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.

Saturday, January 10, 2004  

WHERE'S THE CLOUT?: The New York Times has a very good article on Senator Daschle, headlined "The Senate: Daschle, Democrats' Leader, Faces Tough Race at Home," which will appear in tomorrow's edition. Excerpt:

Republicans intend to hit Mr. Daschle hard on the energy bill that failed in the Senate last year. Mr. Daschle backed the measure, and promoted a provision to expand the use of corn-based ethanol--an issue of extreme importance to South Dakota's farmers. But many Democrats voted against the bill, and their leader did not try to stop them.

posted by Jason | 8:33 PM

DASCHLE GETS A PRIMARY CHALLENGER: Tim Giago, editor and publisher of the Lakota Journal until this past week (he just sold the paper to the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe), will be taking on Tom Daschle in the Democratic primary, according to a story in the Argus Leader today by David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, headlined "Giago to join race for Senate." Excerpt:

"My basic reason for running is that for the past 50 years, the Indian vote on the Indian reservations has been taken for granted in this state," said Giago, 69.

UPDATE: KOTA has a story headlined "Giago Challenges Daschle." Excerpt:

Giago says political leaders like Daschle have failed to deliver on promises made to the native people and have taken the Indian vote for granted, “I am running against Tom Daschle because I see so many things that he has not done for the Indian reservations and the native people in this state, and he needs a wakeup call too…”

posted by Jason | 7:31 PM

Friday, January 09, 2004  

Tennesse blogger and journalist Bill Hobbs has kindly placed SDP on his "Campaign Season" blogroll. You can access Bill's newly retooled blog HERE.

posted by Jason | 4:43 PM

THE FIRST FLAP: Rapid City Journal political reporter Denise Ross reports on the first flap of the Senate campaign here in South Dakota, in a story headlined "CNN's Novak under fire for calling American Indians election thieves."

posted by Jason | 9:53 AM

Thursday, January 08, 2004  

ARGUS TAKES CUES FROM DC BIGWIGS: The Argus Leader editorial page carries an editorial today headlined "Keep Senate race clean."

The AL editorial board really need to cast a glance inward before they talk about a "clean race." At the conclusion of the 1990 election cycle, the December 1990 edition of Campaigns & Elections magazine, in a veiled reference to the AL, had the following to say about the Senate race in South Dakota that year:

The papers here seem to take their cues on congressional affairs from Beltway bigwigs. Consequently, a man whose only crime was to serve South Dakotans before the designs of DC power brokers was nearly destroyed by a communications blitz right out of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

The New York Times and Roll Call also took a dim view of the AL's coverage of the Senate race that year.

Over a dozen years later, the Campaigns & Elections analysis of the AL still rings true. Take, for instance, the report from David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, in the Tuesday edition of the AL, headlined "Thune aims to unseat Daschle." In his piece, Kranz quotes a fellow by the name of Don Frankenfeld, a former state senator and "a one-time challenger to then-Rep. Tim Johnson, [who] likes Thune, but is one Republican who can't support him." Typically, Kranz "forgets" to add relevant context as to who Frankenfeld is. Don Frankenfeld has a website, found at Practically the first thing you see on the site is a banner at the top of the page with the text "Senator Daschle Lauds ATLA, Trial Lawyers and Don Frankenfeld." ATLA, of course, is the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. If you click on said banner, you can hear Tom Daschle praising Don Frankenfeld in a speech he gave to the ATLA convention in San Francisco last summer. We discover that Frankenfeld's consulting firm caters to the needs of trial lawyers. And, of course, trial lawyers are among the biggest contributors to Tom Daschle's campaign. It seems that Mr. Frankenfeld has more than just a passing interest in Tom Daschle's re-election. One could reasonably arrive at the conclusion that it is a pecuniary interest (what better way to attract clients than to have the Democratic leader give you a plug at the ATLA convention?).

On Monday night, Thune made his announcement at around 8:00 P.M. David Kranz was there at least until 9:00 P.M. covering the event. His deadline to file the story could only have been a few hours later. Are we to believe that Kranz wasn't fed this quote by the Daschle campaign, given that we now know that Frankenfeld has a close relationship with Tom Daschle? It seems that in this election cycle, as in the 1990 cycle, South Dakotans will be subject to a newspaper that takes its cues on congressional affairs from Beltway bigwigs.

UPDATE: Back in 2000 post-election fracas between Bush and Gore, Frankenfeld advocated a "Bush-Gore" government, according to the last paragraph in this report at the time from Slate's Timothy Noah.

posted by Jason | 8:42 PM

Wednesday, January 07, 2004  

The Rocky Mountain News' Peter Blake has a few paragraphs at the end of his latest column on Dick Wadhams, John Thune's new campaign manager:

By choosing to run former Rep. John Thune's race against Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in South Dakota, Dick Wadhams gave up the opportunity to manage George Nethercutt's challenge of Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

In fact, Nethercutt at one point seemed like the more likely campaign.

