Huether Abandons Democratic Party; No Word on 2018 Intentions

Sioux Falls mayor Mike Huether called a press conference this afternoon to announce that he is leaving the Democratic Party and registering independent. According to reporter Patrick Anderson’s live Tweets from the sparsely attended event, Mayor Huether is heading to the courthouse right after the press conference to change his voter registration.

According to Anderson, Mayor Huether said, ‘There is a hunger for change,” but national-level Democrats are not responding to that hunger. “Party labels do not drive me,” said the mayor. Whether his new independent voter registration is part of a drive toward higher office remains unknown; Mayor Huether declined to say whether he is running for Governor or anything else in 2018.

But take note, South Dakota Democrats: one of the few prominent public figures mentioned as a possible Democratic contender to replace Dennis Daugaard has signaled to our voters that the Democratic brand isn’t worth sticking with.

57 Responses to Huether Abandons Democratic Party; No Word on 2018 Intentions

  1. He praised Thune, Daugaard and Janklow, and took a shot at Pelosi. His change thing appears to apply only to Democrats.

  2. Greg Deplorable

    Press conference of 3 people the way it looked.

  3. I have been registered as a Democrat all my life but by the 2018 election I will be registered as a Republican or Independent. I am okay with the national Democratic party but the South Dakota Democratic party is disgrace. If you don’t do the work, you can’t earn the position.

  4. Greg, I saw three reporters in KSFY Kelley Smith’s Tweet-pic. Since I assume she was taking the picture, let’s say four in attendance.

    Monty, I do wonder what change Huether thought he was voting for when he voted for Thune. He did say that he also voted for Amendment V. I wonder: maybe he’s gotten the signal that Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is going to run and he was afraid that he couldn’t beat her in a Democratic primary, so he is going indy and trying to further undermine the Democratic brand before SHS announces.

  5. mike from iowa

    When the national call to change is for fascism, I say a resounding are you nuts? Rhetorically, of course, These people are certifiably insane.

  6. Porter Lansing

    Unaffiliated may be the way to go for an aspiring SoDak candidate.

  7. As Bernie Sanders, and Barack Obama before him, have shown us, there is a significant craving for change out there. Dems nationally are ignoring it. Re-electing Pelosi is proof that they didn’t learn anything from 2016. And they are still making excuses for Clinton too. Nationally, the Democrat brand IS diminished. And at the state level, Dems haven’t been relevant since SHS lost her seat in 2010. As a left leaning Independent voter, Mr. Huether has my attention. Don’t know much about him, but suddenly interested in learning. Not much to do between now and 2018 anyway except wait and see what happens next.

  8. IMHO: I have not heard that SHS has an interest in campaigning hard for a couple of years to win a seat that comes with a big pay cut and a move to a remote Capitol with poor air service.

    When Huether first ran for Mayor being a D was an advantage as the race included R’s Staggers, Costello, and Peterson. It’s not an advantage going in to the 2018 cycle so he wants to shed the label.

    His Republican shout-out today was similar to the paid advertising he ran in the first mayoral run-off thanking all the candidates who didn’t make the cut as a way of flirting with their supporters.

  9. Charlie Johnson

    So much for his hooray talk at the McGovern Day Dinner in April of 2015 .

  10. I am getting ready to throw my hat in.

  11. Political parties don’t really mean much anymore anyway.

  12. Porter Lansing

    LS … If you look up white privileged horses ass in Webster’s there’s a photo of Huether pointing at another photo of Huether. (Refer to his recent coffee shop rant on South DaCola blog).

  13. mike from iowa

    South Dakota wingnuts, if you can’t beat them, kiss their ass and become them.

  14. Richard Schriever

    LS – Huether is NOT left-leaning.
    He is a ways-of-the-1% trickle-down supporter all the way.

  15. Maybe he wanted to spend more time with his family. Now, lets change the way things are done. How about something like the DFL in Minnesota?

  16. Don Coyote

    Hooo boy! The Democrat’s bench keeps getting thinner and thinner. Too bad for the cash short Dems as Heuther has enough coin to self fund any future race and as an Independent he’ll be tough competition for the Indie vote.

