Richard Winger of Ballot Access News reports that the South Dakota Constitution Party nominated two candidates at its convention Saturday*: one for U.S. Senate and one for Legislature. A source tells me the Legislative candidate will be running for State House. Both of these nominations are extralegal and depend on Judge Karen Schreier ruling in favor of the Constitution and Libertarian parties in their lawsuit against the state’s ballot access laws for new parties.
That’s a frail nail on which to hang one’s ballot hopes. Those conditional nominations also miss the opportunity the Constitution Party had to legally place a candidate on the ballot for Public Utilities Commission without having to win a court case. Even if PUC isn’t as fun as Senate or Legislature, it’s still the Constitution Party’s guaranteed shot at a place on the ballot and a place on the podia alongside Republican Commissioner Chris Nelson and Democratic challenger Henry Red Cloud in the candidate debates this fall.
The Constitution Party (whose members, for my convenience, may be adopting the noun Constitutionists… which still sticks them with the official abbreviate CON) is also missing the chance for some immediate publicity. Their official blog says nothing about their convention. The press hasn’t received any releases. And as of this writing, the two nominees have not made any public declaration. Even if these nominations are conditional, the candidates should be hitting the airwaves, publicizing their party’s vote of confidence in them and their desire to get on the ballot. Publicity may not win the court case on which their candidacies hinge, but publicity will get people interested in those candidates and the alternative the Constitution Party offers to amoral and ill-educated Trumpism (and hey, Constitutionists—you pride yourselves on moral principles and intelligent reading of the Constitution, right?). Publicity could also motivate some donations to the candidates and to the party to cover the legal costs of winning the court fight to gain ballot access.
*Update 2016.12.22 16:40 CST: When I wrote this article on July 11, Winger’s article read, “Nevertheless, on June 9, the Constitution Party did hold its state convention and it did nominate a candidate for U.S. Senate and one for the legislature.” Winger has since revised his post to read, “…it did nominate a potential [emphasis mine] candidate for U.S. Senate and one for the legislature.”