SD Dems Exec Starts in August; Party Loses Staffer to Hawks House Campaign

Sioux Falls Drinking Liberally (which proudly sponsors this blog) offers some news on the status of the long-awaited new executive director for the South Dakota Democratic Party:

And speaking of needing a lot of help, the South Dakota Democratic Party held an E-Board and State Central Committee meeting in Antelope (South Dakota) last week. It was announced that the new, still secret-secret Executive Director will start in the first part of August. The group was informed she (it is a woman it was also revealed) will speak at a Sioux Falls organization August 7th [Sheldon Osborn, “Harry Vardon. The SD Democratic Party. Tonight. Drinking Liberally,” Drinking Liberally Sioux Falls blog, 2015.07.24].

The SDDP has been operating without a full-time exec since the end of 2014, when former exec Zach Crago stepped down. Even without an exec, the State Dems managed to provide invaluable support to two referendum petition drives. Imagine what they can do at full strength.

Alas, the SDDP will need to do some more hiring. Drinking Liberally also gets word that Paula Hawks is serious enough about her campaign to unseat Kristi Noem that she’s hiring campaign staff, and her first big catch is the SDDP’s current interim exec:

In addition, the current State Chair, Ann Tornberg, announced that the current interim Executive Director, Zack Nistler, has resigned and will begin working for Paula Hawks’s yet to be announced campaign for the US House seat currently held by Kristi Noem. The fact Paula will employ the Democratic State Party’s former Interim Executive Director, increases the odds she will run, initially, as a Democrat [Osborn, 2015.07.24].

A guy doesn’t leave a good job for a campaign that’s not happening. Looks like Hawks v. Noem is on!

16 Responses to SD Dems Exec Starts in August; Party Loses Staffer to Hawks House Campaign

  1. I sense snark in the comment by Osborn, “she will run, initially, as a Democrat.”

  2. Nick Nemec

    What’s Sheldon Osborn’s beef with Paula Hawks? Is he administering some sort of purity test that only he knows the qualifications?

  3. Paula ran as a “team” with 2 other Republicans leaving the other democrat in the race high and dry. Many democrats did work for Paula and are very upset she threw her fellow dem under the bus. But I guess you do whatever it takes to win even if you screw a fellow dem.

  4. Is it ethical for a judicial employee to apply and take a job as ED of a political party while still employed by the judiciary ? Is it smart for a state chair to announce it at an E Board meeting?


    Pp has one of the postcards that explains it all

  6. John refers to Sheldon Osborn’s regular mentions of this DWC post in his own posts about Hawks:

    If Sheldon has a real beef, he should be ready with a back-up candidate to primary Hawks. If there is no such candidate, I strongly recommend we get behind Hawks.

  7. Porter Lansing

    IF NOT NOEM …. when?
    New Pew Poll Adds To Republican Party’s Woes
    The latest numbers are in – and they show that the GOP has lost a quarter of its popularity in just over half a year. If the trend continues in a linear manner, the party’s popularity will be around 6% on election day.

  8. Hopefully Hawk is ready to get down and dirty

  9. See? Look at Porter’s numbers. They aren’t South Dakota-specific, but they’ve got to have some overlap here. Noem and Thune are ripe for the picking. If the right Dem jumps in to team with Hawks and run hard as Democrats not as GOP-Lite, we can win in 2016.

  10. Cory,

    You are actually right! Let us not repeat 2010! We must run someone against Thune in 2016. And let us not allow Hawks credible potential in a US House race prevent us from running someone against Thune as well.

    Although, Hawks candidacy and potential win could alone be a great beach front for the future of Democrats in South Dakota, I believe from the standpoint of boosting morale, keeping the Republicans busy, and helping to get our message out it is imperative we attack the GOP with two or more fronts and not just one…. A preoccupied Thune is a Thune who does not have the time to help Noem…. It is that simple.

