Campaign Finance Follies - You say PAC, I say Party

If you noticed me somewhat absent from the blogosphere last night, it was because I spent some time playing a game on my computer - the South Dakota campaign finance game. I wanted to get around to at least an initial assessment of how much the parties gave to each candidate. And from there, it's taken me around and around.

Here's what I started with:

Direct Party Donations
Gary D. Hanson - D 6491 100.00%
$ -


Brian G. Johnson-R 4156 44.42%
$ 1,250.00
Jim Hundstad - D 5200 55.58%
$ 8,000.00


Isaac Latterell - R 4805 49.83%
$ 250.00
Alan C. Hoerth - D 4837 50.17%


Larry Diedrich - R 4582 47.34%
$ 6,500.00
Jim Peterson - D 5097 52.66%


Dennis Arnold - R 4451 48.13%
Nancy J. Turbak - D 4797 51.87%
$ 2,000.00


Brock L. Greenfield-R 5515 60.57%
$ 250.00
Ron Foster - D 3590 39.43%
$ -


Orville B. Smidt-R 4634 57.17%
$ 250.00
Harold Widvey - D 3472 42.83%
$ 8,000.00


John Toates - R 4035 42.51%
$ 3,250.00
Dan Sutton - D 5456 57.49%
$ -


Tom Dempster-R 4250 53.76%
$ 5,250.00
Paul Nielson - D 3655 46.24%
$ 8,000.00


Gene G. Abdallah-R 7466 57.13%
$ 3,850.00
Philip G. Sietstra - D 5602 42.87%
$ 750.00


Jason M. Gant-R 5815 55.48%
$ 3,450.00
D. Scott Bartlett-C 475 4.53%

Rebekah A. Cradduck - D 4192 39.99%


William F. Earley-R 5155 49.90%
$ 3,850.00
Sandy Jerstad - D 5175 50.10%
$ 2,000.00


Dick Kelly-R 4519 45.66%
Scott N. Heidepriem - D 5378 54.34%
$ -


Dave Knudson-R 5849 57.18%
$ 250.00
William L. Scott - C 837 8.18%

Roger Berggren - D 3543 34.64%
$ -


Tamera Weis "Tammy" - R 1878 37.96%
$ 595.00
Gil Koetzle - D 3069 62.04%
$ -


Kenneth D. Albers - R 5882 61.79%
$ 750.00
Kathy Lessek - D 3638 38.21%
$ 2,000.00


Nathan J. Adams - R 2469 31.48%
$ 250.00
Ben Nesselhuf-D 5375 68.52%
$ -


Jean Hunhoff - R 4811 54.61%
$ 1,490.00
Curt Bernard - D 3999 45.39%
$ 8,000.00


John P. Hauck - R 4095 44.31%
$ 2,480.00
Frank J. Kloucek - D 5147 55.69%
$ -


Ed Olson - R 6452 100.00%
$ 250.00


Cooper Garnos - R 5022 58.25%
$ 3,250.00
Mahylen D. Niles - D 3600 41.75%
$ 2,500.00


Tom Hansen-R 5200 53.81%
$ 250.00
Peggy Anne Gibson - D 4464 46.19%
$ 1,500.00


Jay L. Duenwald - R 6589 76.28%
$ -
Merlyn "Justice" Schutterle - I 1213 14.04%

Wayne E. Schmidt - I 836 9.68%


Bob Gray-R 7337 100.00%
$ -


Arlen (Arnie) Hauge - R 5075 51.67%
$ 3,250.00
Mike Kroger - D 4746 48.33%
$ 8,000.00


Lee Weidner - R 3004 40.72%
$ -
Julie Bartling - D 4374 59.28%
$ -


Craig L. Hanrahan - R 2520 46.27%
$ 1,600.00
Theresa (Huck) Two Bulls-D 2926 53.73%


Ted A. Klaudt - R 3262 46.01%
$ 250.00
Ryan Maher - D 3828 53.99%
$ 5,000.00


Kenneth McNenny-R 6009 66.38%
$ -
Tim Harwood - I 3043 33.62%


Jim Lintz-R 6924 61.38%
$ 250.00
Catherine Ratliff - D 4356 38.62%
$ -


Jerry Apa - R 5982 61.65%
$ -
Karen Ballert - I 3721 38.35%


Elli Schwiesow - R 4515 47.48%
$ 6,250.00
Tom Katus - D 4994 52.52%
$ 2,000.00


Dennis Schmidt - R 4264 54.91%
$ 1,550.00
Dennis Finch - D 3501 45.09%
$ 2,000.00


