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Finck Spends More Than Donors Give, Relies on Outside Cash, Gets D- from NRA

I enjoy watching Republicans trying to rationalize their primary picks, especially when it contradicts the statements they make to bring down other candidates.

If burning through cash faster than it comes in is an “apocalyptic sign” for a campaign, then Caleb Finck must be doomed. According to his pre-primary campaign finance report, the young Republican candidate for District 19 Senate has raised $6,640 but has spent $7,031.58. Finck has balanced his campaign checkbook only by loaning himself $5,000. (According to an amendment filed right after his pre-primary report, Finck kicked in another $400 of his own money for travel.)

If the talk in Bon Homme County coffee shops is that the intervention of outside political actors on behalf of Stace Nelson isn’t good for Nelson, then Finck is again in peril. Prairie Country PAC, an Aberdeen-based group that backed Nelson with a postcard showing Finck in drag last week, reported $1,907.65 in pre-primary expenditures as of Friday, May 27. Caleb Finck received $2,200—76% of his individual contributions—from five people who don’t live in his district:

Caleb Finck for Senate, pre-primary campaign finance report, 2016.05.27.
Caleb Finck for Senate, pre-primary campaign finance report, 2016.05.27.

He received direct contributions from eleven Sioux Falls- and Pierre-based PACs totaling $2,650:

Caleb Finck for Senate, pre-primary campaign finance report, 2016.05.27.
Caleb Finck for Senate, pre-primary campaign finance report, 2016.05.27.

Best of all, Finck received the blessing of Governor Dennis Daugaard (who comes from District 25, not District 19) in the form of a $1,000 donation from the Daugaard for South Dakota campaign committee. Finck is the only non-incumbent out of nine mainstream Republican candidates receiving primary help from the Governor against cranky conservatives.

Caleb Finck for Senate, post card, May 2016
Caleb Finck for Senate, post card, May 2016

Finally, Finck’s friends tout National Rifle Association ratings as a good way to pick candidates. Finck’s own postcard includes “Gun Rights” as one of his slogans, yet the NRA gives Stace Nelson an A and Caleb Finck a D-. So apparently, when Republicans try gunny-sacking me with whatever poor letter grade the NRA gives me this fall, I can just write “Gun Rights” on my postcards and make all that NRA chatter go away. Nice!

There may be reasons to vote for Caleb Finck over Stace Nelson (like the fact that Finck is apparently fiscally conservative enough to graduate from college with over $5,000 in his pocket that he can afford to spend on a primary campaign!). But the political baseball reasons I hear his primary partisans throwing around only cook Finck in the same goose-gander sauce as other candidates his backers want to baste.

p.s.: Stace Nelson’s pre-primary report isn’t posted yet. Speed it up, Stace!


  1. grudznick 2016-05-29 12:32

    Let us hope for the sake of the people in that voting zone that no anonymous robo-dialers are being constructed.

  2. Mr Sol 2016-05-29 12:52

    WIth the Governor raising taxes and proposing to expand Medicaid, we need Stace more than ever in the state senate.

  3. owen 2016-05-29 18:45

    Well Mr Sol lets looks at what we get with those taxes. Our roads and bridges are in dire need of repair and something had to be done and it was.
    Our teachers for decades have been last in salary. Now those years of neglect have led us to a shortage of teachers. Teachers are leaving for other states and high school students are not taking up education in college. So even Daugaard and most Republicans finally saw that something had to be done. While the 1/2% on sales tax is regressive and it wasn’t the best answer something had to be done and was.
    A few Legislators such as Van Gerpen tried to find the money in the budget but were unable to. Maybe for one year but not ongoing funding.
    Expanding Medicaid will help more people get insurance.
    I’m no fan of Daugaard but he has come to realize that something had to be done and it has been.

    The last thing we need is to go back to the way things were. If the money was there it would have been found. Don’t listen to the words “tax and spend.” These are code words for doing nothing.

  4. Stace Nelson 2016-05-29 21:50

    @Owen As long as voters like you are willing to buy the disinformation that they cannot find enough money in a $4.4 BILLION budget, for our core infrastructure education and roads, when that is the primary reason people pay their taxes, they will continue to be able to give GOED an additional $42 MILLION like they did this last year. From my understanding, that was on top of what thy already get funneled. Because the Daugaard administration had done such a great job with the Gear Up program, and Rounds with the EB5. That’s not corruption smoke, those are raging fires. But you go ahead and believe that there’s not enough money and they had to paint teachers as the bad guys.

    Democrats are defeated by Being labeled big govt loving “tax & spenders.” The RINOs LOVE when they are able to get the Democrats to give them cover for their tax and spend ways AND then paint the Democrats as the spending and tax problem as they are then able to funnel taxpayer money, state jobs, contracts, and grants to their cronies who then support them against Democrats.

  5. barry freed 2016-05-30 07:39

    Mr. Nelson,
    We need Dynamic Websites like Cabella’s and Walmart have at all levels of our Government.

    Every Purchase Order and expenditure makes it to a State computer somewhere, and if people can search by Department, high to low, low to high, and by date, we will see where our money is going and catch irregularities in programs like EB5 and Gear Up early on.

  6. barry freed 2016-05-30 08:14

    Don’t think the NRA sways voters as much as Cory thinks. They have dragged their feet when, for instance, the Brady Bill was passed. I saw the upper level management rubbing their hands and smiling as the $400 Colt AR’s they owned went up in value to $2500.

    We the Peons, saw a loss of Rights and money while Democrats saw their dream of Gun Bans and Republicans saw net profits with guns they owned. Once again, D’s and R’s in partnership against the People. So Cory, you can put Gun Rights on your campaign literature just like your cohort as eliminatitng Constitutional Rights is a big part of your plank. You Lie about who is killed by guns and why, so why not lie to voters on your fliers too?

    Here is a Rapid City woman who was too young to own a gun and was abandoned by Law Enforcement when she needed them. Then her families’ efforts to find her were cut off at the knees with a statement that she was; “In no danger”. That statement was true, as she was already dead. We all read that she was in no danger and assumed the Police knew something and were not lying.

    She was a tiny gal, but a Pink Lady Smith in her purse would have certainly saved her life. The hammerless version comes out of the purse faster, ladies, but it will shoot through the purse effortlessley, no need to draw it out.

  7. Steve Sibson 2016-05-30 09:19

    “If the money was there it would have been found.”

    BS, there was an additional $128 million added to Daugaard’s budget versus the actual amount spent last year. Nobody explained where those monies went, and why those programs were more important than teachers and bridges. I asked that question to the District 20 legislators and none could answer it, as they repeated the disinformation provided to them by the crony capitalists.

    Cory, you could get someone to shoot of photo of you walking around in blaze orange cloths and a shotgun like other anti-gun rights politicians do, but that could cost you support from the animal rights radicals.

  8. owen 2016-05-30 11:09

    No Sibson. You’re full of BS. It wasn’t there and even Rep. Jim Bolin of Canton, who is just about as far right as your, said that without a raise in the sales tax something in the budget would have to be cut. ALL of the legislators in Pierre said something had to be done with education. Van Gerpen tried to find it and he did-for one year. Nothing sustainable. But when you hate teachers as much as you do and the desire to pay teachers nothing, you’ll grasp at anything keep teacher pay low.

    But maybe all the Republicans are in some kind of conspiracy to raise taxes and pocket the money and the Democrats are all dolts. Somehow I don’t think so.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-05-30 14:38

    Stace, I will happily co-sponsor a bill with you next Session to significantly decrease funding for GOED, or perhaps eliminate it altogether and place all economic development funding at the discretion of the Legislature.

    But if the money were there in the budget to raise teacher pay, all those whiners this year bucking against HB 1182 (the half-penny sales tax that kicks in Wednesday) would have found it long ago.

  10. Stace Nelson 2016-05-30 14:48

    @Barry Freed I love that idea. We cant even get a budget bill that isn’t something so basic that a 6th grader could present it.

    @Owen Van Gerpen was a fiscal tax and spender. Before you spout some more empty rhetoric, I previously cited the numerous bills he voted for and supported that support that proper distinction. South Dakotans and teachers would have been better off cutting the GOED and using that and other areas to fun education.

    I know Steve Sibson. He is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. I reject any asinine claims that he “hates teachers” or anybody else for that matter.

  11. Stace Nelson 2016-05-30 14:58

    @CAH Claiming there wasn’t enough money for education and roads in a $4.4 BILLION budget? Like claiming there’s not enough water for the fish in Lake Mitchell. SD does not have a revenue problem. We have a spending and a priority in spending problem.

    If our government operated like you do with your family? Funding all of core infrastructure needs first, then funding the can get by without things? We would have more than enough money to fund the most important things that we are all concerned about.

    But, they tried to rise taxes a couple years ago to increase funding for the GOED and it was rejected by the voters. So… they now fund their crony-capitalism programs first and then claim they don’t have enough money for education and roads and claim they have to raise our taxes for education and roads.

    The problem we have is that involving the government in the free-market is a liberal idea. The Republicans beat Democrats up Obama doing so, use the issue to defeat Democrats in elections, then the RINOs do the same thing when they are in office all the while claiming to be against it but voting with the Democrats to enact it in SD.

    Democrats are letting the RINOs have their cake and eat it too.

  12. MJL 2016-05-30 15:57

    Stace. The budget is on line. Instead of shouting 4.4 billion for shock value, step up to the plate and specifically tell us what would be cut for ongoing funding. The GOED spends 6.8 million from general funds. Over 11 million from federal funds,so you can’t use that. I have no idea where the 55 million for the other is from, so I don’t know if it is touchable or not.

  13. Steve Sibson 2016-05-30 16:02

    “No Sibson. You’re full of BS. It wasn’t there”

    Most legislators don’t know what is in the budget. They rely solely on the Appropriations committee and the “experts” from the executive branch. That was an answer I got from Rep. Joshua Klumb when I asked about the extra $128K in Daugaard’s budget before adding the sales tax increase during a public forum after he switched his vote. The Mitchell paper did not even report on that admission, because it flies in the face of those who claim there was not enough money. You guys are not even smart enough to understand that $20 million of the money going to the teachers ill end up in the pockets of the IRS to fund corporate subsidies.

    Me hate teachers? I was the one who promoted a way to pay Mitchell teachers more by not lining the pockets of Mitchell’s wealthy construction business owners by building an unneeded $18 million fine art center. I don’t hate teachers. They are part of the slave class that have to do what the master class wants them to do, like most of American society.

  14. Dave 2016-05-30 17:39

    I glanced at Caleb’s postcard, and was struck with the fact of how ironic his “We are only as strong as our smallest community” statement is. Thirty years ago, his hometown was features two grocery stores, a bank, a woman’s dress shop, a clothing store, a lumberyard, a hardware store, a bank, a physician, an attorney, a cheese plant, a pharmacy, a dentist’s office, several gas stations, a newspaper, a couple cafes, and a bowling alley. A good number of these businesses/services have disappeared, as Tripp’s population withers. Nearby Delmont is even smaller, and people can’t find reasons to stay there after a tornado hit. Caleb can burp out “pro life” and “gun rights” on his postcards all he wants, but those issues are little help to Tripp and other small towns on the prairie that are fading. Does he have clue on how to reverse this trend? He states, “We need to do everything we can to keep our small towns strong …” Does he not realize his hometown and many other of South Dakota’s small communities are turning into ghost towns?

  15. Roger Cornelius 2016-05-30 18:36

    Just wondering if the republican electorate will consider how the legislators passed and enacted SB1182 on the eve of the primary next week.

    During the final stretch of the primary will we continue to hear about ