My Predictions for 2007
Were my predictions worth a darn last year? I've got to think about that. What were my predictions for 2006?
1. A Republican Congressional Candidate will be recruited.
(got that right)
2. Ron Volesky is the Democrat's man for the Gubernatorial race. And that's
(Close, but that was tough. Ron had a track record of running. Not
3. Medical Marijuana is NOT something we'll be voting on this year. Neither
will the Alcohol Tax.
4. Dems forgo fielding a lot of constitutional level candidates in favor of
5. Mainstream Coalition runs some election ads, but otherwise lays low.
(They didn't get to the level of running ads, and instead issued position
papers, so I'll call this close)
6. Blogging continues to march onward.
7. Abortion and Education will be a big fight during the legislative
(dead on, and continued for long after that)
So really, I didn't do as badly as I had thought. So I might be worth at least paying nominal attention to this year. What do I think is on the political horizon as we cruise through the next twelve months?
There you have it. A look forward into 2007.
1. Legislative Democrats are not going to have as good a year as they might think.
Democrats ran for office on the premise that it was time to get back to work. And to their credit, they won seats. However, with greater numbers in the Senate comes a stronger flavor of politics. You have an ambitious new Senate Democratic leader who is an old school Republican with a different colored nametag. And his old allies are not apt to give him an inch.
Senate Dems will also have a different relationship with the person in the big office on the second floor. The old Democratic Leader, Garry Moore, was not viewed as someone who was using the office as a stepping stone to Governor or Congress as Heidepreim is often viewed, so there was no impetus to throw roadblocks in his path. It's a different story now.
2. The Moderate/Conservative Rift in the GOP will still be there.
I think that rift is still going to be in place with conservatives feeling that they got the shaft in the general elections. Why? With moderate Republicans rejecting several of the candidates duly elected by a majority in the primary, those conservatives are wondering why the moderates weren't loyal to the cause.
If there's any hope in maintaining party cohesion, the new chair will have to set forth from the beginning that all Republicans coming out of the primary will be supported,
regardless of ideology. If he (or she) starts speaking that mantra everytime they talk to the party loyal, it might begin to sink in by 2008, and both sides may lay down arms and work together. And there's good reason to do this.
3. The Death Penalty debate in South Dakota could reach an ugly head.
Session will bring some debate, but no serious movement to rid South Dakota of the Death Penalty. A bill to give the warden discretion over the manner of executions will prevail. And once all that comes about, we will move to put someone to death.
And here's the part where people who complained about the bishop's stance on abortion get their turn. Because I'm pretty confident he will come out against the death penalty. And that's a pretty powerful ally as the two sides start hollering back and forth.
When might it get really bad? Depending on how activist a bishop he is, he might
start throwing out edicts about the conduct of lawmakers and officeholders.
If that starts, it could make the abortion issue look tame by comparison.
4. Upheaval concerning South Dakota's federal level of representation.
Tim Johnson's medical status has had many in the media scrambling trying to
predict what will happen. As we pass the two week mark of the Senator remaining
in critical condition, it's evident that the only thing that is certain is a long recovery.
Do I anticipate he will resign? No, and calls to that effect are unwelcome and anathema to South Dakota voters. But depending on the nature and length of his convalescence and rehabilitation, a more likely scenario is that the Senator might decline to seek another term of office. If that's the case, look for that announcement in late 2007.
Now don't get me wrong. I don't think there's a single South Dakotan (myself included) who doesn't wish he could just get up tomorrow and be ok. But the fact is that recovery could be tough.
If Johnson decides to walk away from the Senate in 2008, our boring 2008 elections will explode in a flurry of activity. I anticipate Herseth would make a move to upgrade her seat, despite the risk of jumping from a safe seat to a 50-50 bet. Whereas Johnson might not have faced Rounds, if Herseth makes the attempt, I anticipate she'll face the heaviest hitters the GOP has to offer. And it won't be a cakewalk race where she can get away with debate ducking. She'll have to prove her mettle.
And there will be that open congressional seat. Expect a free for all in the GOP, whereas the Dems might scrape up one or two candidates. You might see a Matt McCaulley or Dusty Johnson, or a Larry Russell give it a run. Look for at least a couple of legislators in it. And you might even see a Leslee Unruh in there as well.
5. Campaign Finance/Election reform will arrive.
In with more reporting. Out with the ridiculously low donation limits. In with more PAC and association restrictions. Out with paid petition circulators. In with late filing penalties.
I might be wrong on some of it, but much of it will pass.
6. If Dan Sutton doesn't resign before his rules violation hearing in the Senate, he will be expelled.
Why? The word is that his new caucus leader has already asked him to resign. They know they don't want him to put them through the unenviable task of trying to defend him on the senate floor. Allegedly groping a young male employee sexually is going to put national level media here to cover it.
Defending him before the hearing is one thing. Defending him after the tale is told is another.
If he puts them through it, I don't think they're going to very nice about it. No matter how good his attorneys are. The Dems know if the story is compelling enough, (which I hear it is) they have no other choice.
7. Watch for some backlash against school boards choosing to sue the state.
When homemade signs are sprouting up on the topic, I think you'll see some anti-lawsuit school board candidates emerge to topple those candidates that chose to spend taxpayer dollars on suing the state to raise taxes. Those types of issues resonate in the rural areas.
and finally, 8. Blogging continues to march onward.
Keep watching. We're continuing to go mainstream every day.