Welcome to the war, Steve Kolbeck
DEM's announce PUC Candidate

I’d been on this rumor for quite a while, but I didn’t have any independent confirmation until the “semi-official” announcement made this weekend by the SDDP. They just featured their candidate for the Public Utilities Commission against Republican Bob Sahr on their Dakota Blues Podcast. According to the podcast, Bob Sahr's Democratic opponent will be Brandon City Commissioner Steve Kolbeck.

Since they’re letting this out via their Dakota Blues Pod Cast as opposed to a press release, it’s somewhat under the radar at the moment.

Anyway, I gave it a listen, and here’s the 30 second summary so you don’t have to.

Steve Kolbeck describes himself as Salem native who attended Northern State for two years and has an associates degree from Mitchell Vo-tech. He’s married with 4 young kids, and has apparently spent 12 years in the phone/telecommunications business, 7 of those in Brandon.

His goals for the PUC are that he wants to improve customer service, give equal attention to all utilities, and doesn’t want to rely on staff so much.

In a preview of their strategy, the broadcast also spends some time taking a back-handed swipe at Bob Sahr, noting that Kolbeck wants this job, and isn’t a political appointee or bureaucrat. And he isn’t viewing this as a stepping stone to something bigger.

So, yeah, o.k. We get the impression that the tact will be to go negative in this race.

Other than the broadcast, what more can we give you on Kolbeck?

His City Commission bio and picture are here at the Brandon, South Dakota website, where he is the commissioner for water and sewer matters. And aside from a couple of nominal articles out there regarding the commission, there isn't much of a paper trail out there that one can find in a 5 minute search.

But don't worry, after the official announcement is made, I'm sure people will be digging and looking.

Before any of you start in, it's not a political statement. It's a fact. It's just now that he's a candidate every move he makes on the Brandon City Commission will be analyzed. Any appearance in the newspaper will be catalogued and dissected. And that includes mentions of his family as well.

The life of a candidate might seem glamourous and exciting to an outsider. And then when you jump into it this eerie sense of paranoia tends to set in. Everything you do tends to be examined to the Nth degree. And you find yourself censoring your actions because it could affect your public perceptions.

One candidate who was elected a few years back said "I'm a regular guy. You might even see me pictured with a beer in my hand." Hasn't happened yet. Another elected official refuses to appear at establishments that sells alcohol as it's primary business. I know of a legislator who lost because of criminal actions of their child. Things like that have gotten lost of publicity in other states recently.

And, sometimes it's too bad that as a candidate, your and your family's actions can affect the public's perception of your electability.

Steve has a little time left before this "campaign paranoia" sets in. Enjoy it while it lasts, and see you at the fall races.


Anonymous said…
It is funny and sad that I have to first learn about the Dem's PUC candidate from a website run by a Republican (but not a Republican run website, right PP? (grin)).

But PP is on top of the 2006 races!

Thanks for the info.
Anonymous said…
you're kidding right? the tone is negative? He's running on his technical experience and knowledge of public utilities at the ground level. That is a legitimate argument. Contrasting that with one's oponent's experience is inevitable.
PP said…
Did I say it was a bad thing?

No, his experience wasn't what would be considered "negative."

It was the "political appointee or bureaucrat, stepping stone to something bigger" jab.

If I was running a challenger campaign against a statewide candidate with more exposure and better name ID, and I was a newbie, and I needed to make a dent in him, I'd probably go negative myself.
Anonymous said…
You guys are idiots. Sahr won a big election against a well known well financed statewide officeholder.
This Kolbeck works for a phone coop that has an interest in how PUC handles certain matters - a real conflict of overseeing a broad industry that your employer while not perhaps directly regulated has a financial interest it.

Besides Sahr works hard, understands the industry and has busted his butt for consumers.

If this guy Kolbeck is any good Dems should get him to run for State auditor or treasurer.
PP said…
Anon #2 (and 1), you guys are making this about personalities as opposed to campaign strategy.

Which is really the main purpose of this blog.

Save the campaigning for the fall.
Anonymous said…
A technician figures out why there is no "dial-tone" or "why doesn't my call waiting work"? PUC is regulatory... understanding laws and code. He's got a lot of work ahead of him to marry the knowledge of his current job with that of a PUC commissioner. Sorry, a brusher of teeth does not a dentist make.
Anonymous said…
Why can't we all just get along!? (grin)
Anonymous said…
Wow! Sahr's supporters are sure touchy. Why are they suggesting that this guy should run against another republican incumbent? One of whom has given so much more to the members of his party and the citizens of this state than self-serving Sahr ever will even think about. Conflicts of interests? Sahr's Pierre wing (RINOs) of the republican party should not even mention the phrase conflict-of- interest. Unlike Gore, they probably did invent it.

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