Paula Hawks Considering House Run, Must Gauge Ability to Beat Noem/GOP Noise with Brains

State Rep. Paula Hawks, potential 2016 U.S. House candidate
State Rep. Paula Hawks, potential 2016 U.S. House candidate

Rep. Paula Hawks (D-9/Hartford) is the first Democrat to say she’s considering challenging Congresswoman Kristi Noem in the 2016 election. The intelligent and articulate Rep. Hawks could mount a good challenge to our reigning rodeo princess. However, I will maintain that If Hawks wants to go to Congress, she will need to drop the gentle, arguably acquiescent tone she adopted toward her Republican colleagues in Pierre and come out guns a-blazing on Noem’s thoughtless, self-serving political record.

If Hawks runs, Noem and the GOP certainly won’t refrain from attacking her. The GOP won’t be able to win on facts, so, much like their favored ad agency, they will try to win on noise and slogans.

Consider the first attack posted almost immediately by the Noem-sponsored GOP spin blog. Dakota War College attempts to turn a 2013 statement from Hawks in favor of a state income tax into the overriding issue in a Hawks–Noem matchup.

If Paula Hawks is for a state income tax in South Dakota, what will she do to our taxes at the federal level?

That’s the biggest question that voters should keep in mind [Pat Powers, “Hawks Admits She’s Looking at Congressional Run. Despite Her Record on State Income Tax,” Dakota War College, 2015.05.05].

No, South Dakota voters, Hawks’s statement in favor of a state income tax is not the biggest question you should keep in mind when voting for a United States Representative. Consider:

  1. The logical implication of Hawks’s support for a state income tax is that she’ll probably support a federal income tax… which we already have.
  2. Unless Noem is intending to advocate repealing the Sixteenth Amendment, support for a fair income tax will not be an issue in the campaign.
  3. If Noem and her minions really want to spend the campaign talking about state-level tax policy, Hawks can flip the discussion: “O.K., you want to talk taxes? Great. How would you feel about repealing the federal income tax and replacing it with a federal sales tax and a federal property tax? Do you really think South Dakota’s tax system would work at the federal level?”

The GOP spin machine isn’t trying to say anything substantive or instructive about tax policy. They’re just previewing the mindless screaming they will do if any Democrat dares stand up to Noem with intelligence and truth. To be heard above that screaming, any Democratic candidate will have to be tough. Hawks will spend the next couple months deciding whether she can be that tough.


29 Responses to Paula Hawks Considering House Run, Must Gauge Ability to Beat Noem/GOP Noise with Brains

  1. Paula Hawks can be plenty tough. The real question is: Will she get financial backing? Unless the party offers her a few hundred thousand dollars she ought to pass on the race. If she runs it should be to win – not to take one for the team. So she needs to ascertain in advance whether the backing she needs will be there or if she’s just being thrown to the wolves. Besides just money, the party ought to put some resources into opposition research on Rep. Noem starting yesterday. With proper support, Rep. Hawks would be a formidable candidate for congress. Without proper support she would have an absolutely miserable 2016 running for congress as a sacrificial lamb.

  2. Jeff Barth

    I have collected my share of signatures on nominating petitions over the years. Few of those petitions have stirred voters more than helping someone get on the ballot to run vs. Kristi Noem. Representative Hawks should have no problem getting on the ballot.

    And… a Democrat can win this.

  3. Jeff Barth

    Rorschach is right. Our State Party needs to do more than congratulate themselves on getting someone to carry the flag in an underfunded effort. Get her the cash needed to win!

    There is no substitute for victory.

  4. Nobody should rely on the GOP press release blog for accurate and truthful information. In an earlier post they discounted Rep. Hawks’ re-election performance saying she won by only 8 votes in a Democratic district. She actually won by 7 votes, but her district is a Republican district. Winning in a Republican district in a Republican year against a former Republican legistlator – beating him two elections in a row – is pretty good performance.

  5. Has my Vote

  6. Jeff, I’m pleased to hear you’ve found that kind of enthusiasm among voters for replacing Noem. Turning that enthusiasm into action requires someone who can light that fire and make it spread. Can Hawks bring that fire?

  7. Roger Elgersma

    In Washington, who could have the gut feeling to cut a budget properly, a single mom who did her own budget or someone who inherited the farm and needed government subsidies to survive?
    When I was young the highest tax rates varied from 93% to sixty percent. At no time did the economy collapse from high taxes. Now we are accustomed to taxes being below fifty percent for decades of non balanced budgets and the housing market collapsed. But with all these low taxes on the rich, now Noem says that we do not want to have taxes rise because we want to keep the lifestyle that we have become accustomed to. This simply is not looking at the big picture at the same time she is supposed to be running the big picture.
    When Noem had a town hall meeting a few years ago she thought that food stamps should be cut by the same amount that farm subsidies had been cut. The farm subsidies had been cut since the price of corn had gone to five and seven dollars a bushel when it had been a dollar fifty for a long time before. The unemployment was so high that there were four times as many unemployed as there were jobs available. Cutting dollar for dollar seemed fair to her. She simply had not looked at the change in need for the farmers vs. the continuation of need in the city. Also at the same meeting Amanda Mack asked what she could do about high medical bills since she had diabetes since age three. This condition is no fault of her own and she is a very hard working person. Noem shocked me with an answer that said, ‘you should go to a high risk pool in another state.’ Now the Good Samaritan in the Bible helped someone in another country and Noem does not want to help someone in her own state. This is an example of being so rich for so long that one does not even see the poor or their situation.

