Kevin Woster shares his take on Marty Jackley’s clever ploy of hiring fundagelical crusader Dale Bartscher for his gubernatorial campaign:
I’d still argue that Jason Glodt and utility players to be named later are likely to be handling most of the campaign’s heavy lifting. But Jackley is right about Bartscher’s upbeat attitude and skills in working with people. He is a pleasant, likable guy, whether or not you agree with him on key social issues.
Jackley rejects my “trending hard right” argument, saying that he’ll have a Reagan-like big-tent approach to staffing, with all Republican perspectives represented. But Bartscher’s hiring clearly continues Jackley’s strategy to lock up a good share of the conservative base as early in the campaign as he can.
…It won’t hurt in fundraising, either. There’s money in the evangelical community, and not just in the bank account of Rapid City furniture mogul Bob Fischer. This connection helps Jackley compete with Noem and her proven ability to raise bunches of campaign money, a substantial amount of which landed first in her U.S. House fund, to be transferred to her state campaign fund [Kevin Woster, “Going All Dave Kranz on Marty Jackley, the Dale Bartscher Hiring and the Campaign Battle for Evangelicals,” SDPB, 2017.06.27].
We have Jackley and Kristi Noem fighting to prove they sit at the right hand of the Lord. We have the only Democrat so far in the governor’s race, Billie Sutton, mentioning God on every page of his announcement speech. I’m still waiting for any gubernatorial candidate to address how he or she will govern for the 21% of us South Dakotans who aren’t Christian or what place they think our apostate views have in our fair state.
I’d like to think Noem could exploit some rift between Bartscher and the crowd that last month pushed him out of Family Heritage Alliance (and said weird, illogical things to justify that out-push). Set the fundies against each other, pitch a primary battle so bloody the losers are left disillusioned and disinclined to vote in November.
But if the Sharia for Jesus crowd of which Bartscher is a part can rally to vote for Donald John Trump in record numbers, they’ll have no problem recoalescing for either of these lesser Republican evils for governor in November after next. The only opening for Democrats in Jackley’s Barstcher hire is the hope that the Christian absolutists will fight the primary like it’s the end of the world (and for a lot of Bartscherites, it is) and thus deplete the resources available to fight the Democratic nominee in the homestretch.