An eager reader composes this unpleasant scenario by which the Aberdeen City Council could trigger gubernatorial meddling in the District 3 Senate and House races:
Does it scare you that if David [Novstrup] sits on the city council, he will resign his seat as the senator of dist 3, to which the governor will appoint his replacement? Would he choose Al Novstrup as his replacement and then in turn place Drew Dennert as Al’s replacement? It would put an already uphill battle for the democrats in D3 even harder against all “incumbents” [DR, comment, Dakota Free Press, 2016.07.26].
David out, Al to Senate, Drew to House—interesting! The Governor wouldn’t really have to appoint anyone if the city gives David an excuse to vacate his seat early: Senator David Novstrup is only on one interim committee, and he’s sure not doing much there. Rep. Al Novstrup isn’t on any interim committees, so if he did get moved up to his son’s vacated seat, filling Al’s slot would be even less imperative.
I would gamely suggest that, given a city-induced Senate vacancy, Governor Daugaard might be just as inclined to pick me for District 3. The Governor knows Al Novstrup has squishily resisted his big remaining policy priority, Medicaid expansion. He knows I’m ready to beat back Republican baloney and support the human, economic, and fiscal benefits of Medicaid expansion at a moment’s notice. The Governor might be inclined to give a Medicaid-expansion backer like me the nod to scare other GOP candidates around the state into toeing his line on his policy priorities.
And the last thing the Aberdeen City Council would want to is be responsible for making a blogger a Senator.
Or maybe Governor Daugaard knows I can beat Al on my own, without any brief burst of publicity and incumbency, no matter what seat Al occupies. Maybe the Governor would still move Al from House to Senate but then appoint one of my Democratic ticketmates, either Nikki Bootz or Brooks Briscoe, to the House seat before the election. I’m pretty sure either of them would be more likely to back the Governor on Medicaid expansion (not to mention support for K-12 education and other practical policy) than their opponents, Rep. Dan Kaiser and young ultra-conservative Drew Dennert.
Either way, appointing a sitting Senator to Aberdeen’s vacant council seat appears to be a political minefield. That’s one more reason the non-partisan Aberdeen City Council should look to its other, less political and less conflicted applicants to join the city’s decision-makers.