The GOP spin of Kevin Woster’s commentary last week was “Democrats can’t win” the 2016 Senate race against John Thune. Now busy reveling in the fact that my man Frank Kloucek is playing hard to get, the GOP spinsters need to catch up with Kevin Woster’s declaration today that he’s “almost certain” that South Dakota Democrats will field a candidate or two (!) to challenge Thune.
Woster doesn’t name any specific candidate as an “almost certain” entrant, but he reports that some serious people are having serious conversations about recruiting West River journalist and filmmaker Sam Hurst to take up the Senate challenge:
Hurst is tied into a group that has produced professional polling in recent years on a variety of public-policy issues. And there is some talk among the Hurst group about doing some polling to find out where Thune might have weaknesses and how Hurst might be able to exploit them, if he is the Democratic nominee.
As one of his friends said: “I’d raise money for Sam just to see him debate Thune” [Kevin Woster, “Hurst for U.S. Senate in 2016? Well…,” KELO-TV, 2015.08.24].
Hurst is a smart enough researcher and communicator that he doesn’t need my help with debate prep. But Friends of Sam (and that would include the Dakota Poll group which Woster obliquely cites), I suspect you’ll find some of those useful weaknesses listed on this blog (start here and work through the links).
Hurst would be a formidable debate opponent, even as a pronounced underdog in a Senate race. Whether he would connect to South Dakotans on a wide scale and be perceived by likely voters as more than a Democratic bomb-thrower is unclear.
It’s also wise to remember that being sharp and edgy and articulate doesn’t necessarily translate into being a good candidate. But then, Hurst is smart enough to understand that [Woster, 2015.08.24].
Sharp, edgy, and articulate can still lose an election. But dull, docile, and mumbling will lose, guaranteed. Check sharp, edgy, and articulate, and put Sam Hurst next to Frank Kloucek in the bull pen to pitch against Thune.
Woster does raise a concern about the Democratic Party being able to play nicely with Hurst:
Hurst, who has never run from a controversial opinion, has made some insightful-but-edgy evaluations of the state of the party in South Dakota. They stung. This is a wounded party, after all, with a clear and abiding memory of injuries sustained and perceived attackers, particularly those who come from within.
So there’d be some fence mending to find unity, if Hurst could beat whomever the party finds over there east of, say, Iona (a dividing-line community carefully chosen by the Politics in KELOLAND campaign-coverage team just in case Billie Sutton runs, although the team doubts he will this time) to run [Woster, 2015.08.24].
I read, blogged, and appreciated Hurst’s forthright critiques of my party during and right after the 2010 election. Hurst understands that Democrats need a fearless leader. If Hurst is willing and able to fearlessly lead a Senate campaign, there had better not be any Democrats whining, “Oh, but Sam made me feel bad six years ago” and sitting on their hands, especially if no one else is going to pick up the flag and charge the Thune line.
Sam Hurst can bring the fight that Democrats need. Hurst could articulate why South Dakotans deserve better than Thune’s do-nothing tenure in Washington, and he could do it while outdoing Thune on West-River dusty-boots cred.
Of course, we Dems could go nuts and have a Hurst–Kloucek–Abourezk primary….