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Jason Gant’s Best Defense: He Tried.

Unable to come up with any rational defense of the man who gave him a cushy state job, GOP Pat Powers offers this feeble flacking for former Secretary of State’s overhyped overseas voting plan, which by the latest count spent $668,000 to provide an alternative electronic method of absentee voting that was used by a 27 soldiers:

Sorry, but criticism should not be leveled on trying to find a better way, especially when we were given a grant for it. Unless we’ve started to punish trying in America [Pat Powers, “Is It Fair to Damn Gant for Progress? Not Unless We Punish Trying in America,” Dakota War College, 2015.11.01].

We could tease Pat for joining Secretary of State Shantel Krebs and everyone else in Pierre in saying, “Damn Gant!” We could point out that for $20,000, we could set up three satellite early voting stations on South Dakota reservations, which could easily increase voter turnout by hundreds, giving us far more democratic bang for the buck than the techno-flop Gant peddled. We could point out the absurdity of a purportedly conservative Republican looking at a glaring example of wasted tax dollars, shrugging and saying, “Hey, the guy tried!”

If “trying” is Pat’s new gold standard for evaluating government, then he’ll need to revisit his punishment of numerous South Dakotans:

  1. Sioux Falls city councillor Michelle Erpenbach tried to make Sioux Falls streets safer with a cell phone ban. Pat Powers called her try “draconian” nanny-statism, portrayed her as a far-leftist, and sowed opposition to her purported aspiration to run for mayor.
  2. Brookings city councillor Tom Bezdichek tried to reduce waste by banning plastic grocery sacks. Powers called that try nanny-statism and said Bezdichek lives in a “dippy liberal world.”
  3. Kathy Tyler tried to stop a CAFO from stinking up her home county with pig poop. Powers called her “ridiculous” and “the worst kind of legislator.”
  4. Kathy Tyler tried to get re-elected by spending several hundred dollars on a newspaper ad. Powers called that try an expensive waste.
  5. Shari Kosel tried (successfully!) to get South Dakota to pass tougher animal cruelty laws. Powers called that try a sneaky effort by the Humane Society of the United States (which was not involved in Kosel’s lobbying effort) to attack South Dakota agriculture.

An eager reader came up with that short list of Pat’s disdain for “trying” in a few minutes. Commenters, I welcome your further examples.

“In many cases,” Powers concludes, “we can curse the darkness, or light a candle.” If he said that every political enemy he skewers, we might be able to believe it when he says it about his friend Jason Gant. But his empty resort to cliché rings hollow. Gant’s lavish expenditure on meager results shows that iOasis was a waste of money that gave Gant an excuse to junket around Germany and cloak himself in “I love veterans!” fur.

Jason Gant was indeed trying… trying on the patience of South Dakotans who expect competence and integrity in the conduct of elections. For such trying, we should not hesitate to damn Gant.


  1. larry kurtz 2015-11-02 06:49

    Powers is a sociopath presenting with symptoms of dissociation comorbid with addictive personality disease.

  2. Rorschach 2015-11-02 07:21

    The worst Secretary of State in SD history had bigger political ambitions. He tried – yes tried – to set himself up as a super partisan GOP hero ala Scott Walker. He tried to be a hero to the military by creating a new method of overseas voting using free federal money. He tried and succeeded in putting his picture on every page of the Secretary of State website. You have to think he had plans to run for congress, but he just didn’t have the managerial and administrative skills or even the desire to properly conduct the job he already had.

    With the SOS job Gant’s problem was that he didn’t try hard enough, or even at all.

  3. Francis Schaffer 2015-11-02 08:14

    ‘start to punish trying’? I encourage trying, just use your own money; grant money is not ‘free’ money. It is my money poorly used, that makes me outraged, along with the inconsistent reasoning for and against taking money from the federal government by our state officials. The word that comes to mind is ‘dips**t’.

  4. 90 Schilling 2015-11-02 09:44

    There is little doubt Pats hands are dirty or he wouldn’t have left the office on the run. Who left with Pat and why together?

  5. mike from iowa 2015-11-02 09:49

    Steers and barrows can try,too. But that is all they can do.

  6. mike from iowa 2015-11-02 09:52

    Power’s tri-mesters. Tri-mester 1-tri-weekly. Tri-mester2-try weekly. Tri-mester 3-try weakly.

  7. Craig & Ronette Guymon 2015-11-02 10:03

    Given former SOS Gant’s bonehead decision to flush $668,000 purchasing absentee-voting widgets used by 27 military members ($24,740.74 per ballot cast), did Gant buy any $25,000 toilet seats? Former SOS Gant’s meathead decisions and actions have been documented, disclosed and scrutinized by the public. Former SOS Gant’s human errors, honest mistakes, bureaucrat gamesmanship tactics, partisan favoritisms and lack of attention to details were all damnable to say the least. However, what former SOS Gant orchestrated, launched, coordinated and promoted from June 6, 2012 thru Sept 15, 2012 surrounding the 2012 Davison County primary election has an offensive criminal intent odor. In Oct 7, 2015 and Oct 31, 2015 letters, we respectfully asked SOS Krebs to formally request AG Jackley thoroughly investigate whether election rigging and/or cover-up criminal acts were committed surrounding the 2012 Davison County primary election. If AG Jackley’s investigation determines criminal acts were committed, then appropriate criminal charges need to be filed against each public official who committed wrongful act.

    Team-Guymon, Out!