"Sometimes you just go with your gut on what would be the best fit," Wayne Allard's former campaign manager said Tuesday.

And he admitted that trying to knock off the minority leader was a special challenge.

Nethercutt has hired Tom Mason as manager; he had been chief of staff to Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn.

For more context to this story, click HERE. (Via reader Cory Skluzak)

posted by Jason | 9:25 PM

Sioux Falls radio talk-show host Greg Belfrage has posted a great response to Steve Hildebrand's e-mail to Daschle supporters.

posted by Jason | 8:54 PM

The Mitchell Daily Republic has an editorial in today's edition headlined "The challenge of a lifetime." Excerpt:

Now, Thune’s decision to challenge Tom Daschle can only be seen as an act of political courage. Daschle is a politician of national reputation. Few are more skilled, more powerful or more financially equipped than he. No one is better known in South Dakota.

posted by Jason | 8:36 PM

Fox News has a story on the Thune-Daschle race headlined "Daschle to Face Tough Challenge From Thune."

posted by Jason | 5:09 PM

ED SCHULTZ WATCH: Democracy Radio has issued a press release publicizing the debut of Ed Schultz, touted as the liberal Rush Limbaugh. Excerpt:

Ed Schultz is an award-winning talent, programmer and radio manager with more than 20 years of radio and TV experience. One of the most accomplished media personalities in the history of North Dakota and the Midwest, Schultz is known for his entertaining, razor-sharp views on American life, politics and people. For his work on KFGO-Fargo, Schultz has won numerous prestigious awards in the radio industry including the Peabody and the Marconi.

The last sentence isn't quite true, as I pointed out in an earlier post.

posted by Jason | 4:48 PM

Steve Hildebrand, Tom Daschle's campaign manager, is busily motivating the troops, as seen by an e-mail sent to supporters today. The text of the e-mail follows, and my comments are bracketed and italicized:

To: Friends and Supports of Senator Tom Daschle

Fr: Steve Hildebrand, Campaign Manager

Re: Former Congressman John Thune to Run Against Senator Daschle

Last Monday night, at a Republican fundraising dinner in Lincoln County, former Congressman John Thune, now a lobbyist in Sioux Falls, announced his intentions to challenge Senator Tom Daschle. [Note the word "lobbyist" is used to describe Thune. In the interests of full disclosure, one should note that Tom Daschle's wife is one of the most powerful corporate lobbyists in Washington. A Washington Monthly piece has described her as a "high-powered lobbyist" while The Hill named her a "star rainmaker."]

The news wasn't a big surprise to us as we've been preparing for the Thune challenge for nearly a year. [In other words, having big fundraisers around the country and running campaign commercials two years before an election]

One fundamental question should guide this election - what is best for the people of South Dakota? Tom's leadership position in the Senate gives South Dakota an unprecedented opportunity to put our priorities on the national agenda and deliver for this great state as he did securing the funding for the Lewis and Clark and Perkins County water projects this year and saving Ellsworth Air Force Base from the base closure list in the mid-1990's. [Didn't Tom Daschle tell us when he was the majority leader that his leadership position was "an unprecedented opportunity" for South Dakota? Note there's no mention of ethanol, which failed because Daschle did not use his clout to get it passed. In fact he was out signing copies of his book when he could have been rounding up support for ethanol. The Congressional Quarterly reported just yesterday that Daschle "did not aggressively seek more Democratic support and the vote failed."]

"I look forward to this campaign as an opportunity to discuss my record of accomplishment for South Dakota and to put forward my ideas on how we can make health care more affordable and available, how we can create more jobs and economic opportunities, and how we can expand South Dakota's agricultural economy," said Senator Daschle last night. [How can Daschle expand South Dakota's agricultural economy when he can't-or won't-deliver on ethanol?]

Now we must begin to maximize our efforts to ensure that Senator Daschle is able to continue delivering for South Dakota. Election Day is just 10 short months from now. Your support has put Tom in a position of strength. But we must turn up the heat, assemble the biggest volunteer effort South Dakota has ever seen, register more supporters and send a message to Karl Rove and the special interests that Senate races aren't decided in Washington. [Of course we'll ignore the stuff about Tom Daschle's Hollywood contributors (to whom he discussed the problem of runaway film production, an issue of pressing concern to South Dakotans) and the incredible amount of money he's raising from trial lawyers].

