Showing posts from May 28, 2006

3 days left until the primary. And the pot is being stirred.

Three days left until the primary. And things are getting more intense.

I heard today that my post on who got money from Senator Stan kicked up a little dust at the District 6 debate this morning in Iriquois. Apparently certain candidates trying to publicly portray themselves as pro-life don't like people pointing out that they took a big fat check from a pro-choice PAC. (well, then send the $2000 back).

I haven't seen it yet, but I heard that Pete Fuller actually put out an ad for judge where he's being supported by businesspeople, as opposed to his ads where he's being supported by a laundry list of lawyers. (I love that Linda Lea Viken is on the lawyer list - that's REALLY going to endear him to the GOP faithful).

Speaking of Senator Stan, he's complaining in an AP article (here at the Watertown Public opinion) that his fellow Senators are playing dogpile on him:

Adelstein said he is amazed that other Republican lawmakers have ignored the unwritten rule against …

The Stan Adelstein PAC money shuffle is touching a lot of primary candidates that you might want to know about

Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive”.
- Sir Walter Scott.

As I do my review of the pre-primary Political Action Committee Reports, the Stan Adelstein money shuffle is getting more and more interesting this election. As you will note in the post below, he put 50k into a political action committee called “All South Dakota PAC.” While two others put in a little (so it didn't quite look so bad) Stan's 50k+ outweighs them by leaps and bounds.
The "All South Dakota" PAC is one of the political action committees headquartered out of his office that he uses to get around campaign finance requirements, allowing him to infuse massive amounts of cash into his pet races without such pesky oversight such as campaign finance laws. If he was writing a personal check, he’d be limited to a $250 personal donation to legislative candidates. Not in this case.

Anyway, as mentioned previously, this All South Dakota PAC, sent money to Clarence Kooistra and Ken We…

Oops, Stan's doing it again.

One of Stan Adelstein's PAC's that he's personally dumped over $50,000 into is showing that he's getting personally involved in South Dakota Legislative primaries (again).

The Kooistra/Haugen Race and the Wetz/Klaudt race are both showing that he's sticking his fingers into other districts again, and I suspect this is the tip of the iceburg. I'll be combing through the reports this weekend to see what else I can see.

Stay tuned.

Billion and Wiese file campaign finances with the Secretary of State's Office

A story filed this morning by the Associated Press is reporting Billion might not have a billion, but his campaign account is much more flush than that of Wiese:
Billion had received nearly $65,000 in donations and had loaned $125,000 to his own campaign, according to campaign finance reports filed with the secretary of state's office. Billion had spent more than $167,000, mostly on advertising, by the end of the reporting period May 27.Wiese reported that his campaign had raised about $49,000, and he had not loaned his campaign any money. He had spent nearly $43,000.
Billion reported that he had received $57,358 in donations from supporters, $7,500 from political action committees, and another $100 from the Brown County Democratic Party. With the $125,000 loan, that brought total receipts to $189,958. Billion's campaign spent $167,409, leaving him with $22,549 on hand.Wiese spent $42,629, leaving his campaign with $1,646 on hand.Read it all here.

What in the heck is that supposed to mean?

From SD Straight Talk:
With the exception of the District 32 election (Elli and Stan) I don’t see real passion. District 32 is about effectiveness and ideology and should be a real piss cutter. Also whomever wins it won't settle any arguments only who goes to the Senate.District 32 should be a real "long, thin Navy hat"?

5,4,3 & 2 are on the ballot just for you. Well, actually most people will vote no on them. But someone out there had to like them

The Rapid City Journal is reporting tonight on more ballot initiatives being certified for the November ballot in South Dakota by Secretary of State Chris Nelson:
South Dakota voters this fall will decide the fate of ballot measures that seek to boost the tax on cigarettes, allow marijuana for medical purposes, prohibit an early starting date for school and limit the use of state airplanes, a state official announced Thursday. Secretary of State Chris Nelson had announced earlier this month that sufficient petition signatures had been filed to put the tobacco tax and school starting date measures on the November ballot.

