In our first and possibly only head-to-head candidate forum on September 24, Al Novstrup and I (along with our House ticketmates) faced a question about campaign finance reform “as being spearheaded by Shantel Krebs.” Novstrup, the seven-term legislators, offered this seven-second response:
That came out within the last day or two, and I read the headline. I just can’t comment on it with having just read the headline [Rep. Al Novstrup, candidate forum, Aberdeen, South Dakota, 2016.09.24].
Last day or two? I hope Al counts campaign contributions more accurately than he counts days. Bob Mercer’s story on Secretary Krebs’s ideas about campaign finance reform hit the papers on September 6, eighteen days before the September 24 forum. Al had eighteen days not just to read the headline but show the curiosity to read an article about an issue of keen interest to all political candidates.
O.K., let’s turn to the rookie Legislative candidate. If Novstrup can’t comment on campaign finance reform, what can Heidelberger know? (Note: House candidates Rep. Dan Kaiser and Nikki Bootz spoke between Al and me; neither expressed knowledge of the Krebs proposal.)
I didn’t know this question was coming. However, I was ready to answer it, because I blogged about the Mercer article and the Krebs campaign finance reform discussion on September 7. Plus, having read and frequently discussed all ten ballot measures, I was ready to compare what Krebs is talking about with Initiated Measure 22, the Anti-Corruption Act, which gives voters the chance to reform campaign finance right away this fall.
Political candidates have a duty to be informed and to inform the voters. At our forum, on this question, I was able to do that duty. My opponent was not.