Robi Kolden Pitches Husband’s Moderation to GOP Primary Voters

The following post is mostly academic. The outcome of the June 7 Republican District 3 House primary is immaterial, given that the general electorate will punish mediocrity and Trumpism by electing Democrats Nikki Bootz and Brooks Briscoe to the Legislature in November. Nonetheless….

Todd Kolden
Republican voters won’t be fooled by that red shirt

Republican candidate for District 3 House Todd Kolden enlists his wife Robi to write a letter to the editor promoting his candidacy. Mrs. Kolden continues the Mister’s tack of campaigning as a moderate, which is great if you’re running in the general but is suicide if you’re campaigning for votes of the diehard party animals who will show up for the Republican Party’s Trump affirmation in June.

Robi Kolden says all the wrong things about her husband for the right-wing keepers of the GOP flame:

He has the ability to listen to and process viewpoints that are not his own [Robi Kolden, letter to the editor, Aberdeen American News, 2016.05.06].

Robi Kolden here channels Democratic candidate for U.S. House Rep. Paula Hawks, who said at McGovern Day last weekend that South Dakota Democrats deliver more effective government because, to win elections, they have to demonstrate an ability to see all sides of an issue, rather than just coasting on their party label and waiting for the Governor or the NRA to tell them how to vote.

He truly cares about all people of South Dakota. He supports the rights of everyone, not just a select group who support potentially prejudicial or discriminatory beliefs [R. Kolden, 2016.05.06].

Again, Robi Kolden strikes the right chord for general election voters. But she’s pitching to a group of prejudicial Republicans who spent the last Legislative Session looking for new and needless ways to bully and discriminate against people they don’t like.

Robi Kolden cites the daylight between her husband and the hard right Republicans in the race, incumbent Rep. Dan Kaiser and Drew Dennert, as a reason to vote for him:

He was recently described as a lone wolf. I imagine that was because he has chosen not to align himself with other more conservative candidates. He is certainly not alone in the eyes of his friends, family, or in the eyes of those who know him here in Aberdeen.

…Todd Kolden is the Aberdeen Republican alternative to the ultra-conservative. Please give him your vote [R. Kolden, 2016.05.06].

Robi Kolden is right: not aligning oneself with more conservative candidates is a virtue. District 3 and South Dakota need an alternative to the ultra-conservative distractions that have embarrassed our state and birthed Trumpism. But the people who show up to vote in the Republican primary are not going to give us that alternative. They will demand alignment with conservative purity (unless, of course, you are a billionaire TV star who scratches the itch for Trumpist dumb-dumbism).

Robi and Todd are pitching practical moderation to Republican primary voters who view moderation as betrayal. Republican primary voters can twist the statement “I am personally against abortion” to mean the candidate is “pro-abortion.” Republican primary voters will look at praise for a Senator who crosses the aisle to get things done as an indication that the candidate can’t be trusted.

Robi, you are saying all the right things. You are saying them in the wrong election. And Todd, you’re running with the wrong party.

Bonus Prediction! June 7 GOP primary results for District 3 House:

  1. Rep. Dan Kaiser: 630 votes, 40.0%
  2. Drew Dennert: 590 votes, 37.5%
  3. Todd Kolden: 220 votes, 14.0%
  4. Voters marking only one candidate instead of two: 134, 8.5%.
  5. More than half of the voters choosing only one candidate will be Kolden voters who have the courage to reject Trumpism. Under a third will be Kaiser voters who think Dennert is too young to serve. The small remainder will be Dennert voters who will have nothing to do with Kolden’s moderation but quietly wonder why Kaiser is still running when he missed every day of the 2016 Session except for Veto Day.
  6. Voter turnout: 12% of District 3’s 6,559 Republicans.

10 Responses to Robi Kolden Pitches Husband’s Moderation to GOP Primary Voters

  1. mike from iowa

    Sure enough sounds like a Lib. His opponents are ogling him like a butcher studying a cuts chart.

    This guy’s wife makes him sound reasonable for that particular party.

  2. bearcreekbat

    “But she’s pitching to a group of prejudicial Republicans who spent the last Legislative Session looking for new and needless ways to bully and discriminate against people they don’t like.”

    This seems inaccurate. You are describing people in office, not voters. I suspect she is aiming at voters who are conservative on fiscal issues and have no desire to bully and discriminate against anyone. Unfortunately, many voters who identify as Republicans unwittingly support selfish and mean spirited candidates based on the label “Republican” without realizing their candidate will try to enact laws intended to bully and discriminate.

    The joy of the Trump campaign is that such obnoxious characteristics will come out of the shadows and, hopefully, wake up Republican voters, who in turn will begin to support candidates that share their more positive social values.

  3. mike from iowa

    Drumpf is a different breed of cat. Most people who file bankruptcy seem to be humbled and contrite. Drumpf proudly wears his debt ditching bankruptcies as a badge of honor.

    Most people file as a last resort. Not Drumpf. He seems like that woman wingnuts claim uses abortion as birth control-handy and convenient, for him.

  4. Bear, I’ll grant a portion of the point: not all Republicans who voted for Republican legislators in 2014, could have known those Republican legislators would spend so much of their time in Pierre spewing their uninformed bigotry. But Concerned Women for America and Family Heritage Alliance, for example, pushed the anti-transgender agenda last year and this year, and those organizations represent and rally a big portion of the GOP primary electorate.

  5. bearcreekbat

    The evidence might support that point Cory if we had a way to determine what percentage of South Dakota Republican voters are members of either of these organizations, or are even aware of these two organizations. I have not met any Republican voters (and most of my extended family and many friends are Republicans) that have ever mentioned either group. And I don’t recall any particular Republican candidate mentioning or extolling the virtues of either organization.

    And as you are aware, I am a registered Republican, which means I receive a ton of junk mail containing Republican propaganda and requests for money to support Republican candidates. Yet I don’t recall either organization being named in such mailings. My guess is that only a tiny percentage of SD Republican voters are aware of these two organizations, while a much larger percentage of SD Republican elected officials seem to fall under the thumbs of each organization after they are sworn in.

    And while there are some very positive ideas and some very offensive ideas in the official SD Republican platform, there is no mention of discrimination against transgenders. Indeed, the preamble, which apparently not many elected SD Republicans nor their voters have even read, provides: “The South Dakota Republican Party believes in equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, gender, age or ability.”

  6. Whew—maybe I’m grossly overestimating the influence of those two groups… which would bode well for my campaign. :-)

  7. Mr. Kolden seems saner than most candidates in that district. I would encourage your vote for him.

  8. owen reitzel

    The far right will label Mr. Kolden a RINO and a liberal Democrat like they do with Rounds, Daugaard and so on. Which of course is garbage.
    Being far right means pro gun-no matter what.
    Being far right means trying to end Obamacare with no plan to replace it.
    Being far right means small government-even though they want to tell a woman what to do with her body. Plus once the baby is born they want to cut welfare.
    Being far right means small government-even though they want the government in our bedrooms.
    Being far right means small government-even though they want to take the country to war against an enemy we can’t seem to find.
    Being far right means calling anybody who disagrees with you ignorant and stupid.

    From the outside Mr. Kolden sounds like a reasonable Republican.

  9. Mr. reitzel, you are righter than right. Why is it you never attended the breakfasts of the Conservatives with Common Sense when I was presiding?

  10. Maybe Donald Trump will tell all of his supporters to stay home on primary day and save the vote for the general election like he did in West Virginia