Showing posts from November 26, 2006

National conservative weekly Human Events names Rounds as one of it's top ten Governors in the nation. Is a higher calling in the tea leaves?

This past June, the national conservative weekly Human Events named South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds as one of it's top ten conservative Governors in the country.
Ranked by HUMAN EVENTS Political Editor John Gizzi.

9. Mike Rounds—South Dakota

Has made nationwide headlines by pushing a measure to ban all abortions in his state—a move almost certain to lead to the Supreme Court’s revisiting Roe v. Wade. Rounds did sign phone tax and cigarette tax increases to deal with a deficit he inherited, but backs his state’s no-income tax stand and calls for property-tax relief when the state has more money.


3. Matt Blunt—Missouri

Backed by Republican majorities in both houses of the state legislature, America’s youngest (36) governor has successfully pushed for tax cuts as well as slashing the size of government.

2. Bill Owens—Colorado

“A sterling record of fiscal accomplishment” is how the Cato Institute characterized GOPer Owens’ six years in office. He backed a state tax and expendit…

Is Bill Peterson in the hunt for SDGOP Chairman?

I had made a few inquiries, and one of them paid off tonight. It's sounding more and more that former State House Majority Leader Bill Peterson might be considering a bid for chairman of the South Dakota GOP.

Bill would come with few negatives (as if there could be any) , and he might be the candidate who can receive the blessing of the Governor, Senator Thune, and the Republican leadership of the legislature.

Stay tuned for more developments on this one.

My godhood for a day

If you hadn't noted it yet, I selected my topic over at Mt. Blogmore for my Mt. Blogmore godhood for a day. Go check it out.

KCCR News has a new website for up to date info on happenings in the Capitol City

Tony Mangan and KCCR news have started another home in addition to what they're already doing over at

They're finally up at their own website over at

Why should you care?

Given the fact he's here in Pierre, and his access to many of the decision makers through years of being around the process, KCCR News director Tony Mangan is pretty good at knowing where some of the more interesting political tales lie.

So, on my recommendation, please, go check it out.

And, as I do so myself, I didn't think I realized that Thune was in town today as Tony's reporting:
Senator John Thune is in Pierre today. His only scheduled public appearance is a speech to the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, which is meeting at the Ramkota Rivercentre. Thune is scheduled to address the group starting at 1:15 this afternoon.

Rapid City Journal this Morning - Don't mess with the Initiated Measure Process

From today's Rapid City Journal:
One proposed law would require the Secretary of State's Office verify a random sample of 5 percent of the signatures on the petitions. Currently, state employees only check to see that the number of required signatures are gathered. This may take more work on the part of the Secretary of State's Office to verify the signatures, but it would force petition circulators to be careful that only registered voters sign the petitions.


If such a law passes the Legislature, what happens if invalid signatures are found? Would a certain number of invalid signatures trigger a more thorough review of the remaining signatures or invalidate the petitions? We would imagine that even the most conscientious signature collector might gather signatures from nonregistered voters.

We would like more information on the proposed changes before endorsing them or rejecting them. The Legislature should proceed cautiously before tinkering with South Dakota'…

And is it all falling apart now?

You know my recent post noting the new leadership configuration was possibly going to be:
Kenny McNenny - President Pro Tempore
Bob Gray - Majority Leader
Jason Gant - Assistant Majority LeaderWell, not much more than a day later, I'm told this coalition is in danger of falling apart, if it hasn't already. Apparently, some legislators who had their positions set are now talking about running for positions that aren't the ones they'd agreed to seek.

This is not indicative of a crisis of any sort, but what it does is make for a much wilder ride come next Monday. Instead of having factions of conservatives and moderates voting as a block and the outcomes based on seniority and the ideological majority within the caucus, it's going to be a popularity contest that no one is likely to predict.

The complicating factor that many don't realize is that just like a public election, if you lose a GOP caucus leadership race, that's it. You don't get the opportunity to d…

Freshman Rush starts next week

According to the Argus tonight, new legislators are going to get their crash course in freshman orientation 101 before the Governor's Budget address:
New legislators elected on Nov. 7 learn where they’ll be sitting in the House and Senate and how to get bills drafted in an orientation on Monday.