Nelson's office on Wednesday determined that enough signatures had been filed to qualify the medical marijuana and state airplane proposals for the ballot.

The four proposed laws will join four proposed constitutional amendments on the fall ballot. South Dakota voters also are likely to decide whether to accept the bill passed by the Legislature that would ban nea…

Someone must have gotten an unhappy phone call

The Rapid City Journal is breaking the news tonight that Senator Stan Adelstein is yanking an ad where he's appearing with Governor Rounds. Sounds to me like someone got an unhappy call:
State Sen. Stan Adelstein said Thursday afternoon that he would stop running part of a television campaign ad showing him shaking hands with Gov. Mike Rounds because it could give viewers the impression that the governor is endorsing Adelstein in the District 32 Republican primary. “I’m going to pull that part of the ad,” Adelstein said. “I’ll get it down as quickly as I can. I assured the governor that it would not be up over the weekend.”Read it here tonight, and the full story in the Rapid City Journal tomorrow.

5 Days until the Primary

Less than a week until the legislative primary. And if it isn't done by now, it's probably not going to get done.

Probably the nicest feature is that the intra-party battles that have waged far too long and far too intensely are going to subside, with the spoils going to the victors. Many within the party on different sides of arguments are going to be filling the ranks of footsoldiers for the GOP, and for the Dems as well.

It's also time to start getting ready for our summer political conventions. I just got my paperwork last week for the GOP convention this June in Watertown. I've got to remember to check on Hospitaility rooms and vendor prices, as I keep thinking I might set up in one or the other. (I have visions of my Republican Lite t-shirt, and other snarky themes selling like hot-cakes.)

And it all begins in 5 days.

Argus Leader weighs in on Primary races

In an article today, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader touches on a few of the legislative contests in an article trying to infer that many of them are abortion driven:
Alvine vs. Abdallah

Alvine said he doesn't think the Legislature is the best place to set complex medical policies - "It's kind of trying to practice medicine," he said - but he said abortion isn't what prompted his candidacy. He has been involved in policy-making at many levels of his profession, he said, and he thinks "a medical voice on the Senate floor" could be valuable in many debates.

"I'm 67, and if I don't do it now, when would I do it?" Alvine said. "It's now or never."

Schwiesow vs. Adelstein Republican Sen. Stan Adelstein, who opposed the ban last session, faces Elli Schwiesow, a local and state GOP activist who supports the ban lawmakers passed. Except when an abortion is performed to save a pregnant woman's life, any doctor who performs the proce…

Public Radio on the Adelstein/Schwiesow Primary race

Chuck Beck over at South Dakota Public Radio has a good story on the District 32 Primary election race between State Senator Stan Adelstein and GOP State Vice Chair Elli Schwiesow.

Click here for the page where you can listen to the 5 minute Real audio program complete with interview. It's pretty good, and you get to listen to Stan complain about other legislators getting involved in his race, but he feels bad about spending tens of thousands in primary races in previous years.

CCK takes after Bob Mercer.

I don't think it's the first time it's happened, but Chad over at CCK is going after Bob Mercer for a perceived Republican bias he thinks Bob has.

As I do my research on this post, I notice I covered this topic nearly a year ago. So, I'll just start calling this my annual defense of Bob Mercer post. Not that I'm in the habit of defending the media, but I never saw it in my dealings with Bob. In fact, in the past I've grumbled because he wouldn't give me the coverage I wanted, in the way I wanted, either.

So that must make him a Democratic tool.

Anyway, speaking of things Chad and I have in common besides a desire for Bob to be our media lackey, I hear we're sharing election night appearances. I'm pretty excited about it, but since it hasn't been announced yet, mum's the word. I'm sure one or both of us will break the news as soon as we can.

Stay tuned.

(And Bob, feel free to write that I have the coolest South Dakota political blog.)

I heartily endorse thee

Lots of blog technical stuff tonight. At the suggestion of one of the readers who was kind enough to make a donation for the upkeep of this mess of a blog, I've raised "the paypal beg button" up higher, so as to draw greater attention to it. Just in case anyone else is so inclined. (you know, inclined to make a donation..)

