Send Your Applications to Be SDDP Exec!
Suzanne Jones Pranger is leaving her job as executive director of the South Dakota Democratic Party to pursue “other professional opportunities working with a statewide campaign.” Jones Pranger doesn’t say which statewide campaign she’ll be working for, but the only declared Democratic statewide candidate, Chris Martian, just talked to me, and he didn’t mention having SJP or anyone else in the chute as U.S. House campaign staff. (Stay tuned for my full write-up of the Martian interview in a later post!) Dana Ferguson reads this e-mail from SJP—”South Dakota Democrats have many great potential candidates like Senator Billie Sutton who, should they decide to run, would level the playing field for South Dakota’s working class”—as a signal that SJP will work for District 21 Senator Sutton’s not-yet-declared run for governor.
Sutton is from Burke. SJP is from Burke. The big McGovern Day Dinner, a pretty good platform from which to announce a gubernatorial campaign, is two weeks from Saturday.
The SDGOP spin blog naturally portrays Jones Pranger’s departure in the worst light possible, saying she’s abandoning the Democratic Party’s “sinking ship.” I would suggest that if a young up-and-comer really thought the state party was a sinking ship, she wouldn’t tie herself to that party’s statewide nominee for (we’re assuming) Governor. She’d abandon South Dakota politics completely and go practice law.
Jones Pranger sees no sinking ship. She says in her April 10 resignation letter to the SDDP executive board that the party “is now in a better position to make gains in 2018 and in the future”:
While many states have not been financially able to do so, the South Dakota Democratic Party has maintained its staff and doubled down on outreach efforts since November. The leadership and staff at the Party has gained experience and is more committed than ever to doing their job to promote Democratic Party values of fairness, equality, and expanded opportunity in our state [Suzanne Jones Pranger, letter to South Dakota Democratic Party executive board, 2017.04.10].
And wait a minute: there’s a statewide Democratic candidate who, nineteen months out from the general election, can promise a paycheck big enough to lure a state party exec away from $3,298 a month? Holy cow—someone has some big fundraising plans… and Jones Pranger either believes those plans or has made a candidate believe them! (Note: Sutton reported $31,278.20 on hand in his legislative campaign fund at the end of 2016. That would be enough to match SJP’s current salary from now until next January, just halfway to the general election.)
The SDDP should be advertising yesterday to fill this job. They should interview applicants at McGovern Day and choose a new exec in time to announce at dinner that night. Job expectations should include the following:
- Ability to spend four to five hours a day on the phone with donors every workday and separate those donors from lots of their money.
- Ability and desire to speak on TV, radio, and Internet broadcasts, live and recorded, on a moment’s notice.
- Ability to write sharp, relevant, and occasionally devastating responses to Republican propaganda between phone calls for press releases, blog posts, and party social media statements.
- Total commitment to one goal: electing more Democrats.
- Ability to win that same commitment from bickerers, axe-grinders, and Debbie-Downers within the party and to crush the nuts who don’t get on board. (She doesn’t have to crush those nuts; she should just make it clear that she could if she had to.)
Don’t wait for SDDP HQ to post the job; winners, movers, shakers, send your résumés to Ben Deverman and tell him you don’t want to be a summer intern; you want to lead this party to victory!