt at elective office - he's blowing money that he needs to run that statewide race on trying to fight a sidebar issue that's already at the Supreme Court.

In other words, he's missing the forest through the trees.


scimitar said…
You have to question the judgment of the people running Forward SD. It is true that Chris Nelson has no opponent, so attacking him is a waste of money.

The video lottery issue is not currently on the ballot, so there is no practical purpose for trying to persuade the public. If the Forward SD people are so foolish as to think that they can pressure the Supreme Court with radio ads, I give the Court more credit than that.

The Court will decide the issue based on the SD Constitution, and not based on radio ads.
Anonymous said…
Actually, I kind of liked the ads. And they make a good point. Why is Chris Nelson all of the sudden concerned about whether a repeal can be placed on the ballot? He had no problem with that food tax repeal two years ago. It begs the question, Who is pulling his strings? And from what I've heard about his legal argument, Larry Long's analysis is far from 'sound'.

What I would recommend, however, is that they put a tagline on for who is paying for them so that likeminded people can help contribute and then they can make more ads.
Anonymous said…
I love Chris Nelson. The guy is entertaining. "What matters is the law." He's Katherine Harris w/out the trust fund and the fake rack...his political future is as dead as hers.
Anonymous said…
What's a fake rack?
Anonymous said…
PP your slick political mind has tunnel vision. Chris Nelson has no opponent so who will be unveiled as the pupppet master? That's the real question?
Anonymous said…
2010 for governor doesn't look so good for Chris maybe Schoenbeck had something to do with running the ads.
PP said…
Is it conspiracy theorist night?

I'm not sure what the big deal is, especially since the Supreme Court is going to decide on it.

In light of the prior ruling possibly applying, it was a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation, so they asked the court if they would cut through the process and decide (as they would have been by one or the other party).

One lawyer (Brendtro) says the law doesn't apply, another (the AG) disagrees. I would have gone with the AG too if he said "see if the SCOSD will decide."

So, let them decide, and then we can all argue about it later.
Anonymous said…
Thank you PP for accurately laying the ground work on who is fighting who in the video lottery fight. Your are right one side (The state of South Dakota) vs. the other side (anti-video lottery). The state is screwing the small business owners who have to pay a 50% tax on the video lottery to the state. Tell me what kind of Republican would be proud to say we tax anything at 50%. The State is making the little guy pay 99.5% of the expenses and taking half of his profits. I think the state should step up and fight the anti gambling force rather than make us small business owners pony up again to save video lottery. I'm not giving one more nickel to save video lottery. Everyone is getting the shaft. Record video lottery profits for the state. Explain why my property taxes went up. Explain why there is no money for education. After all if video lottery goes away my taxes are going up. Right? BS The so called Republicans have blown the money by growing state government.
Anonymous said…
Somebody is missing the point here. The question that should be asked is where is all the money coming from? Who put up the 75k plus to pay to have the petions circulated? Who is paying the SF lawyer to be the mouth piece? Who is putting up the money to have the Nelson adds produced and put on the air? Who came up with the money to hire Duffy and Tobin to represent them in the Supreme Court? The oldest addage in politics is "follow the money", too bad nobody has.
Anonymous said…
I am disappointed in Nelson and Long for their attempt to keep the public from exercising their collective constitutional right. I truly expected much better from these two. I support both, but am ashamed of their actions in this particular case.

Their actions probably do more for the video lottery opponents than would have ever been accomplished by their anti-video lottery campaign.

This action also typifies the problem with the GOP in Pierre. They will even twist the intrepretation of the constitution and disenfranchise the people of this state to keep control and to hold onto the government's (not the peoples') money.

It is really a sad state of affairs in Pierre!
Anonymous said…
12:45, let me get this straight, you are disappointed because two public officials followed the law? You are not making any sense here. Perhaps you should read the Supreme Court decision and then repost. If you have read the decision and still posted your comment in its present form then you are hopeless.
Anonymous said…
The opinion says that some guy named Christensen can't use a petition labeled 'initiative' to delay Wessington Springs from building an airport for a year.

Chris Nelson knew about that opinion when he put the food tax repeal on the ballot. Hmmmmm.
Anonymous said…
2:50, you are hopeless, sorry.
feasant said…
Forward SD, you are a bunch of idiots. Chris Nelson is a man of honor. He would never bend the law to any special interest group. I am one Republican who opposes video lottery because only a few people end up with all the cash. A lot of gamblers stick their toast money in the machine and I feel for them.

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