Legislative Research Council Director Jim Fry said 22 of the 105 lawmakers who’ll serve in the 2007 session are truly new, having never had any previous legislative experience.


“The orientation process takes longer than one day, but we cram it into just one,’’ Fry said today.Read it all here.

Rule #1? Don't Touch the pages. Rule #2... See rule #1

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 DonationsGary D. Hanson - D6491100.00%


Brian G. Johnson-R415644.42%
$1,250.00 Jim Hundstad - D520055.58%


Isaac Latterell - R480549.83%
$250.00 Alan C. Hoerth - D483750.17%


Larry Diedrich - R458247.34%
$6,500.00 Jim Peterson - D509752.66%


Dennis Arnold - R445148.13%
$10,425.00 Nancy J. Turbak - D479751.87%


Brock L. Greenfield-R551560.57%
$250.00 Ron Foster - D359039.43%


Orville B. Smidt-R463457.17%
$250.00 Harold Widvey - D347242.83%


Rob Regier leaving the SD Family Policy Council

I've had a couple of people forward me a note that Rob Regier is leaving the SD Family Policy Council. Rob has been there since it was only a fledgling organization in SD, so this marks a major change in style for the group.

Here's what the note said:
Dear friends,

It is with sadness that I announce I will be stepping down as executive director of the South Dakota Family Policy Council. I certainly will miss interacting with the thousands of South Dakotans who support the Family Policy Council, but I believe God has a different plan for me, as well as for the organization. After nearly nine years between my time at Family Research Council in Washington , D.C. and here at the Family Policy Council, it's time for a change for my own family.

For two reasons I make this announcement now, rather than later. First, the date of my departure has not been set as the board of directors desires me to stay to help in the selection of and transition to a new executive director. This transi…

I got the Golden Ticket!

Actually, I won a lighthearted contest over on Mt. Blogmore for the new State Motto for the SD Quarter (which was something to the effect of the latin phrase for "pheasants don't fly over mountains"). So now I get to pick a topic.

I've got a few ideas, mainly along the line of new media's impact on the 2006 elections, and what we should look for in 2008.

Any one have a better idea?

Think we're a flash in the pan? Blogging and other new media are just continuing to grow in political influence

From the, a very interesting article on where politics are continuing to shift:
Former Sen. John Edwards’s favorite books include “The Trial of Socrates,” “God’s Politics” and “Into Thin Air.” His favorite musician is Bruce Springsteen. His heroes are his wife, Elizabeth, and the American people.How did this information about a likely 2008 presidential candidate become public? Through, a networking website where Edwards (D-N.C.), like former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D), has set up pages to tell people about himself. Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) has 6,000 friends on his page at Visitors to those pages can join the candidates’ “networks” and candidates can use the sites to communicate with narrow groups of likely voters.Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark (D) has focused his efforts on podcasting, creating an audio message that his supporters can listen to at his website or download from Apple’s iTunes. Clark has the second most listened-to podcast among likely 2008 conten…

NO! Pick Me. Pick Me.

Since PUC Commissioner Bob Sahr has resigned early, the Associated Press is reporting tonight that Governor Rounds is contemplating appointing Steve Kolbeck to the job early:
Gov. Mike Rounds says he's thinking about appointing Democrat Steve Kolbeck, the winner of a Public Utilities Commission seat in the general election, to fill an unexpired term.

Commissioners Dusty Johnson and Gary Hanson have asked Rounds to make a temporary appointment because the PUC has some issues to decide in December. They say Kolbeck would be the logical choice since he will take office in January anyway.Read it here at the Rapid City Journal. And then cast your vote here to appoint... Me.

Yes, appoint me instead of Kolbeck. Why? Because it would be the silly kind of historical footnote that I could use to amuse my grandchildren someday. And the electorate would be relatively safe. I mean, how much damage could I do to the utilities in 30 days or so before my term was up?

It could happen....

Are they moving ahead, or just grasping at... Well, grasping at something.