  8. Paul Seamans

    Paula Hawks has been a very strong advocate for renewable energy in the South Dakota House. She has the sort of personality that voters will like. I’ll support her.

  9. Paul, I’m with you and Paula on that policy. Tell me more about how her personality will resonate with South Dakota voters and resonate more than Kristi’s.

  10. Jeff Barth

    For those of us who studied arithmetic the Nome/Thune/Republican plans to increase spending while cutting income (taxes) does not balance the budget which is their avowed goal. More spending on Ellsworth AFB, Pine beetles, Human Trafficking, pheasant production, fish hatcheries etc. means you have less money (FYI). Tax cuts then reduce your income.

    Basic addition and subtraction.
    Basic hypocrisy.

  11. Paul Seamans

    Cory,
    I don’t know either Paula or Kristi that well but I have been around Paula a little at the legislature in our effort to promote net metering. Paula has been a big supporter of that effort. The feeling that I get when talking to Paula is that she is genuine and sincere. That’s not a feeling I had after talking to Kristi. Maybe part of the reason that I like Paula is that she supports issues that I support. I kind of like her first name too.

  12. Basic math is definitely a key component of an anti-Noem campaign. Former teacher Hawks would be good at prosecuting that attack. Genuineness and sincerity should also help.

  13. Paul Seamans

    And one more thing, Paula looks good. Neither John, nor Mike, nor Kristi have won their office by offering substance. They have won because of a nice smile and having a nice appearance. I think that Paula can offer both, looks good and has substance.

  14. Good looks and substance? Come on, Matt Varilek had that! Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, too! :-)

    (But please, let’s not devolve into a hair debate.)

  15. Daniel Buresh

    Of course, only Democrats have substance. What a circle jerk.

  16. Paul Seamans

    Daniel Buresh, I didn’t say that only Democrats have substance, I am saying that the three legislators that we have in Washington don’t have a lot of it. Although I shouldn’t quite put John Thune in the same category as Mike and Kristi. FYI, I was a fan of Republican Bill Janklow. I am a registered Republican.

  17. Thune is nothing but a puppet and photo opportunitys.

  18. Lee Schoenbeck

    There are a few more Republicans than Democrats in that district, but it is not a majority GOP district. Only 37% of the voters are Republicans and it is consistently a competitive district. Just want to make sure you keep the math in perspective.

  19. Daniel, in a race between Kristi Noem and any Democrat I choose, only the Democrat will have substance. Paul is right: he is not claiming the false generalization you ascribe to him to facilitate your vulgar insult.

  20. Are you sure Paula plans to run as a Democrat? When she ran in 2012 she dumped her Democratic running mate to run on a “Bi-partisan ticket” with one of her two Republican opponents, this guy https://twitter.com/bobdeelstra , Bob Deelstra. I am not sure she is trustworthy.

  21. Judy, if Hawks runs, would you care to run against her in the primary?

  22. Well now there is an idea. It would be nice if a Democrat ran.

  23. Yes, young Ms. Hawks looks pretty. I don’t mind her hair at all, and those who say she’s too tall are just darn wrong.

  24. Plus, I think she may be Irish. She might get my vote too!

  25. Roger Cornelius

    Cecily Strong, this year’s host of the White House Correspondence Dinner, made the journalist vow not to comment on Hillary’s hair or how she dresses, adding “that is not journalism”.

  26. I’m with Roger on fashion reporting. I’m also with Judy in wanting to see a Democrat run, a real Democrat. Does anyone have a list of real South Dakota Democrats and the criteria for determining them?

  27. Cory, the criteria to be a Democrat is pretty loose. You only have to register to vote as a Democrat. And, I would submit the criteria to qualify as a “real Democrat” is equally loose. You only have to wear your Party label, however shyly, when circumstance require it. In Paula’s case she claimed to be a member of “your Democratic Team” with her fellow Democratic House candidate to some voters, while, at the very same time, claiming to be a member of your “Bi-partisan team” with one of their two Republican House opponents to other voters. She remained a Democrat and she may or may not be a “real Democrat'”, but she definitely betrayed her fellow Democratic candidate and painted herself as a willing “hypocrite”.

  28. Jeff Barth

    judy,
    Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  29. Lee, funny how you didn’t comment to “keep the math in perspective” on the GOP press release blog when it misrepresented Rep. Hawks’ district as Democratic.

    I know Fox News style misrepresentation is in fashion in the GOP these days, and especially on the GOP press release blog, but you should rise above that and call out the GOP mouthpiece blog when it offers up falsehoods as fact.

    From 2002 – 2010 when Rep. Hawks’ district had Democratic majorities, Democrats could only manage to win 1 of 3 legislative seats there. Then in 2010, Republicans won all 3 seats. After the 2012 redistricting and the district’s registration going Republican, Rep. Hawks has done very well to take one seat away from an incumbent Republican legislator in the Republican year 2012, and to hold that seat against the same person in an even bigger Republican year 2014. She’s a fighter and a winner!