Royal "Mac" McCracken - R 6872 100.00%
$ -


William "Bill" Napoli-R 3648 52.70%
$ 250.00
Theresa Spry - D 3274 47.30%
$ 2,000.00

So, as far as pre-general donations go, pretty straight forward, right? Unless they get it two weeks before the election, it's tough to spend, so this is going to be a pretty reasonable listing... isn't it? Well, not exactly.

Take a look at the Jerstad/Earley race. It looks like she got $2000 from the Dems, and he got $3850 from the GOP. But when you start to take the source of other donations into account, it looks like she might have gotten much more from party sources, putting her on top of the money game.

So, Bill had his donation. But Jerstad's donation of $2000 from the Dems had a bit of help. Add to that $1950 from the Democratic activist sourced Majority Project. And then add $960.82 from Democratic fundraising effort "Act Blue." And then add another $450 from the Democratic Statehouse Fund. Compared to Earley's $3850, Jerstad not only erased that $1800 GOP donation advantage, but now she has a $1500 advantage from her sources.

The SDGOP has it's own leadership PAC, but at pre-general filing time, it had no activity.

What can we take from all of this? A couple of things.

As you can tell from previous shifts of funds, Dems have concentrated for a long time at intra-party money transfers to maximize their dollars. And they have to do it, given their cycles of feast and famine that the GOP generally doesn't experience.

The other, which struck me earlier this morning? They have to do it this way. Because at least a portion of direct donations to SD Dems would go towards debt service.

With a massive loan at the State Bank of Alcester which is only now whittled down to something you think a party could manage, what Democratic activist wants his donation to go to last campaign's debt? They're just like you or I, they want it to go to a candidate. Hence these side organizations run by activists.

Want to bundle donations to candidates? Start your own PAC and you can make sure it gets to them. There's no guarantee of that through the party.

I'm going to continue working on this, and I might do something more on it tonight (including donations from all the ancillary groups) , as I see I'm running out of my lunch hour.

But until then.... Stay tuned.


Anonymous said…
$10,000 + to the District 5 campaign?
Anonymous said…
GOP put all of their eggs in one basket.
Anonymous said…
$10k in Dist. 5 makes more sense than $40k in Dist. 13.
Anonymous said…
Even worse - $250 in Dist. 3
GOP come home said…
Look at the money given to Wiess, Toates, Hauck and Abdallah.

The first three are from seats we never win and traditionally don't win.

As for Abdallah, go look at his financial forms. He was giving money away from his own campaign fund to other candidates. Nothing wrong with that, BUT that is a sign of NOT needing money from the party b/c he can raise enough for himself.

The party chair had some type of expansionist mindset when dishing out the resources. It was clear in June already that this election cycle was going to be a holding action, and that's not monday morning quarterbacking, it was clear.

All we had to to do was hold our own in the senate and take a few easy pickups. Instead we threw good money after bad seats. The Rounds political advisors and Randy have to leave the party now.
Anonymous said…
Ya, and they gave Special Ed the same as Isaac! He didn't even have a race!
Anonymous said…
How much of 40k for Kelly was a pass through from Bokorny? I'll bet most of it was.
Anonymous said…
$40,000 for a single Senate seat.

Imagine what $40K could have done for John Koskan!

Job well done, again!
Anonymous said…
10:12 Koskan spent >$20,000 more than Kolbeck, and had almost $30,000 in cash on hand at the end of the pre-general filing with $0 in obligations. Don't feel sorry for John.
Anonymous said…
Sounds like there were a lot of people on Randy Frederick's DO NOT HELP list.

Isaac... Greenfield... Napoli... Adams... Klaudt...

I just those who made it remember that when Feedsack is up for Senate approval as ag Secretary.
Anonymous said…
I hope so too. Can you imagine the GOP only giving Klaudt $250 when he was probably the most knowledgeable and effective representative we have ever had and had the experience that would have made him a very effective senator? Maher is a nice guy but knows almost nothing about dealing with the problems faced by his constituents.

