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Kurt Evans Turns Clinton Democrat

Kurt Evans chose not to challenge John Thune for his Senate seat. But he could have challenged Jay Williams… in the Democratic primary!

I check the Vote605 app (which allows phone users to look up folks’ voter registration by name and ZIP, a feature missing from the browser-based Voter Information Portal, which requires the less convenient, more intrusive search by birthdate) and discover that the sometimes Independent, sometimes Libertarian Wessington Springs man has changed his voter registration back to Democratic for the 2016 primary.

Yes, back. Evans tells me he was an active Democrat back in his SDSU days. He was even a counselor at the South Dakota Teen Dem camp in 1989. Evans says he shifted to the right when he became uneasy with what he perceived as the left wing’s generosity with other people’s money and the right wing’s generosity with its own money. (Feel free to press generation-ago Kurt on the question of Ronald Reagan’s generosity with future generations’ money via deficit spending.) Evans says Democratic support for abortion, including the 1992 DNC platform’s support for public funding for all reproductive health services, capped his turn away from the party.

Hillary Clinton and Kurt Evans
Maybe Kurt is just angling for the VP slot.

But in the increasingly bizarre 2016 political landscape, Evans has re-registered so he can vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton in our June primary. Evans describes Clinton as “the least dangerous major-party candidate left since Rubio suspended his campaign.”

Evans isn’t taking his eye off the Libertarian Party. In a discussion of possible Libertarian prospects among anti-Trump conservative voters, Evans tells the Washington Examiner that somewhat well-known Libertarian Gary Johnson may be hamstrung among evangelicals by his stances on abortion and “religious liberty”:

“Johnson went so far as to say he would force a Jewish baker to make a cake for a Nazi,” Evans said, referring to religious freedom protection laws. An evangelical himself, he believes that a Clinton-Trump race would put some of those voters in play and libertarians should try to reach them.

Evans noted that Austin Petersen, one of the other Libertarian presidential candidates, is pro-life and might therefore be more attractive to conservatives than the better known Johnson [W. James Antle III, “Could Anti-Trump Conservatives Go Libertarian?Washington Examiner, 2016.05.09].

Alas, in South Dakota, Evans may not have the opportunity to vote for either Johnson or Petersen, since the South Dakota Libertarian Party failed to capitalize on surging voter interest in outsiders to recapture its official party status this year. Thus, we have the odd spectacle of a libertarian evangelical, the kind with whom Senator Ted Cruz thought his preachifying would resonate, signing up as a Democrat and saying Hillary Clinton is the least bad choice in the field.


  1. 96Tears 2016-05-10

    Will somebody tell the SDDP they have a major opportunity that won’t cost a penny? State law and the party’s bylaws allow independents to vote in their presidential primary. This is something the state Republican Party can’t offer. With Bernie Sanders coming to the Black Hills region Friday, Democrats have a great opportunity to sell their candidates and their message (and raise money?). This will attract Clinton to respond with Bill and/or Hillary. Recall that in 2008 they spent so much time in the state the Clinton’s could have applied for residency (that’s a joke).

    For a state party with no statewide elected leaders any more, this is a major opportunity. Don’t sit on your hands … again.

  2. Rorschach 2016-05-10

    The Libertarian Party continues to circulate petitions. I believe they will be back as a recognized party this year.

  3. Don Coyote 2016-05-10

    Meh. Hardly the world turned upside down. Not nearly as outré as the news that Bill Buckley’s kid Christopher was voting for Obama. Or the latest news that libertarian/conservative humorist P. J. O’Rourke failed to take his own advice (“Don’t vote, it only encourages the bastards”) and announced he was endorsing Hillary albeit with faint praise:

    “I am endorsing Hillary. And all her lies and all her empty promises. I am endorsing Hillary. The second worst thing that could happen to this country. But she’s way behind in second place, you know? She’s wrong about absolutely everything — but she’s wrong within normal parameters!”


  4. Kurt Evans 2016-05-10

    Thanks, Cory. Your photo caption about “angling for the VP slot” made me laugh.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-05-10

    Don, you read your national news, I’ll write South Dakota news.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-05-10

    Laugh it up, Kurt… then think big! If Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders can get as far as they have, anything is possible!

  7. Kurt Evans 2016-05-10

    Cory writes:
    >“Laugh it up, Kurt… then think big! If Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders can get as far as they have, anything is possible!”

    Bernie’s first four statewide elections:
    1,571 votes + 2,175 votes + 5,901 votes + 11,317 votes =
    20,964 TOTAL VOTES

    My first three statewide elections:
    6,866 votes + 3,071 votes + 48,103 votes =
    58,040 TOTAL VOTES

    Maybe I should go wait by the phone for Hillary’s call. :-)

  8. drey samuelson 2016-05-11

    Kurt–I couldn’t help but notice your reference to your 3,071 votes without a certain sense of, well, let’s just call it acknowledgment! ;-)

  9. Kurt Evans 2016-05-11

    Drey Samuelson writes:
    >“Kurt–I couldn’t help but notice your reference to your 3,071 votes without a certain sense of, well, let’s just call it acknowledgment! ;-)”

    Hey Drey, I’ve been thinking about how crazy it is that Dan Pfeiffer and I would ever find ourselves backing the same presidential candidate. I’d say 2002 is starting to seem like a long time ago.

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