South Dakota Politics
A University of South Dakota law student's blog dedicated primarily to shining light (either a harsh, unyielding spotlight or a soft, warm glow) on figures and institutions in South Dakota.

Friday, April 11, 2003  

WOW. Yesterday was a near record in SDP traffic with 68 hits and 128 page views. There were a ton of referrals from Google searches. Who put a switch on you people?

posted by Jason | 9:08 AM

Bill Janklow may yet throw his hat into the Senate race.

posted by Jason | 8:00 AM

Thursday, April 10, 2003  

A couple of recent polls indicate that Senate Democrats are in trouble:

[T]he sinking approval numbers of Democrats bespeaks of more than simply a negative wartime bounce. In fact, those in the Winston survey who had seen or heard Democrats in action recently tended to have a far less favorable opinion of them — whether it was about their opposition to the war, their blocking of judicial nominations or their internecine squabbling. The USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll also showed that the approval rating of the Democratic Party has slipped — in January, 52 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of the party, 49 percent now do. Even Sen. Joe Lieberman's approval ratings have slipped slightly, from a 44 percent approval rating to 41 percent.

posted by Jason | 8:20 PM

Tom Daschle is among the ranks of the wrong. He has a lot of company.

posted by Jason | 3:31 PM

BS quote of the day: Denise Ross of the Rapid City Journal quotes Tom Daschle in her latest piece:

"Regardless of who is president, if I think he is right, I'm going to support him. If I think he is wrong, I will oppose him. But I will try to find common ground if differences arise," Daschle said.

posted by Jason | 11:38 AM

Wednesday, April 09, 2003  

There's an interesting story in Roll Call on a prospective Thune-Daschle race. Excerpt:

While sources close to Thune say he is, at minimum, six months away from making a decision on the race, Daschle intends to send a signal to any potential opponent that the stakes for joining the race have increased dramatically from previous South Dakota contests.

"I am going to raise the same amount of money regardless of who runs. I am going to raise well over $10 million and we are right on track," Daschle said in an interview with Roll Call. "We set a goal of $2 million [as of March 31] and we have exceeded it. We will exceed our goal for each reporting period. I don't take it lightly. I don't minimize the challenge regardless of who is running for my seat."

Daschle has already shifted the focus of his political activity, devoting less time to raising money for other Senate Democrats and more to his own fortunes, as opposed to his previous almost singular focus on boosting the campaign coffers of the party's incumbents and hopefuls.

But his own fundraising ambitions dwarf the spending on previous Senate races in his home state, something Democratic aides say is driven mainly by new campaign finance laws.

In the 2002 race between Thune and Sen. Tim Johnson (D), Thune raised $5.2 million and, with some leftover funds from previous House races, spent more than $5.9 million. Johnson raised and spent a little more than $6.8 million for the entire six-year cycle.

However, one Democratic strategist noted that the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, along with the state's political party committees, helped funnel at least $6 million each into the race through TV ads and get-out-the-vote efforts funded primarily with now-illegal soft money.

That made each campaign, by this Democratic estimate, worth roughly $13 million last year.

If Daschle can raise in the neighborhood of $11 million or $12 million, that would dramatically limit the amount of resources the DSCC would have to put into the race, giving Democrats more flexibility to spend money in other critical contests.

Even with new laws that double the amount individuals can give to candidates to $4,000 per election cycle, Daschle is attempting to essentially double his previous top fundraising haul, the $5.6 million raised for his 1998 campaign. Only 61 percent of those contributions came from individuals.

If Daschle can lock up so much campaign cash early, it could make Thune, backed strongly by the White House in his last bid, think twice about the race. A source close to Thune indicated that the former Member, who recently latched on to the law firm Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn, won't make a decision until "late in the fall or early next winter."

That would leave less than a year to try to match Daschle in terms of fundraising, although the Minority Leader may have become such a lightning rod to conservatives that they would instantly rally around Thune in terms of dollars.

An internal GOP poll done by David Winston showed Daschle's favorable/unfavorable ratings nationally hit a new low after comments delivered on March 17 in which he struck at President Bush's failure to get U.N. support for the war in Iraq. The Winston poll had Daschle at 28 percent favorable, 40 percent unfavorable.

The Thune source said that the environment to run against Daschle had become "better than it's ever been."

"Daschle has been damaged back home," the source added.

Daschle's aides, however, refute this, saying that internal polls done by the Johnson campaign throughout 2002 showed that his job approval rating in South Dakota never dipped below 61 percent.