  17. LS: what change has Huether promised that attracts your attention?

  18. Charlie, indeed, and ditto the talk he gave at this year’s McGovern Day. Perhaps we should have the 2017 McGovern Day events in Mitchell, McGovern’s hometown.

    Don Coyote, I’m not convinced Huether was ever on the Dem bench.

  19. Moses, I welcome your hat.

    Monty, nor have I heard anything along those lines. Is it possible that Huether is willing to make that move while SHS is not?

  20. Huether against the working class labors.Low wages thousands of jobs wait for you right.All ten bucks an hour how do you feed a family on 400 a
    week with out aid and wic and food stamps.

  21. The present national and state debacles are bigger than HRC, bigger than Huether.
    They resonate to the core of the republic, as Benjamin Franklin quipped, if we can keep it.

    The first danger is not from our enemies, but from the uncaring of our friends. ‘The biggest problem in the 1930s Germany was not what the enemies of democracy and / or minorities did, but what their friends did. What the German judges did. What the German civil servants did. What the German ‘Christians ‘ did.’

    The second danger may well be co-opting our enemies as our friends. As Trump, his lieutenants, and too many republicans are now true believers in Putin.

    Human social progress, human social evolution is not ordained. It is not a straight-line. Greece was once a republic before it stalled. Rome was a republic before an empire, then a dictatorship, then mired for a 1,000 years in the morass of the Middle Ages.

    Be concerned. Be engaged.

  22. A couple of considerations: Huether’s peak earning years are behind him. He’s basically retired, right? His daughter is an adult. He’s not stepping away from career and family opportunities like SHS would be doing. She has a young son and her peak earning years are ahead of her.

  23. Who now is the highest ranking Democrat officeholder? Mayor of Polo?

  24. Yes, he is the standard bearer and a helluva lot more honest than your boss Daugaard or whoever runs the circus where you are.

  25. Huether is right about the re-election of almost 77 year old Nancy Pelosi as Dem. Leader in the House. Just when we need some fresh leadership we send back the same old same old – literally.

    Like Huether I’m kind of a fiscal conservative and social libertarian. To me fiscal conservative means paying bills rather than passing debt down to the grandkids like the GOP Party always does. Huether has done a pretty good job as mayor of Sioux Falls. With the SD Democratic Party burned down to the foundation, he’ll do better running for congress as an independent in 2018. It may be just the right time for him to make that move.

  26. Or more independents getting in tu run also.

  27. Darin Larson

    Troy, who is the highest ranking Republican officeholder? Oh that’s right, he’s a philandering narcissist and a compulsive liar with a penchant for grabbing crotches without regrets and with a feeling of entitlement and who knows little about our Constitution, the Geneva Convention, NATO or how to run a business without screwing other people or declaring bankruptcy.

    I’d take the mayor of Polo or Timbuktu for that matter any day over the Trumpster. How long do you suppose it will be before he is impeached? Can he pardon himself or will Pence have to play Gerald Ford to his Nixon?

  28. Oh Darin, don’t go to hard on the Trump supporters. I heard the rumor that if you stand by him he will send you a nude photo of the First Lady that she took when she was working for Doanld in America illegally and that the Donald encouraged her to do it and thought the picture was great!

    Please GOP readers, walk me off this ledge of thinking that up is down and that the GOP is no longer the party of values. Lee, Troy, Fred, MC, etc. Tell me how Trump’s proven values represent South Dakotans! Grabbing some p***y is not an acceptable answer. Maybe you can point me to a non-tv preacher cleric who is supportive of the Donald’s lifestyle.

    Oh yeah, Lee, Troy, Fred, MC, etc. your silence on Trumps ethics are tacit approval of the man who will be the moral compass for these United States of America. Wait…What?!?! you already got your autographed photo?!?

  29. Mike Kokenge

    Rorschach….very curious about your post. Please…elaborate.

  30. Jana, We’re in a post-truth world now. Up is down, Jana. Bad values are actually good values – according to Trump supporters. The Russians are our ally now. The CIA can’t be trusted to look after American national interests. Trump knows better than the stupid generals – except the ones he appointed to his cabinet – and he knows better than them too. He won the popular vote after all. Hillary Clinton is behind a sex ring run out of a DC pizza parlor – which is true until someone proves otherwise.