Otherwise, what political stuff is out there? I completely forgot about today's letters to the editor in the Rapid City Journal:

Check his record

The incumbent senator, Stan Adelstein, while campaigning, tells his constituents he's an effective legislator with leadership qualities. His legislative record is very different. A look into his performance the past six years tells a different story.

Adelstein has been the prime sponsor and originator of 54 bills; 48 were killed, six passed as introduced. His lone bill, SB119, which passed in the 2005 session, did so because Sen. Bill Napoli brought the interested parties together for several meetings, no…

A comedic interlude with our State Auditor.

Over the lunch hour, I had a call from State Auditor Rich Sattgast just as I was noticing how Billy Idol is going to be playing at the Buffalo Chip campground in Sturgis.

I pointed this out to Rich, and said "Why can't we get someone like this at the State Fair? People our age have no interest in vintage country acts. I want some 80's rock and roll. I don't want to see Moe Bandy perform."

Rich's reply? "I think I've said enough about the state fair."

Candidate website - Katy Dressen for House, and why my name must be mud in District 9

Katy Dressen, Republican Candidate for District 9 House has a website up that you should go check out. I like it. It's graphically pleasing, and it's always enjoyable reading about someone who also has 6 kids.

She's supposed to be 43 years old? I'm 39 and and I look like ten miles of bad road. Bleaugh. I stink.

Anyway, she's running in the same district as my Democratic friend Rich Engels, Democrat Elaine Roberts, and Republican Deb Peters.

On another note, I had heard from one of her colleagues that Deb thought I was bashing her a while back. In relation to another post, Rich Engels had sent me some information on some of the issues he was going to be using to take Deb on. So, I posted it and invited her to reply. The intent was to generate some heat (and interest in the blog) over two candidates hashing it out. Neat, huh?

And it really didn't go anywhere, except she thinks I was bashing her. Great. Like I said, I stink.

So, no Deb. I was not bashing you. I migh…

And here Cecelia goes again...

The Oglala Sioux Tribe suspended president Cecelia Fire Thunder. Again. And impeachment proceedings are being started. Again.

From the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:The Oglala Sioux tribal council banned all abortions on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and suspended President Cecelia Fire Thunder on Tuesday, charging that she solicited donations on behalf of the tribe for a proposed abortion clinic without the council's approval.

"It was unauthorized political activity," said Will Peters, a tribal council representative from the Pine Ridge district. "It's just a matter of failing to communicate not only with the governing body but with the people that she was elected to serve."

Peters made a motion to suspend Fire Thunder indefinitely, and when that failed, voted to suspend her for 20 days until an impeachment hearing could take place. That motion passed.

"This whole thing was an ambush," Fire Thunder said, adding that she never solicited donations and …

Are citizens limited to what we can refer to a vote? The attorney general thinks the law says just that.

In today's Rapid City Journal, Attorney General Larry Long thinks that the South Dakota Constitution might have some limitations on the initiative and referral process that many people aren't aware of:
Long said he based his opinion on a 1995 case dealing with an initiated measure in Wessington Springs. The state’s highest court said an initiative could not be used to repeal a city ordinance, and that ruling likely applies to initiatives on the state level, the attorney general said.

Supporters of the two proposals strongly criticized Long’s opinion, but they did not immediately pledge to pursue legal challenges.

Long said the 1995 Supreme Court ruling said an initiated measure cannot be used to repeal existing law, and the two measures at issue seek to repeal the video lottery and the tax on cell-phone companies passed by the 2003 Legislature.