This is South Dakota's choice! [South Dakota's choice is a senator who votes right on the issues and brings home the bacon. That description does not fit Tom Daschle, who has a liberal voting record and didn't deliver on ethanol, and is currently holding up the omnibus spending bill which gives $46 million in federal money to South Dakota priorities.]

posted by Jason | 3:17 PM

Tuesday, January 06, 2004  

Sioux Falls radio talk-show host Greg Belfrage weighs in with commentary on Thune's decision.

posted by Jason | 3:17 PM

MORE ON THUNE: The Rocky Mountain News has a story headlined "Wadhams' next mission: Unseat Daschle." The article discusses Thune's role as a lobbyist, a topic the Daschle campaign will be loathe to touch for the reasons found HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Minnesota Public Radio also has a story headlined "John Thune challenges Daschle for U.S. Senate."

posted by Jason | 2:53 PM

SOUTH DAKOTA LEGAL NEWS UPDATE: The state Supreme Court has created a commission to examine whether bias exists in the South Dakota justice system, as the AP reports in a story headlined "Supreme Court forms commission to review possible discimination."

posted by Jason | 1:57 PM

ED SCHULTZ WATCH: The Bismarck Tribune carries an AP piece today headlined "Fargo broadcaster Ed Schultz begins national talk show." Excerpt:

Democratic lawmakers have pledged to raise money for the show, which is being marketed by Jones Radio and Democracy Radio. Sens. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., were among Schultz's first guests.

You can listen to the Ed Schultz Show via the show's website. You can access Democracy Radio's website HERE.

posted by Jason | 11:07 AM

THUNE VS. DASCHLE: John Thune announced his intention to oppose Tom Daschle last night, making it a big election year again in this state. Jeff Gannon, the DC resident expert on South Dakota politics, has an excellent piece today headlined "Thune to Challenge Daschle in '04" that includes a quote from Tom Daschle during his appearance on Ed Schultz's new talk show yesterday.

The New York Times has a report headlined "Former Representative to Challenge Daschle." The Washington Post has a report headlined "Ex-Rep. Thune to Challenge Daschle for Senate Seat." The Los Angeles Times has a piece headlined "Republicans Have an Answer to Daschle."

The Congressional Quarterly has a piece today headlined "Thune's Entry in South Dakota Gives Daschle a Real Race." Excerpt:

But Bill Richardson, chairman of the political science department at the University of South Dakota, said Thune will likely get a bump in the polls after he makes his candidacy official - and that Daschle should be posting more than a mere 6 points against a candidate who had not even declared, considering all of his advertisements and the public ppearances he has been making.

Richardson also predicted Thune will have no trouble raising money, because Republicans across the country will be eager to topple a leading GOP nemesis.

"The race will move to the absolute top of Republican races that must be won and all manner of resources and major public figures will appear on the scene in South Dakota," Richardson said.

Thune could turn energy overhaul legislation, currently hung up in the Senate, into a major campaign issue. The bill would benefit the state's ethanol producers and corn growers. Daschle voted in November to invoke cloture and limit debate on the final version, which contained a number of provisions opposed by environmentalists. But he did not aggressively seek more Democratic support and the vote failed.

UPDATE: Power Line's John Hinderaker has an analysis of the race.

posted by Jason | 10:54 AM

Monday, January 05, 2004  

The news is starting to break that John Thune has decided to challenge Tom Daschle, although it won't be official until his announcement tonight at the Lincoln County Lincoln Day Dinner at CJ Callaway's in Sioux Falls. The AP has a story headlined "Sources: Thune to challenge Senate Minority Leader Daschle" while CNN has a story headlined "Thune, take two?." UPI also has a story headlined "Thune to challenge Daschle in '04."

posted by Jason | 3:57 PM

ED SCHULTZ WATCH: Ed Schultz, the liberal answer to Rush Limbaugh, began his new nationally syndicated show today. His very first guest was none other than Senator Tom Daschle. The Boston Globe carries a story on the subject headlined "Left in the air? Liberals are working to make their voices heard on talk radio." Also, the Dallas Morning News has an interesting story headlined "Longtime listeners, first-time players: Dems find radio voice" (registration required).

posted by Jason | 3:46 PM

Sunday, January 04, 2004  

The AP is reporting that John Thune will make an announcement concerning his political career tomorrow night, in a piece headlined "Source: Thune political announcement Monday night." David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, reported this news today in a story headlined "Thune to announce his Senate decision Monday."

Fittingly, Argus Leader executive editor Randell Beck concedes today that convential wisdom holds the AL as "in bed with Tom Daschle."

posted by Jason | 2:47 PM

ED SCHULTZ WATCH: Ed Schultz, the liberal answer to Rush Limbaugh, begins his nationally syndicated show tomorrow afternoon. You can now access the show's website HERE.

posted by Jason | 1:04 PM
Ungarnered Praise
Talon News Series on Argus Leader Bias