    Republicans are all supposed to go along with all of this BS. Don’t expect them to go against Dear Leader – he’s watching and taking names. I wonder why Matt Michels sent Pam Roberts in his place to cast his electoral vote? Scheduling conflict indeed …

  31. Richard Schriever

    Roschach – Huether is not a fiscal conservative. He is a borrow and spend Reaganite trickle-downer.

  32. Why wouldn’t Huether switch to another party. Look what happened to Paula Hawks, she was a great candidate that was surrounded by the weak Senate candidate. Huether, switching to an independent is probably his best chance of winning the Governors seat or a house seat.

  33. Jeff Barth

    Think 1984. We have always been at war with Oceania just ask the Ministry of Truth.

  34. I saw the video at Vermillion regarding the listening tour. A great idea with no listeners or very few. The brand really cannot say much about anything if the message is not listened to. Why not broaden the coalition to involve the independents like Huether? Put them in charge of the place so we can move forward instead of play acting. The brand is good, the delivery bad. Time to put this brand out to pasture and get some new bulls.

  35. Cory — As a West River-ite, I honestly don’t know the first thing about the guy. I just liked what he said. I don’t have faith in either party anymore. Many folks don’t. I don’t know any specifics about Huether yet. But his words yesterday caught my attention. Enough so that I will keep listening while also doing my own info gathering. How long he keeps my attention remains to be seen.

  36. Regarding Pelosi, yep, she is an old gal for sure. She is also a smart one that understands the ways of the House. Tim Ryan, a young feller who by that virtue alone, would have run into a brick wall in dealing with Trump. I think that she can help to thwart the onslaught of stupid that we will see coming up very soon.

  37. mike from iowa

    Why not switch? Wingnuts are now Russian/American Communists. Their new leader Vlad has higher ratings than current American Potus Obama.

  38. mike from iowa

    Wingnuts rejoice. From here on out (until I decide a change is gonna come) I will no longer belittle you as wingnuts, you are officially known as RAC-Russian American Commies.

    Independents that swing with wingnuts will be IRACS.

  39. Good riddance.

  40. Huether will be running for governor and knows that if you want to play in Pierre you best drop the democrat label.
    So being an Independent will be a better at getting you into the club. next thing you know he’ll be grabbin’ a gun and shooting some roosters.

  41. Someone better tell Huether that you better get a gun, some boots, a boat and don’t forget the fiddle for the band if he plans to play in Pierre.

  42. mike from iowa

    Come on, Jenny, don’t encourage these people to shoot birds of color. The white dove of peace, ordinary chickens and pen raised white turkeys would fit their bill better. Be hard to accuse them of racism if their shooting victims are all white. Besides, red blood on a white background sure stands out.

  43. Robert McTaggart

    Could it be that the governor’s race becomes more of a West River (Noem) vs. East River (Huether) contest as opposed to Republican vs. Democrat?

  44. ronald fuchs

    he may have the angle- he wants to be governor- don’t run as a democrat !!!!

  45. If he had been an independent for the last ten years, that would be one thing. But I’m not sure who he thinks he’s fooling now.

    Republicans aren’t going to let voters forget that he has been a prominent Democrat who has spoken at McGovern Day, introduced Bill Clinton, etc. Those videos and pictures aren’t going to disappear.

    Leaving the party also alienates people that are Democrats. I’m not crazy about some aspects of his tenure as SF mayor, but I agree that he was one of the few Democrats in the state that seemed capable of mounting a competitive statewide bid. I would have been supportive of a run. But now? Why should I support someone distancing themselves from my party and associating himself with Donald Trump?

    He is the anti-Bill Clinton, using triangulation to make all sides dislike him.

    This stunt has me thinking about Arlen Spector in Pennsylvania. He was a longtime Republican officeholder who became a Democrat in the wake of the 2008 Democratic sweep, thinking he would preserve his career. Well, he had pretty bad timing. By the time he was running in 2010, Republicans were the ones riding a wave. Could very well be the same here.

    Huether is ingratiating himself with Trump and Republicans at their electoral high point, but it seems pretty plausible that Trump will be widely hated by the time the mid-terms are occurring in two years. Instead of being associated with the opposition and gaining the institutional support that major parties can offer (even the SDDP offers some level of institutional support and the “D” next to his name would a signifier for low-information voters wanting to send an anti-Trump message) he will be just some guy.

