Here's a hard lesson that should give candidates pause: Before you take out a petition, make sure your ducks are in a row.
And now it's turning into a headache for a race in which he had previously been considered a easy win:
Read it all here.
With five weeks to go in his general-election campaign for the South Dakota Senate, Republican candidate Dennis Schmidt is facing more than the typical questions about taxes, teacher pay and abortion laws.He also is answering charges that he broke state law last January when he officially declared his GOP candidacy without being registered with the Republican Party.
Nine months later, he says the registration problem was a simple oversight that he quickly corrected. And he rejects assertions by his critics that the registration problem casts doubt on his true party philosophy and his fitness for public office.
“It was just an oversight,” Schmidt said. “As soon as I discovered it, I ran down and got it taken care of. This is like the last century, and they’re trying to make hay on this thing. And it’s just an oversight.”
It’s more than that to Republican Sen. J.P. Duniphan, a 12-year-legislative veteran who lost to Schmidt in the June 6 primary after an edgy campaign in which Schmidt hammered on her voting record.
“I think if you want to be a state lawmaker, you’d better start by not breaking the law,” Duniphan said.
But there is no penalty in law for violating that statute, said Kea Warne, elections supervisor for the South Dakota secretary of state. And because the issue wasn’t raised before Schmidt’s primary victory, he will remain on the ballot for the general election.
“As our office looks at it, Dennis Schmidt is the candidate,” Warne said. “If he gets elected, it’s up to the Senate to determine if he is qualified to take office.”
Despite her unhappy comments, the truth is that Duniphan lost because Schmidt ran a better campaign. And in November against Finch, I suspect that Schmidt is still going to win, but with this issue swirling in the air, I suspect it will be by a narrower margin.
It's a tough and embarassing lesson. Do research on yourself before you embark on a campaign. It's a lot easier to fix problems before you've left the starting gate.