Based on responses from 587 likely South Dakota voters, Nielson Brothers Polling reports that Donald Trump will beat Hillary Clinton in our fair state 49% to 35%. However, if that Sioux Falls paper’s sampling of 68 Legislative candidates is any indication, Republican candidates are far less enthusiastic about declaring for Trump than Democratic candidates are for Clinton.
Paging through the fourteen southeast South Dakota districts from which Joe Sneve compiles responses, I find that, when asked, “Who do you plan to vote for in the presidential election and why?” 31 out of the 34 Democratic Legislative candidates said “Hillary Clinton.” Only three dodged the question: Shane Merrill from District 17 said he’s still waiting to watch the debates (hey, Shane! Watch the first, second, and third debates online!); Dan Ahlers of District 25 says he doesn’t endorse candidates; David Haagenson of District 25 at least says he’s not voting for Trump.
Meanwhile, only twelve of the 32 Republican Legislative candidates covered in Sneve’s series said “Donald Trump.” Five Republicans milk their toast by saying they will support their party’s nominee (one of them, Rep. Jim Bolin, invoked a bumper sticker that says “America’s Chances: With Trump – 50 percent; With Hillary – 0 percent”). Fourteen fully dodged the question, among them Senator Deb Soholt from District 14, who said, “I have no idea what to do when I find myself not supporting any of the candidates.” The only explicit Trump repudiator is Rep. Isaac “Facepalm” Latterell, who says he will vote third party or write in a name and, in his ongoing bid for the Mr. Irrelevancy Prize, calls again for an Article V Convention to solve all of our problems.
Clinton may not win South Dakota, but at least our nominee doesn’t make a majority of our leaders ashamed to declare that we publicly support her.