    Maybe he can pull it off. Like I said, he’ll be able to raise some money and he has some name ID, especially in the Sioux Falls area. But the whole thing feels ill-considered to me. He wants to be Angus King, but he’s more likely to be Mike Myers.

  46. Troy, the Democrat holding the highest elected office in South Dakota may be Aberdeen mayor Mike Levsen… but he doesn’t ring the partisan bell much.

  47. Jerry, what involvement in party politics can a party offer to independents? Dems let indies vote in our primary, but independents don’t seem to flock to the primary polls.

    What involvement should the Democratic Party offer to an indy like Huether who holds a press conference just praise Republicans and attack the Democratic brand?

  48. Watch those words, LS. See if Huether follows them up with any substance. What “change” does Huether think he can offer that others can’t? What “change” has Huether offered in his past public service?

    Ror makes a good point that we should not narrow our view to the Governor’s chair. Maybe Huether really does want to go to Congress, and that’s why he took his shots at Pelosi yesterday.

  49. Good ending comparison, Brett.

    Huether seems to have confirmed my suspicion that he’s not about anything other than himself. I don’t think we ever could have counted on him to provide any support to fellow Dems had he chosen to run as a Democrat or to engage in any party-building activities.

  50. Party loyalty only matters to members of the party. That’s one of the problems with politics today. Everyone spends more time worrying about which side people are on and not enough time working for the common good.

  51. LS, I disagree. Party loyalty is less important to me than working for the common good. However, I believe that I can do more for the common good working with my party than I can running as an independent.

  52. Porter Lansing

    I know you didn’t address me, Cory but if I may? Why do you believe that? Because of money that’s donated to you by the Party? Because of group projects to promote candidates? Because of party name recognition? Your SoDak Dem Party has been unfairly branded “tax and spend” for decades. Is it possible to work to reverse this more effectively from the outside of the party as an unaffiliated candidate of all the people?

  53. Starting now, you lay the blame squarely where the blame belongs, on partisan dysfunctional politics. You call out austerity as a failed European style governing with results that are easy to see. You show that while they continue the slide downward, the state has huge reserves on hand and has even taken the liberty of stealing funds from them via the EB5 and the energy monies that there tax dollars provided. You keep the drum beat of how, with the coalition of Democrats, Independents and Republicans that are sick of corruption, you will be their voice of change and how you intend to do it. You set the stage for what the people here have looked at for decades, the lack of economic development in the state by improving education for the people who reside here and do not want to move elsewhere. You can clearly talk to them that by making a joint political effort to join, you are serious to the people’s concerns, all of the people. Not the governors fund and those that continue to reap benefits while they loose ground each day, but to all who believe that the state offers more than they want to loose.

    What Democrats can offer Independents is their support. Bernie Sanders clearly pointed out the dysfunction of the national Democratic Party while working with them in congress. The political strategy would be to run as a coalition of Independence against the party of no. You simply grind them down by forcing them to answer for their corruption and lack of movement for the last 40 years and more. In the political world, an Independent can get a lot accomplished in red states, Angus King and Bernie Sanders are both from conservative gun states.

  54. Social Security is getting cut so you beat the hell out of them for that theft. The Republicans wanted this and are doing it, bang the drum. They are also going after Medicare, these are important issues to South Dakota voters and why a coalition of political forces are what it will take to keep their peace.

  55. Porter, even in its weakened condition, the SDDP provides built-in organizing and fundraising power that exceeds that available to me working by myself. Even without a scarlet “D”, a South Dakota independent can beat the SDDP’s organizing and fundraising power only if (1) he already has a truckload of money and name recognition, or (2) he invests in building some new, ongoing party structure and thus would, by definition, no longer be an independent.

  56. Porter Lansing

    I see. Number (2) isn’t feasible but should a Brink’s truck, with “Heidelberger’s Truckload” printed on the side show up, along with your growing statewide exposure that Dakota Free Press is providing, it’s not out of the question? Of course, it isn’t. (reply necessary only if I’m wrong)

  57. (2) is out of the question if we’re talking genuine independents. The moment you create a new party, you’re not an independent.