The Associated Press is reporting that the Legislative Executive board is meeting with their attorney to review what, if anything, the Attorney General found in his investigation into allegations that State Senator Dan Sutton Sexually groped an 18 year old male legislative page:
A South Dakota legislative committee met privately Tuesday with the lawyer who is handling the investigation into allegations that a state senator engaged in sexual misconduct with a high school student who served as a page.

Sen. Ed Olson, R-Mitchell, chairman of the Legislature’s Executive Board, said Sioux Falls lawyer Jim McMahon told the committee what he has learned from criminal-investigation records that were subpoenaed from the attorney general’s office. The panel also talked about what direction the probe will take in the future, Olson said.Read it all here at the Rapid City Journal.


The Argus is reporting tonight that KELO is in talks with SDSU to televise some of the games. (does that mean Brookings will be blacked out, or will I still have to freeze my tail off if I decide to go to a football game?):
South Dakota State associate athletic director Rob Peterson said Tuesday that the school is negotiating with Young Broadcasting Inc. and KELO to put as many as 25 Jackrabbit games – five football and 10 each in men’s and women’s basketball – on live television in 2007-08.

“It may indeed happen,” Peterson said. “I’ve got an agreement on my desk I’ve been going through, a legal contract, the same one we had last year. Issues need to be resolved first before we sign off on it. Every indication I’ve gotten so far is the market will bear this out.”

Gwen Kinsey, the president and general manager of KELO, confirmed that her station has been talking about a partnership with SDSU for some time, and said she wasn’t prepared to comment further.Read it all here.

Rapid City Journal - Shaw the Plea Bargainer just leaves us flat.

In their editorial this morning, The Rapid City Journal seemed to say they would have preferred Robert E Howard's brave and adventurous "Conan the Barbarian" to Rapid City's "Shaw the Plea Bargainer":
Shaw's pre-turkey day press release announced that he was pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct and paying the $100 fine by mail after Polk County (Iowa) prosecutors offered to drop the more serious charge of resisting arrest.

Somehow, "Plea Bargain" Jim Shaw doesn't have the same ring to it as "Fightin' Jim."

"While I firmly believe that I would have been totally exonerated and found not guilty in a trial, because of the time it would have required of me to be away from Rapid City and my duties of mayor, I am doing what I believe is best for our community and putting my personal interests second," Shaw said in his release.

We have a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving, but gratitude to Mayor S…

Bob Sutton to be featured on 20/20

I had a note today that South Dakota Community Foundation Director Bob Sutton will be featured on 20/20 tomorrow night.

(No, not for that. Dateline does those)

Seriously, the focus of the story will be the difference in charitable giving between San Francisco (very high income) and Sioux Falls (relatively low income nationally), noting how South Dakotans are very charitable in comparison to other states.

My confirmation has yet to come.. So, with that understanding, here's the latest rumor

I didn't get the internal confirmation I was hoping for, so with that understanding, here's the latest rumor of what the Senate leadership configuration will end up with.
Kenny McNenny - President Pro Tempore
Bob Gray - Majority Leader
Jason Gant - Assistant Majority LeaderWhy am I taking this seriously? I had a great source on it, but they will be external to the vote. I was hoping for internal confirmation, but it's yet to come.

I am told that a couple of more senior members of the Senate GOP caucus, one of whom was rumored to be in the hunt for a position himself, have signed off on this configuration and it's supposedly sitting at a 11-12 informal vote count.

We're less than a week out from the vote, so it's entirely possible that this could change. But if my info holds true, this could be who you see as leadership this next session.

The final incarnation? Or will it change before the ink is yet dry?

I'm seeking confirmation at the moment, but I hear that a deal may have been struck among the caucus members to form the next GOP Senate Leadership team. And allegedly, this group has the votes to make it happen.

Stay tuned. As soon as I hear something more substantial, I'll let you know.

Jerstad a few votes down, but still on top.

