Bob Mercer notes that the South Dakota Education Association is giving money to Republicans who supported the half-penny sales tax for teacher pay this year.
The South Dakota Educators Political Involvement Committee, SDEA’s PAC, reports five independent expenditures in the form of direct mail for Rapid City Republicans.
Haverly, Partridge, Rampelberg, Sly, and Solano all voted for House Bill 1182 this Session. Sly co-chaired the Blue Ribbon K-12 task force that came up with the plan; Sly also offered the last-minute House floor amendment to the new K-12 funding formula (Senate Bill 131) that knocked about $6 million off the amount the state would put toward teacher pay in schools with declining enrollments. All five of these Republican recipients of SDEA’s support face GOP primary challenges from hard right-wingers—Bob Mercer labels them “ultras”—who are whacking SDEA’s favorites for supporting the biggest tax increase in state history.
SDEA/EPIC’s pre-primary report listed direct contributions to the above five Republicans and several other candidates:
|Name of Candidate or Committee (candidates ordered by District)||Amount|
|South Dakota Republican Party||$750|
|The Majority Project||$750|
|South Dakota Democratic Party||$1,000|
|Tidemann for State Senate||$1,000|
|Peters for State Senate||$1,500|
|Willadsen for State House||$500|
|Holmes for State House||$500|
|Zikmund for State House||$500|
|Kirschman for State Senate||$500|
|Peterson for State House||$500|
|Schoenfish for State House||$500|
|Rampelberg for State Senate||$1,500|
|Johns for State House||$500|
|Conzet for State House||$500|
|Solano for State Senate||$1,000|
|Sly for State Senate||$1,500|
|Partridge for State Senate||$1,000|
|Haverly for State Senate||$1,500|
|Werner for State House||$500|
SDEA essentially cancelled out the $750 it gave to the South Dakota Republican Party with the $750 it gave to The Majority Project, the South Dakota Democratic Party’s PAC.
The only Democratic candidate on SDEA/EPIC’s list is Rep. Patrick Kirschman, who voted for this year’s teacher pay plan and now is running for the District 15 Senate seat against fellow Democrat Dr. Reynold Nesiba.
If SDEA’s fifteen Republican primary picks prevail on Tuesday, thirteen of them (all except Senator Haverly and Rep. Werner) will face Democratic challengers in the November election. In that scenario, would SDEA continue to support conservative incumbents who have been part of a Republican caucus that resisted teacher pay increases and let South Dakota teacher pay languish in the national cellar for thirty years, or would SDEA swing to support new Democratic legislators who will more reliably protect and enhance the progress we finally made this year on teacher pay?
p.s.: I ask the above question with a keen sense of self-interest. Republican Rep. Al Novstrup is running for the District 3 Senate seat. He voted for HB 1182 and SB 131. He faces a Democratic challenger—me—who advocated raising South Dakota teacher pay to more regionally competitive levels with a less regressive tax plan and no assumed or coerced staff reductions.