  8. Jenny 2015-11-02 11:27

    Yes, Craig has a point, line itemize that 668,000 chunk of money. Did he bring his whole family to Germany? Was it first class flying? How many luxury trips did he take and with whom? Obese individuals like Gant have a hard time flying regular coach that many hours on an airplane so he very well could have flown first class. Let’s break that chunk of money down, Cory.

    I would hope South Dakotans will start realizing that always voting GOP is sometimes not in their best interests.

  9. Blue living in a red state 2015-11-02 17:46

    Meanwhile over at War College, Pity Pat is either getting his arse handed to him over his lame excuse of a blog post trying to defend his buddy Gant or his loyal blind followers are upset at SOS Krebs for exposing Gant’s shortcomings. GOP party in-fighting? YES PLEASE!

  10. Roger Cornelius 2015-11-02 19:00

    The most important question for me is, who did Gant hand over that $668,000 to?
    This isn’t whole SOS issue is not about Gant’s incompetence, we have known that all along, it is what the hell happened to that $43,000 and who did Jason pay for that folly for veterans voting?

  11. 90 Schilling 2015-11-02 19:27

    Garrett Devries, misdemeanor. What value flag does it take for a felony charge?

  12. Roger Elgersma 2015-11-02 20:18

    Gant buys twice as many I pads as he has workers in the office and teachers need to use their own money to by classroom decorations. Them conservatives are not real consistent. Well other places maybe they are.

  13. Bob Newland 2015-11-02 22:06

    The problem with Gant is similar to what is wrong with a disturbing number of “Republican” elected officials in SoDak. Since the candidate for Secretary of State is nominated by delegates to the state convention. That makes giving hand jobs a viable way to become the nominee. Gant was good enough at annoying people with his pathetic pleas that they gave him an office they thought had little relevance to them.

    In most legislative districts, being the Republican on the ballot is tantamount to being elected. Therefore the Republican primary campaigns are fire, brimstone and threats of eternal damnation. Whoever wins that scrap becomes or remains a legislator with the conviction that God has chosen him or her as an instrument in this really seriously sinful world. Roger Hunt comes to mind.

    Gant thus becomes “the gift that keeps on giving.” Republicans like his pathetic attempts to be corrupt and incompetent because it brings a little relief to their having to explain the swath of bodies in the wake of vaunted state projects. Democrats like him because he’s a Republican who f****d up bad, and who, for them, represents, therefore, the entire Republican party.

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-03 05:47

    I’m not even sure the iPads were essential to the mission. I get the impression they were purchased to test the system, but now where are they? 3 devices missing, 27 just sitting in the office?

  15. mike from iowa 2015-11-03 06:33

    Let me get this straight,the purloined flag is one of only two ever made for the sad state of South Dakota. Instead of being considered a priceless artifact,the burnout 2 watt lightbulb AG values it at over $400. No one can say Jackley piles charges on friends/accomplices.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-03 08:54

    The problem, Mike, is that we are trying to assign a price to an item that probably won’t ever go up for sale and for which there wouldn’t be that much market if it did. Remember, we’re just South Dakota. ;-)

  17. mike from iowa 2015-11-03 09:02

    As bad as Edsels were,there is still a market for the beasts as artifacts.

  18. Daniel Buresh 2015-11-03 10:21

    Doesn’t matter what the intrinsic value is of the flag, it comes down to the replacement value. That is how the judicial system works. If you want to go for more, it becomes a civil matter. I know this from unfortunate events as a moron youth and a stint through the juvenile system. It’s not a conspiracy so quit acting like it is.

  19. Rorschach 2015-11-03 10:39

    Interesting Capital Journal article posted by Donald in another thread regarding Garrett Devries’s theft of the state flag and his work as a Republican operative. In his brief stint working for SOS Jason Gant he worked on the IOASIS debacle. I suppose that means federal taxpayers paid to send him to Germany and other junkets with Gant and gave him 3 Ipad minis also.

    Back to the argument that Jason Gant “tried.” This flag was stolen sometime on or before November 2013. Jason Gant was in office till January 2015. He didn’t “try” very hard to keep track of valuable state artifacts in his custody.

  20. mike from iowa 2015-11-03 10:50

    Then I COULD steal the constitution and use it for scratch paper since it would be easy to replace it. There are copies of it all over the place. Wingnuts couldn’t spell intrinsic if your jobs depended on it.

  21. Donald 2015-11-03 11:09

    Daniel Buresh wrote:
    “Doesn’t matter what the intrinsic value is of the flag, it comes down to the replacement value.”

    Kind of like a case where someone kills your dog. That dog may mean more to a you than your car, but all you would get from a judgement would be the replacement value of your pet.

    Daniel, you made mistake(s) in your youth (me too) and learned from that experience. I certainly respect that. The flag stealer is 26 years old and should have known better.

    Regarding the value of the flag; in my opinion it is worth more than $1000.

  22. Rorschach 2015-11-03 15:58

    I wonder why they needed to buy 100 ipad minis to test the IOASIS program? Does nobody anywhere have access to an existing computer? I would think that even Jason Gant’s 3 daughters probably have a computer. Or maybe Ipad minis.

  23. Bill Fleming 2015-11-03 16:36

    Buresh, we’re not talking about replacement value. The original still exists, and it has a precise value, that being the maximum amount of money someone will pay for it if it is offered for sale — as per Donald — on eBay, for example.

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-03 19:29

    Dan, I posit no conspiracy. I see corruption and incompetence fostering an environment in which a political operative can get a cushy job in an office that demands nonpartisan objectivity and think it’s cool to steal a state artifact.

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