The attorney general said he interprets the 1995 court ruling to mean that initiated measures cannot be used in cases where the appropriat…

Manny Steele making his last minute push

E-mails are going across District 12 urging people to get out and vote for Manny Steele, and some of them are hitting pretty hard on Ann Henkin, termed Casey Murshel's hand picked successor. From my e-mail box:
After H.B. 1215 (the bill thats bans almost all abortions in South Dakota) was passed during this past legislative session by a bi-partisan majority, pro-abortion advocates like Casey Murschel have been fielding candidates like Ann Henkin to run against conservative, pro-life, pro-family Republicans like Manny Steele. Casey Murschel voted against H.B. 1215 during the 2006 Legislative Session, and Ann Henkin has stated she would have voted against H.B. 1215 as well.Stay tuned for election day.

The Countdown stands at one week until election day.

One week until election day. One week!

I'm getting to the point where I'm starting to internally make my personal picks for who I think will come out on election night. If I knew anything about sports betting at all, I might "handicap" the races or suggest a percentage spread.

But I don't, so I won't.

Last primary election, in a contest among several politico friends, I was the winner in making the picks. The ONLY one I miscalled was the previous Schwiesow/Adelstein race, and that's because I went with campaign "effort" over "money." So, I'm pollyanish. There are worse afflictions.

In fact, when I look at races and consider who is going to prevail, unlike many people, I don't pay much attention to the issues. Why? Because at the level of campaigns that we see in South Dakota, it rarely matters. What matters is the candidate's campaigning ability. Their effort. It's based on their visibility and how well they've made …

Abortion ban referral looks like it's on the ballot

Advocates for a statewide vote on HB1215 are feeling pretty proud of themselves today. They're claiming more than twice the number of signatures needed will be turned in, according the the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:
The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families announced Tuesday that it had secured more than twice the number of signatures it needed to refer the abortion ban passed by the 2006 Legislature to a vote of the people this fall.

At a press conference at the Downtown Holiday Inn, officials with the campaign said they had 37,846 signatures – more than double the 16,728 they needed to get.

Those signatures still need to be validated.

Supporters of the repeal said they had 1,200 volunteers from 138 communities circulate the petitions. None of the volunteers were paid, they said.Read it all here.

I'm not the extremist, you're the extremist. is reporting on the Adelstein/Schwiesow Senate race in Rapid City, served up with another side of trash-talking by the incumbent Senator against his opponent. And of course, abortion is dominating the issue:
Elli Schwiesow would have voted for the abortion bill. She says she's the more conservative republican who reflects the party's platform.

Schwiesow says, "I've always had a servant's heart and I think I can serve the people in my district and the state of South Dakota well."

Schwiesow says she too talks to voters about things like schools and property taxes, but her stance on abortion gets a lot of attention.

She says, "I care for all children despite the circumstances they were conceived in. I just love children. There are no unwanted children."

And even though they hold differing opinions, both candidates say their positions on the issue are connecting with voters.

Adelstein says, "It's gotten a lot of attention state wide bec…

Hennies v. Kooiker blogpost over at Mt. Blogmore

The denizens of Mt. Blogmore are starting a thread on the Hennies versus Kookier battle for Kookier's Rapid City Council seat.

I'm going to be watching the comment section on this post with some interest. And I'll be curious to see where this election ends up a week from now. Do the residents of Rapid City want to replace someone who is on the upswing of his political career (describing him as a popular young councilman) with someone such as Hennies, who is on the long downhill slide after term limits removed him from office?

I've always thought of the Rapid City Council as a place where younger politicians test the waters to see if they have the mettle for future battles. That's in stark contrast to the Pennington County Commission, where it seems that politicians go to die like the legendary elephant graveyards of Africa. Somewhere in the Pennington County Courthouse, I imagine a closet with the skeletons of faded political careers.

Mark Kirkeby is an exception, as …

Billion and Wiese try to draw differences in their battle for the Democratic Nomination for Governor

This morning, the associated press is back at it, trying to find a difference between the two Democratic Candidates for Governor:
Billion said he has better qualifications to tackle the job as governor.

Billion said his 30 years as a doctor means he understands medical issues and can find ways to provide affordable, high-quality health care to South Dakotans. The first task is to deal with people who have no health insurance, he said.

Also, Billion said he has contacts throughout the state because of his work in health care, his time in the Legislature and his long tenure on the board of directors of Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell.

