Lieutenant Governor Matt Michels is thinking about running for Governor. The Yankton Republican tells his local paper he’s setting himself a two-month deadline to decide:
“I need to make a decision in two months, maybe within a month,” he told the Press & Dakotan. “I don’t like making a decision 2 1/2 years ahead of the election, but that’s just the way it is.”
Michels cited two major factors forcing an early decision: the process of organizing a campaign, and other candidates already positioning themselves for a gubernatorial run [Randy Dockendorf, “Race Against the Clock,” Yankton Press & Dakotan, 2016.04.20].
I don’t like the idea of having to decide to run in the 2018 election before the 2016 election has taken place. I hark back to 2010, when Kristi Noem didn’t declare her candidacy for U.S. House until the second half of February, just a month before the petition deadline. She managed to raise the money and votes necessary to beat her already-declared GOP primary challengers Chris Nelson and R. Blake Curd as well as incumbent Democrat Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.
Of course, the biggest factor weighing on Michels may be whether he is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to run for Governor: shaving that mighty mustache. My quick search finds that we haven’t had a good mustache in the big chair since Peter Norbeck.* But remember, Matt: Chris Nelson shaved his manly ‘stache for his 2010 House run, and that got him second place. Second place.
Think about it, Matt: against Noem, Marty Jackley, and G. Mark Mickelson, whiskers would distinguish you in the electoral marketplace. Don’t lose your edge. Be Norbeck. Be Teddy Roosevelt. Be the walrus. Lock down the latent Branstad mustache vote and build from there!
*Update 2016.04.22 15:56 CDT: A shy reader hits the books and corrects me: our last mustachioed governor appears to be Wisconson-born, Watertown HS grad, Hazel farmer Warren E. Green, who served one term from 1931 to 1933. Green finished fifth in a five-person GOP primary in 1930, but because no one got 35% of the vote, the nomination went to the convention, and the GOP picked Green as a compromise candidate on the twelfth ballot. Note that neither Matt Michels nor any other candidate could pull off such a worst-to-first trick today: if no primary candidate gets 35% of the vote, we pit the two top vote-getters against each other in a run-off ten weeks after the primary. This rule applies only for Governor, U.S. House, and U.S. Senate candidates.
Also cool: Green married a woman whose last name was Parliament.