Maybe the fact that Klaudt beat out Max Wetz’s father in the primary has something to do with the small amount of money he received from the party. What a stupid move, the Democrats certainly ponyed up for Maher and the GOP should look into the rationale behind the ridiculously low funding they gave to Klaudt’s campaign.
Anonymous said…
gop come home

I just saw your post... How can you say the first three are districts we never win.

Schoenbeck, Sutton, Kelly

That's who held the three seats in those Districts that are now occupied by Dems.
Anonymous said…
Feedsack, thanks for clearing that up.
been there said…
Sorry 6:31, you're wrong. Those 3 seats are, and have been for a long time held by Koetzle, Dan Sutton, and Kloucek.
Anonymous said…
Districts 5, 13, and 3 ????

Or are we not talking about the same three.... You said the first three.... I thought you meant the three districts mentioned before you posted???

If not, my mistake...
VJ said…
Running Max Wetz’s father in the primary against Ted Klaudt! Just what the hell were they thinking! I was really surprised that was going on! I know that Mr. Klaudt would sometimes ruffle the feathers of Governor Rounds, but so does my good Republican friend Brock Greenfield and that doesn’t make them all bad you know! I called out there and visited with a couple of my good hunting friends to find out just what really happened!

I was told that a few Republicans ran all over the area telling fellow Republicans that they had to vote for Max Wetz’s father because Mr. Klaudt just wasn’t getting the job done anymore! They convinced a number of Republicans to vote against Ted Klaudt in the primary, and then asked the same people to vote for him in the general election Well, a number of them didn’t do that! They had been convinced that Mr. Klaudt needed to be removed and they voted against him in the primary so they felt they had to vote against him in the general election! I was told that Mr. Klaudt just kicked the hell out of Max Wetz’s father in the primary, but they had convinced enough people that Mr. Klaudt had to go. Just enough people that Mr. Klaudt lost the election!

And those of you so called Republican Leaders that just had to run Max Wetz’s father against Mr. Klaudt, and then only give Mr. Klaudt $250 to help win the general election, thanks a lot! Well, I guess in a way you got what you wanted didn’t you!

They told me that it is felt by a number of people that the Wetz family and some so called Republican Leaders owe Mr. Klaudt and other Republicans in North Western South Dakota an apology! That will come probably about as fast at the rain!

We need every Republican that we can get in Pierre and we don’t need fellow Republicans bringing another Republican down! I was told that Mr. Klaudt did a darn good job for his district and for the Republican party! Some of you should have looked at that before you played your role in taking down a fellow Republican!

We have more important things to accomplish then fighting each other and losing one of our own!

Running Max Wetz’s father in the primary against Ted Klaudt! Just what the hell were they thinking!

Talk about party loyalty!

But I guess it really does serves a purpose. At least now some of you Republicans that don’t “lockstep” all the time know what to expect when you come up for election!

Does have a tendency just to let you know who’s boss doesn’t it!

Hey Brock, you ruffled some feathers in the past. Do me a favor, keep your mouth shut this year will you!
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
Here is another twist - Did you know that Max Wetz and Maher were roommates while they were students at Black Hills State.
Anonymous said…

You're right. The party would have been much better off putting a few thousand dollars into Adams. It might have cut his loss down to a 30% margin.
Anonymous said…
Feedsack will do a damn good job at screwing up the Ag. Dept also.
Anonymous said…

Where is your house information? I am assuming in a couple days... ?
Anonymous said…
VJ, the party doesn't traditionally recruit candidates to run against incumbants. Believe it or not, some people decide to run on their own because they feel they could do a good job.

I have two responses to you insinuating that Max would give or not give money because his father got beat in the primary, #1 - If you've ever met Max, you know he's not a mean-spirited and spiteful person and #2 - I suspect it was the chairman and not the executive director who made the decisions of who and how much party money to give.
Anonymous said…
The $10,000 given to Rebekah Cradduck, District 11, was a smart move. I guess a Republican has been is more important then Democrats who have spent years trying to rebuild the party. There were several other well deserving Democratic Candidates who could have benefited from the money. What an embarrassment for the State Democratic Party.
Anonymous said…
Why was Lee Weidener given NOTHING? At least give him the obligitory $250!

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