In political baseball, Rep. Lee Schoenbeck’s support for the Blue Ribbon plan to raise South Dakota teacher pay has made him the new Stace Nelson of the Legislature:
Rep. Schoenbeck says Majority Leader Brian Gosch has barred him from the GOP caucus. Well, that should make for fun debate on sales tax and teacher pay when the House convenes at 2 p.m. Central.
This incident comes after Rep. Schoenbeck continued to lambaste Rep. Gosch over the weekend as “pond scum” who “lied” to the “group of clowns” who followed Rep. Gosch in voting against House Bill 1182, the Governor’s funding mechanism for raising teacher pay. Rep. Schoenbeck also appears to have called Rep. Gosch something even stiffer in a Thursday evening text message that Rep. Gosch was reportedly sharing with his fellow Republicans in the Capitol Friday. (In the 9:08 p.m. conversation, Gosch’s text is in blue to the right; Schoenbeck’s is in grey to the left… and oh, aren’t those colors and directions symbolic on this dispute?):
In 2012, Schoenbeck noted Rep. Stace Nelson’s banishment from caucus for bucking the leadership by calling Nelson’s antics a circus act and saying of Nelson “the S.O.B. just has it coming.” Rep. Nelson was a freshman legislators operating from a bellicose minority position; Rep. Schoenbeck is a respected veteran lawmaker who is catching heck for vociferous defense of a sales tax bill that a majority of the GOP caucus and the Republican Governor support.
Is Rep. Schoenbeck’s banishment mere personal spite from Rep. Gosch? Does the Majority Leader just think the man who wanted to be his lieutenant (and was passed over in favor of Rep. Steve Westra, who’s playing nicely and backing his leader’s opposition to HB 1182) just needs another day to “cool & come back with a better attitude”? Could it be a larger political maneuver to cast HB 1182 as Schoenbeck’s bill and pressure vacillating GOP caucus members to swing back against HB 1182 as a show of support for their insulted and wrathful Majority Leader? Find out this afternoon at 2 p.m. Central when the House convenes.