“I think my experiences certainly stand up and would lead me to be a better candidate,” Billion said. “I think that in getting along with people and especially in bringing a message to Republicans focusing on education and the economy, I can carry that message to Republicans.”

Wiese said that as president of the South Dakota Farmers Union, he has promot…

But did anyone lose an ear over it?

According to the Associated Press, US Senate Minority Leader likes to watch fight club:
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, who has criticized Republican ethics, accepted free ringside tickets to three professional boxing matches from Nevada officials who were trying to influence his federal legislation regulating the sport.Reid, D-Nev., took the free seats for Las Vegas fights between 2003 and 2005 from the Nevada Athletic Commission as he pressed legislation to increase federal oversight of boxing, including the creation of a government commission.Reid defended the gifts, saying they would never influence his position on the boxing bill and that he was simply trying to learn how his legislation might affect an important home state industry. "Anyone from Nevada would say I'm glad he is there taking care of the state's No. 1 businesses," he told The Associated Press."I love the fights anyways, so it wasn't like being punished," added the senator, a form…

Dennis Wiese is hell bent on having the budget reserve spent.

According to a Terry Woster article in today's Argus Leader, Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Dennis Wiese has a large focus in his campaign - tapping into the State's budget reserve:
The trust fund From the opening day of his campaign, Wiese has focused on the more than $1 billion in various trust accounts and reserve funds controlled by state government. Although some of those funds are locked away, some could be opened with a three-fourths vote of the Legislature.

"We have the money," Wiese says. "We lack the will to use it wisely."


Within the first 100 days of a Wiese administration, there'd be action to open some of the reserves to increase state aid to schools or there'd be a fight between him and the Legislature, he said.

"And if we couldn't win there, we'd take it to the ballot and let the people decide who should keep their tax money," he said.And Dennis doesn't stop there in going into the reserves:
During an empt…

How old is Delores Coffing? To quote a song:
In 1814, she took a little trip, Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.

And I heard she fired her guns and the British kept a comin.. (apologies to the Battle of New Orleans).

okay. Joking aside, I'm sure Delores wasn't born in the 1800's. Really. Despite that fact, she's not fessing up on her age to voters in today's Rapid City Journal article about her race against Ethan Schmidt:
Though she never divulges her age, Pennington County Commissioner Delores Coffing acknowledges that she has been around for quite some time. In 1969, she was the county commission's recorder and worked in the auditor's office. She was a member of the Rapid City Council from 1987 to 1995 before being appointed to the county commission to fill the term of Neil Strand, who had been elected to the Legislature.

At the end of this year, Coffing will have served on the county commission for 12 years, and she hopes voters will return her to office for another four.

Coffing faces a challenge in the June 6 Republican primary from Ethan Schmidt, a member of the …

Jack Billion interview on Quality News Network

From the other side of the aisle, the Billion campaign noted that Democratic Democratic Candidate Jack Billion recently completed an interview with the Quality News Network:

SIOUX FALLS--Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Billion was interviewed Friday by Quality News Network, an Internet provider of news and news updates, for its "2006 Candidates: In Their Own Word" series.

The 20:00 audio interview is available for listening at

Topics covered include abortion, Native American issues, economic development, and health care.

According to its website, QNN is doing the series "to help challengers in federal, gubernatorial and other select races level the playing field against incumbents." The site also notes, "The interviews are conducted by veteran broadcast journalist Tony Seton. Candidates do not control the content nor is the interview edited for c…

Speaking of Bruce Whalen from a couple of posts down, a memorial day message

Got an e-news bulletin from Bruce Whalen in my mailbox tonight with a memorial day message for South Dakotans :
Happy Memorial Day

As thousands of South Dakotans hit the highways this Memorial Day weekend they will first be stopping by their local gas stations and are in for a painful experience. Gas prices continue to hover just under the $3 mark across the state and Bruce Whalen thinks it's time something is done!