    Now back to Hawks and the postcard controversy from 2012. Personally, I found that stunt repugnant as a Democrat and I hope it does not speak to the further Machiavellian capabilities of some of my fellow Democrats which could also lead them to think they can help Hawks more by not running someone against Thune in 2016…. Such concerns bring 2010 “deja vu” to the forefront…. and an inevitable 2010 failure once again do to the pure emptiness of our political soul, our political presence and relevance….

    I also ask, is this controversy concerning Hawks and postcards because she is a woman? I hope not. I see a pattern here, however. Hawks and Sandlin who happen to be women are being challenged because of a postcard they once sent or a vote against the ACA, but Daschle and Johnson both men have never been asked respective fully to explain their support for Kemp-Roth (Daschle) or the Bush tax cuts (Johnson), which have been far more destructive to the Democratic agenda over the last 30 years than a trivial postcard or a “No” vote on the ACA which was part of a failed minority vote.

  11. “exactly” ;-)

  12. Winston, I’ll note that my willingness to entertain Kevin Weiland’s primary challenge in 2010 stemmed from her vote with the minority on the ACA. I also dinged her (and Tim Johnson) for opposing credit card reform. SHS’s Blue-Doggery also led her to vote wrong on student loan reform and environmental regs. We had a number of disagreements… but when Kevin Weiland backed out, I made SHS my gal through the 2010 election.

    Now, who are the meatheads promoting the idea that Hawks might do better without a Senate ticketmate? That, of course, is wrong for many reasons. Let’s look just at the calculus playing out in this discussion. Apparently there are some grudge holders who will sit on their hands instead of voting Noem out, all because of a tactical postcard. They and some other Democrats may need a little more enticement to come vote. So we give them a rock-’em-sock-’em Senate candidate. Those folks get off their seats to come vote Thune out of office, then look down their ballot, see Hawks’s name, and say, “Well, I came to town to vote, I might as well mark two Dems while I’m here.”

    Is there any scenario under which a voter would say, “Well, I would have voted for Hawks, but now there’s this new SOB running against Thune, so I won’t vote for either of those Democrats”?

  13. Cory,

    To your last question, I don’t think there is any plausible scenario, but some subscribe to what I call the “starvation theory” where there is a school of thought that swing voters are more willing to vote for a Democrat in a potentially tight race if they have already been denied a two man race in any substantial race (like a US Senate bid) listed above the competitive race on the ballot. I don’t buy the theory, but it is the only way I can logically explain what happen in 2010 as a political bystander.

    Furthermore, it is not about the postcard it is about political choice on the ballot that will make a credible House candidate more electable. Most voters will never know or care about the postcard, but vacancy on the ballot does affect a partisan brand-name.

    Together as progressives and Democrats let us make sure we have not only a good and credible House candidate, but also a “bulldog” (not a “Blue dog”) running against Thune to keep him busy.

  14. “Starvation theory” sounds like baloney. I invite a proponent to offer an empirical example. We make the race tight by giving Hawks a teammate to amplify the message that our GOP incumbents do nothing.

    I agree, the postcard is inside baseball, known only to a few. If those few want to agitate for a primary challenger, I say rock on, but if any District 9 voters would either sit out or vote for Noem over Hawks in the general, their priorities need some adjustment.

    Bull dog, not Blue Dog—I like that. Of course, that slogan would suggest we should get Hawks a partner from Madison or Milbank. Rick Weiland again? Travis Dahle?

  15. Deb Geelsdottir

    The post card thing may be known to insiders only, but that won’t last. If Republicans think it will help them, they’ll make sure everyone knows some there is some kind of nefarious Postcard Scandal. They’ll be sure to make it sound much worse than reality to make the Democratic candidate seem dangerous and untrustworthy.

    (I never heard of this postcard thing before this.)

  16. Cory you may wish to post the job ads for the SDDP HQ since they lost another full-time staffer and have a total of 3 full-time openings. That’s not a good sign and further hurts momentum with organizing and being a resource for support in the upcoming 2016 election cycle.