Steve Hildebrand, Daschle's campaign manager who also ran Johnson's bid in 2002, said Republican-leaning voters in South Dakota have dealt with Daschle's partisan leadership for eight years now but continue to support him. "They love how Tom Daschle represents this state," he said.

posted by Jason | 10:13 PM

Congratulations to my friend and drinking buddy, Drake Olson, who was easily re-elected to the Vermillion city council yesterday with 63 percent of the vote. Drake has been and will continue to be an advocate and watchdog for USD students. Keep up the excellent work Drake!

posted by Jason | 6:31 PM

Enough said.

posted by Jason | 12:18 PM

There's some local flavor to the bombing of a building Saddam Hussein may have occupied.

posted by Jason | 9:06 AM

Daschle gearing up for run in 2004

posted by Jason | 7:59 AM

Why Tom Daschle may not run again

posted by Jason | 7:57 AM

Tuesday, April 08, 2003  

David Horowitz was great this afternoon. On why they (the Islamofascists) hate us: "Why did Cain hate Abel?" In response to a person who was wondering what David had to say about the maniac in the White House with weapons of mass destruction: "I would say you're living in an alternate universe." After the speech, several of us had dinner with him, and he started off his after-dinner speech with a pointed joke: two Republicans were about to be shot by a firing squad. The captain asked if they had any last requests. One Republican turned to the other and said, "you know, I'd really like a blindfold." The other replied "you'd better not, we don't want to make any trouble." Finally, David said that Tom Daschle is very vulnerable on national security issues, and to really focus on this issue as we get closer to the 2004 election. All in all a great afternoon and evening spent with David Horowitz.

posted by Jason | 8:51 PM

The great polemicist David Horowitz is here in Vermillion today. He'll be speaking in Farber Hall at 4:00. Be there.

posted by Jason | 12:53 PM

Maka Duta and her lawyer didn't show up yesterday for her arraignment. Maka Duta is at the center of an investigation into voter fraud in South Dakota last fall. Could this be a stalling tactic, or just an innocent mistake? Developing...

posted by Jason | 12:45 PM

Denise Ross of the Rapid City Journal has all the latest news on political activity in South Dakota, including the fate of Laura Schoen, former Executive Director of the state Republican Party.

posted by Jason | 9:46 AM

Tom Daschle seems to hang out with a lot of the old anti-war types these days. One day it's George McGovern, the next it's Eugene McCarthy:

Old hands from Gene McCarthy's historic 1968 presidential campaign -- which helped dissuade the Vietnam War-beleaguered Lyndon Johnson from trying to keep the White House -- gathered Saturday at MSNBC host Bill Press's Capitol Hill townhouse to help the retired Minnesota senator celebrate his 87th birthday. McCarthy had some withering words about President Bush and the war in Iraq. "This war's a bit like one of those Roman wars where a general would get an army together and go to Africa, capture some country, and then come back and become an emperor," he told the small group, which included Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). About Bush, McCarthy said: "I don't hold him responsible. I don't think Bush understands what he's saying. He just keeps talking, hoping inspiration will occur somewhere along the way. . . . The worst thing you can do is elect a governor as president of the United States. And Bush proves it."

I thought McCarthy had died a long time ago.

posted by Jason | 9:40 AM

John Thune is ready to run against Tom Daschle in 2004:

Vance Goldammer, a board member of South Dakotans for Responsible Government, said the Democrats’ main argument — that voting for Thune means voting against a Democratic Senate and a majority leader from South Dakotan — is no long valid.
“They had all their eggs in that basket,” Goldammer said. “Fifteen, twenty thousand Republicans crossed over.” The Republicans’ one-vote edge has changed all that, he added.
Goldammer further maintained that since Democrats are unlikely to recapture the Senate in 2004 — 19 Democratic seats are up for grabs, many in Bush-friendly states, versus only 15 Republican ones — the majority-leadership won’t be much of an issue.

posted by Jason | 7:54 AM

Monday, April 07, 2003  

Dennis Miller was on Leno the other night, and here's what he had to say about Michael Moore:

He's going to wake up every day for the rest of his life, and he's going to tell us how he hates everything about this country except his right to hate it. And then we say that we love it and he's going to tell us what naive sheep we are and that he's the true patriot because he hates it and he sees all the problems in it. Yeah, right, Mike. You know something, if my yawn got any bigger they'd have to assign it a hurricane name, okay? Michael Moore simultaneously represents everything I detest in a human being and everything I feel obligated to defend in an American. Quite simply, it is that stupid moron's right to be that utterly, completely wrong.

For more of Miller on an earlier Leno show, click here. (Warning: the person who posted the transcript doesn't like Miller very much.)

posted by Jason | 10:38 PM

Surprisingly, Dave Kranz does do interviews with conservative publications like the Washington Times:

Mr. Daschle faced criticism at home for saying on the eve of war in Iraq that Mr. Bush had "failed so miserably at diplomacy."
The South Dakota Democrat "must feel like a pheasant on a spit roasting over a slow fire," began one column written by Tim Giago in the Mitchell Daily Republic, a newspaper in the state. The senator was pilloried for speaking with a "forked tongue" and called "two-faced Tom."
"It's probably the most cussed and discussed statement Daschle has ever made in his political career," said columnist David Kranz with the Argus Leader, another South Dakota newspaper.
The remark caused such a furor that some figured it was an indication that Mr. Daschle plans not to run for senator again, Mr. Kranz said.

posted by Jason | 9:05 AM

Sunday, April 06, 2003  

It looks like Judy Olson, chair of the South Dakota Democratic Party, got the e-mail message from Tom Daschle. She even mentions the Mark Shields editorial that was attached to the e-mail. This is parroting the party line in the extreme.

posted by Jason | 9:29 PM

Tom Daschle is dabbling in Alaska politics.

posted by Jason | 12:13 PM
Ungarnered Praise
Talon News Series on Argus Leader Bias