Prairie Country PAC is fighting civil society, or the Civil War, or something:
Our values, rights, and way of life are right in the crosshairs of a left leaning press and an ever increasing liberalized Democrat state party. We need to stand united to defeat common core, stop any new tax hikes, and stand up to a Federal Government ever so keen on violating State’s rights [Rich Hilgemann, campaign fundraising e-mail, Prairie Country PAC, 2015.07.01].
Stop this, stop that—does this Aberdeen-based PAC have any positive governing agenda?
We also need to stop playing defense on the 2nd Amendment. Let’s start expanding YOUR gun rights! You shouldn’t be taxed for exercising a constitutional right. Let’s pass “permitless” or constitutional carry in this state like many others already have [Hilgemann, 2015.07.01].
Heck yeah, more guns! If there’s anything that will help us pay teachers, recruit workers, clean up lakes and streams, and protect land rights from foreigners using eminent domain, its more guns!
Prairie Country PAC claims credit for orchestrating District 3 legislative candidate Burt Elliott’s defeat, although they speak of their victory with odd obliqueness:
Last year Prairie Country PAC was a liberal Democrat’s worst nightmare, we exposed his liberal record and explained to voters why he was wrong for South Dakota. Against all odds we handed this liberal politician his first ever electoral loss!
…P.S. Last year Prairie Country PAC helped defeat a liberal Democrat ensuring victory for a conservative hero in the legislature [Hilgemann, 2015.07.01].
Prairie Country PAC keeps using that word liberal. I do not think it means what they think it means. Review PC PAC treasurer Ken Santema’s account of a District 3 candidate forum, and the only arguably “liberal” positions you hear Elliott staking out are Medicaid expansion (which Santema somewhat agrees Republicans are opposing purely for partisan reasons) and higher user fees for road repairs (which the Republican Legislature went on to pass in the 2015 session).
Burt Elliott represented a somewhat less gerrymandered District 3 from 2001 to 2008. As I review the bills he prime-sponsored, I’m not finding a raging liberal agenda:
- 2008: HB 1158 sought to exempt certain schools from consolidation requirements.
- 2007: SB 114 sought to loosen the rules on the address petition signers must write on petitions (mostly to help nursing home residents, college students, and little old ladies who prefer to be known as “Mrs. John Smith”). SB 203 sought to move more state money into K-12 education without raising taxes. A couple other bills tried to appropriate attorney’s fees to compensate an unjustly fired state worker.
- 2006: Elliott successfully pushed HB 1178 to create trusts for taking care of animals. He also wanted to allow judges to terminate support payments for divorcees who start shacking up or get pregnant by new partners and rename Lake Henry Dam (which would only have been liberal if he had proposed a Lakota name).
- 2005: Elliott proposed both the animal trusts and the divorce-support rules.
- 2004: Elliott quite conservatively tried to check Governor Mike Rounds’s liberal spending with HB 1115, which would have capped increases in state spending. He also proposed funding the mentor teachers program and bonuses for veterans of the global war on terror and other recent conflicts (which would include PC PACker Hilgemann!), although he proposed no new taxes to fund those plans.
- 2003: Ah! This must be the raging liberal year Hilgemann is talking about: Elliott proposed including photos and raising fees on concealed pistol permits, plus taking away the sales-tax exemption for advertising. Elliott tried to give tax refunds (conservative?) to promote wind power (liberal?), raise K-12 funding (liberal), and prohibit insurers from owning auto repair businesses (regulation of business… yeah, probably liberal, because outfits like Prairie Country PAC are anarcho-capitalist tools of the corporate colonizers).
- 2002: SB 89 empowered school boards to directly refer excess property tax levies (“opt-outs”) to a public vote. In a way, you could argue that’s a conservative check on the power of school board liberals to raise taxes. SB 100 sought to jigger the K-12 funding formula to keep a little more money in the per-student allocation. SB 100 did not ask for increased taxes.
- 2001: SB 96 would have lowered the capitalization rate used in determining agricultural income value from 8% to 5%. Hmmm… that sounds like a way to lower property taxes.
Prairie Country PAC isn’t really looking at Burt Elliott’s political positions or legislative record in this fundraising pitch any more than they did with their hit pieces in 2014. They’re just blowing the dog whistle, much like fellow conservative Rushmore PAC.
Unlike Rushmore PAC, Prairie Country PAC at least isn’t blatantly lying about its effectiveness. Whereas Rushmore PAC claims as victory a win by an unopposed and mostly silent city council candidate, Prairie Country PAC mixed it up in a real campaign. Prairie Country PAC funneled $4,521.22 from the Brown County Republicans and $3,392.00 from the fringe-right South Dakota Gun Owners plus a smattering of individual donations into hit pieces on Democratic legislative candidate Burt Elliott and his questionable residency status.
Given their concern for electoral and fiscal integrity, I would expect Prairie Country PAC to next crusade against the out-of-state liberal invaders who have used their bogus claims of residency in Meade County to create a town and usurp the power to impose new taxes on everyone at the Buffalo Chip campground.
But I get the impression that Prairie Country PAC is less concerned about such principled political stands and intelligent discussion of real policy impacts and more concerned about simply throwing meaningless labels to forward the SDGOP’s “politics” of personal attack and power preservation. Alas for the Republic and Republicans alike….