Hooray! South Dakota Farmers Union president Doug Sombke and Garret Bischoff, the man who challenged Sombke for the Farmers Union presidency last December in an election marked with controversy, have hugged and made up:
South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) President Doug Sombke (pictured left) met with Garret Bischoff in Huron this week to discuss a path forward to a stronger Farmers Union.
“I wanted to meet with Garret to discuss the future of Farmers Union. We had a very cordial and productive conversation and Garret told me he is not in the fight that has been reported in the media and he is not seeking a new election at this time. At the end of the meeting, Garret even asked for a hug,” said Sombke [“South Dakota Farmers Union Opponents Meet in Huron to Discuss Path Forward,” KWAT Radio, 2016.04.28].
Hug? Bischoff seems to recall the meeting with Sombke a little differently:
Bischoff says Sombke asked for the meeting and he agreed because he wanted to help workout some of the obvious issues. He told Sombke he wanted to take the feud out of the media, so it wouldn’t harm the organization. However, he never agreed to the news release from the South Dakota Farmers Union so it’s time to set the record straight.
Bischoff says he’s not the leader of the Save the Farmers Union Coalition but he says their concerns about the integrity of the election are valid and need to be worked out. He says there is proof to back the claims of election tampering [Michelle Rook, “Farm Group Presidential Candidate Disputes Conceding Election,” WNAX Radio, 2016.04.29].
If they can’t agree on the content of a simple conversation, Farmers Union and the folks challenging its leadership are going to have a hard time settling their larger dispute.