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SDGOP Roberts Boasts of Cutting Expenses, Expanding Voter Registration Advantage over Dems

SDGOP chair Pam Roberts visits with the party faithful at the Brown County Republicans Reagan Lunch, at Mavericks, Aberdeen, South Dakota, 2015.09.10.
SDGOP chair Pam Roberts visits with the party faithful at the Brown County Republicans Reagan Lunch, at Mavericks, Aberdeen, South Dakota, 2015.09.10.

South Dakota Republican Party chair Pam Roberts spoke to Brown County Republicans at their Reagan Lunch yesterday here in Aberdeen. The highlight of her speech was an assurance that she is cutting back on state party spending.

Roberts said that, since her election to the chair February 28, she has closed the Sioux Falls office of the party and centralized all operations in Pierre. Roberts says she has cut party staff. She said the only semi-regular work at party headquarters comes from two people. Gubernatorial policy analyst and Aberdeen native Grace Kessler dedicates some of her spare time to administrative tasks in the SDGOP office. Former SDGOP executive director, now consultant Jason Glodt has been putting in lots of hours for the party and driving his official GOP bus to events like the State Fair.

Roberts also told her couple-dozen Aberdeen listeners that she has scaled back contracts, saving the state party significant dollars in this non-election year.

Nonetheless, the party does not seem to be hurting for money. Roberts reports the SDGOP has a quarter million dollars in the bank. She says their top-tier candidates for next year, Senator John Thune and Rep. Kristi Noem, have told her that their individual fundraising is healthy enough that they will not be looking to the state party for financial support in 2016.

Roberts points most proudly to the party’s growing voter registration advantage: Republicans currently outnumber Democrats in South Dakota by 68,709. That advantage has grown by 26,652 since September 2010. Roberts noted for her Aberdeen crowd that Brown County Republicans now enjoy a 374-voter edge over Brown County Democrats. Just a decade ago, Roberts says Brown County Dems enjoyed a 700-voter advantage. Roberts credits local party leaders for diligent voter registration efforts.

The SDGOP apparently has so much momentum and built-in strength that it can scale back state party operations. If only we South Dakota Democrats were so lucky! But party building isn’t luck; it’s hard work and, in the case of liberals in a land where folks think “Democrat” is a dirty word, gutsy uphill advocacy.

p.s.: Roberts said she looks forward to the 2016 state GOP convention, which takes next June 23 through 25 as close as it possibly could to my house, at the Aberdeen Ramkota. I look forward to applying for my press pass.

20 Comments

  1. Rorschach 2015-09-11

    It would be easy to say the SD Republican Party became so dominant because of backlash against President Obama, but that’s only part of it. There is a lot going on behind the GOP scenes that doesn’t meet the Democratic eye.

    Pam Roberts is the beneficiary of the years of hard work and organization put in by Jason Glodt. His importance to the SDGOP can’t be overstated. He’s a real pro at organizing and managing campaigns at the state legislative level and at other levels. Many of the Republicans in the legislature right now owe their victories to Glodt’s behind the scenes efforts over the years. The fact is, because of the work he’s already done his job only gets easier.

    Democrats need a formidable organizer like Jason Glodt to climb out of the hole. You can’t expect volunteers to have the expertise or the time to do the job the way it needs to be done, so one or more exceptional persons will have to be hired.

  2. Richard Hilgemann 2015-09-11

    “Couple-dozen Aberdeen listeners”??? Try over 40. Using some of that Bernie Sanders math again? ;) I am just kidding. Thanks for coming.

  3. leslie 2015-09-11

    verify YOUR math RH. while Trump’s un-paid attendance may be questionable, looks like Bernie scares you guys. truth hurts, is the issue, eh?

  4. Curt 2015-09-11

    I suppose one shouldn’t stereotype, but are the two gentlemen in the photo typical of the whole crowd?

  5. DR 2015-09-11

    CH, thanks for coming, and that was fair report. Char’s razzing at the beginning may have changed you a bit :)

    See you next month!!

  6. Curt 2015-09-11

    ‘Rorschach’ – Are you Jason Glodt’s Mom?

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-11

    DR, I refuse to change, especially under duress from Republicans. :-)

    I came with every intent of writing a mostly objective report of what I heard, just as I did in covering Jeromy Pankratz’s presentation in May. I couldn’t be as objective in covering Jason Ravnsborg’s presentation on Islam and ISIS in July, because it was wrong enough to demand rebuttal.

    Richard, is that the official headcount? I’m looking at one group photo I have, and I count 26 heads, including Pam Roberts:

    Brown County Republicans Reagan Lunch 2015.09.10

    I can confidently add five people outside the frame—Thune aid in white outfit at end of south table, Char, two guys across from me (see pic in original post), and me—to that count. 31. If we’re rounding dozens and counting living soul in the room, I could say three dozen. “Couple-three dozen” might be the most accurate term, expressing my uncertainty as to whether it was two or three but establishing a reasonable range. Can you add people I’m missing to justify your count of over 40?

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-11

    (That said, thanks for having me, Rich! I’m happy to have the opportunity to meet and report on newsmakers.)

  9. Richard Hilgemann 2015-09-11

    Going for the “conservative” end of the estimate then ;)

  10. Rorschach 2015-09-11

    I’m your ‘uncle’, Curt.

  11. Char Cornelius 2015-09-11

    35 was the accurate count. 32 chairs were set up by Mavericks and I had them add another table for 3 more. It was a great turnout. I really enjoy the Reagan Lunches.

  12. Porter Lansing 2015-09-12

    Patience and diligence. It’s very very (not a Trump very very) good that they are reducing spending because that’s a proven prescription for decline. Let them ignore the left to their own detriment. “We’ve got ’em right where we want ’em.”

  13. MC 2015-09-12

    Downsizing right now makes sense. It is an off election year, and the GOP has strong hold on the state. let it rest for a spell and be ready to get it back working next year.

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-09-12

    MC, I can see the logic behind adjusting staff to meet declining or increasing needs. But is it normal for a political organization to fluctuate like that, and is it healthy?

  15. mike from iowa 2015-09-12

    Raygun. Impeach. Pronto.

  16. Jeff Barth 2015-09-12

    Rather than a paid staff Democrats need small groups of motivated people to do small things. Talking to people instead of emailing them. Meeting neighbors and making friends. Registering voters one at a time. The Party will grow organically. Leaders and staff are nice but people come first.

  17. 96Tears 2015-09-12

    It’s funny to read Pam Roberts take this earthly job to shepherd the little people in South Dakota’s biggest country club, the S.D. Republican Party. It must feel icky to look upon mere rank-and-file and talk to those people. Cory, your story personalizes the difference between the state Republican party and The Machine in Pierre that really runs politics.

    Some time, somebody needs to do a write up on the SDGOP’s Royal Families: The Adams, the Robertses, the Mickelsons, the Roundses, the Lawrences, the Kesslers. These are the people who breath in and breath out of state jobs, contracts, board and commission positions and state party positions, generation after generation in Pierre. State government exists as a feed trough to keep them well positioned in the public and private sectors to monopolize power and money.

    The Jason Glodts of this exclusive world are hired on in state jobs to oversee the plantation for the Royal Ones. They are useful. No doubt, Jason has big talents and has been the key to success and excess in the last decade. Just thought readers would like to know where their tax dollars are put to work.

  18. MC 2015-09-12

    Most people can only stomach small doses of politics at a time. having some time away from the beating of the drum can be refreshing and recharging. Just make sure the communication lines stay open so when it time to get back to campaigning, it can happen in short order. is it healthy? yes.

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