The Argus is reporting it, but Todd Epp over at SD Watch has a first hand account of the events of the Jerstad/Earley Recount:
From the challenges by Earley's attorney at the Canton recount, it appears they are going under a theory of disenfranchised voters. In Lincoln County, at least seven District 12 voters got absentee ballots with the wrong legislative district. After the ballots were flagged when going through the scanner machine, the election reconciliation board filled out appropriate ballots for that district, leaving the candidates for legislature in the correct district unvoted. (They would have no way of ascertaining the voter's intent for the right ballot.)I haven't heard yet what went on in Minnehaha County. It's been reported that the county auditor there delivered the wrong ballots to one of the precincts and that voters could either wait for the correct ballots or vote on the "wrong" ball, leaving the legislative races blank. I believe th…

Incoming Interns, and the Legislative Page bed check?

Tonight I was at the thank you event for the Vietnam War Memorial Dedication Volunteers. And I was fortunate enough to spend a few minutes talking with the young woman who interned for the Vietnam Dedication this summer who made it back for the event.

She was pleased as punch to tell me that she got an internship with the State Senate this coming January. As one of the other committee members and I noted, she's going to have a front row seat at a very historic legislative session. Not the least of which will be the determination of the rule violation that Senator Dan Sutton has been accused of.

Oddly enough, after I got home, I note that the Argus Leader is writing on the very topic of a few of those who are going to be working at the legislature tonight:
Legislative leaders want random checks to be sure high-school students serving as pages during session are staying where they say they are.

The Legislative Research Council’s Executive Board also decided to create an advisory committ…

Reader Suggestion time - people potential candidates should know

I've been noodling on a post that I'd like to do, but before I weigh in, I'd like to hear what the readers think.

If a political newbie showed up at your doorstep one day and said "I want to run for office" - Who are ten people involved in South Dakota partisan politics that you would say they need to meet? And that's ten for each side of the aisle, if you care to take a stab at both. But arguably, it's more authoritative if you're just speaking for your own.

Would most Republicans include Larry Russell and Gypsy Hines on their list? Would most Dems include Rick Hauffe and Jody Severson?

What I want to know is - Who do the political insiders point friends to when they've got someone
who wants to jump in with both feet? Once you've all weighed in, I'll drop in with my list in a separate post.

Don't forget the beg button....

A big thanks to a couple of you who have been nice enough to contribute towards the site's upkeep.
And a reminder to the rest that your support and patronage is very appreciated. As I'm working on a few upgrades, including a move to my own URL, I do incur some expenses. And if you'd be so kind as to hit the beg button at the top on the right, and donate towards the site's upkeep, I'd be very grateful to you as well.

If you'd like to place an ad, I have lots of space available, as well as a loyal following. That's evidenced from the fact we're going to top out at over 25,000 monthly readers for the second month in a row (that's over 60,000 hits for two months running).

Thanks for your past and future support as I try to continue to bring you more South Dakota political stuff into the new year.

Upcoming events...

Not tomorrow, but next Monday, the Senate Republican Caucus will meet in Pierre to decide who will their leaders. And I hope to be Johnny-on-the-spot with an early report.

That will come after they have a sit down dinner Sunday evening where many of them are going to probably make up their minds in the hours before hand.

And of course, the day after they'll be here for the Governor's Budget Address.

Sibby versus Adelstein over at Mt. Blogmore

(HT to Sibby online)

Right after I got back to Pierre, I went and checked the blogfeeds, and the first thing I noted was a post that Sibby did on how he and State Senator (for about 50 more days and counting) Stan Adelstein are getting into an argument over at Mt. Blogmore.

Basically, it all started when commenter DL Emerick offered the view that:
I’d dare to say that Stan Adelstein agreed with much more than 80% of Reagan’s agenda. If that is the litmus test for being a conservative Republican, then Stan more than qualifies.Somehow in reviewing Stan's record, Sibby found grounds to dispute that opinion:
Stan Adelstein is no where close to be 80% of Ronald Reagan. Maybe 8%.And aside from some side chatter, Soon-to-be-former Senator Adelstein disagreed. (Note - spelling is his, not mine, but I did edit some of the repetition in the passages, because it made no sense.).
OK Sibson - he called you on another lie. Where did I differ from Reagan?? I have been in public life longer than you …