As a member of Congress, Bruce Whalen would do three things to help keep our energy costs down:

1. Vote to allow oil and natural gas exploration and production in ANWR. "The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a great untapped resource we have in this country," said Whalen. "Production in a safe and responsible manner would have a huge impact and help us to become energy independent."

2. Fight for increased production of ethanol and biodiesel. "South Dakota is quickly becoming a leader in production of alternative fuels, but we can't stop now,&qu…

Pine Ridge protest scheduled for tomorrow

I just got a note that tomorrow, (May 30th) beginning at 10:00 am, organizers will march in protest of Cecelia Fire Thunder and her effort to establish an abortion clinic in Pine Ridge. The march will end at the Red Cloud Building (Tribal administration offices) or Billy Mills Hall in Pine Ridge were the Council will convene to discuss charges against Fire Thunder's activity.

He aint heavy, he's my running mate.

Indian Country Today is reporting something that I hadn't really heard before, and isn't well known in some political circles. In an extensive article on the Native American candidates running for office this election, they point out that incumbent House member Tom Van Norman and Senate hopeful Steve Emery are brothers:
An interesting situation is unfolding in the split district. Van Norman is the incumbent House member in one portion of the district; and his brother, Steve Emery, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, is running in the primary for state Senate in District 28.

Emery is the attorney who filed the complaint that led to the district was split eight years ago. At that time another brother, Mark Van Norman, current executive director of the National Indian Gaming Association, ran and was defeated for the House seat. Read all of this interesting article here where among the other candidates, Bruce Whalen gets a mention in his race …

More than just the dead and dying back in my little town

Pierre has gotten a couple of write ups recently in the blogs that I just ran across tonight -

The first, over at Rush Hour Rambling, led me to the second at From Rush Hour Rambling:
There was quite a dichotomy between the way Pierre, South Dakota was described to me, and what I actually found when Frogwing and I rolled into town. The gulf between myth and reality was as wide as the Missouri River at Lake Oahe. You can blame that on modern times, and the ubiquity of giant, multi-national corporations, I suppose. Super Walmart is here, along with the usual assortment of fast-food emporiums. The invasion continues…While I was expecting a dusty cowtown straight out of the Wild West, what I experienced instead was a sort of Anytown, USA, with a hint of USDA-approved Western-Style flavoring. Even personal emails from friends of mine who hail from South Dakota warned me of being shot at for trespassing, and made the place seem like it was just one step evolved from Dodge…

Associated press comments, albeit harshly, on the 2006 Congressional race

(Hat tip to Proud liberal.)

Joe Kafka comments tonight on their opinion of the chances of Republican Bruce Whalen against Stephanie Herseth for the Congressional seat:
With his largely unknown status as a candidate, Whalen, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, faces a tough fight for a variety of reasons:- South Dakota is about 90 percent white, and Indian candidates fare poorly in off-reservation areas. South Dakota has nine Indian reservations, and while Whalen may get many Indian votes, many Indians do not bother to vote.- Whalen has little money for his campaign, although state GOP Chairman Randy Frederick said the party will help.- Herseth is a well-known, blue blood Democrat whose grandfather was governor, grandmother was secretary of state and father was in the Legislature for two decades. She was first seated in the House by winning a special election in 2004 after Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow resigned in disgrace following a manslaughter conviction for killing a motorcyclis…

Focus South Dakota get's it's website up.

Posting has been unusually light for me this weekend, but I'm enjoying my pants off with the family. I've fired up my huge grill twice, got plants in, and it was done with only one trip to the emergency room (after hours ear infection). I even did a few extras around the house. So blogging is low on my list of priorities.

But I'll get back to it soon enough.

In the meantime to whet your appetite, check out the website for Focus South Dakota at

This is the web address for the group of Democrat activists who in the past have downplayed their political affiliation at the same time they are out there promoting left-leaning causes and candidates in SD (Hat tip to SDP on where they get their money).

In previous years, they've performed polling that *amazingly* turned out in a manner favorable to their cause and publicized the results. This year their big thing is working for a NO vote of the referral of HB 1215.

So check out the website as you make up your …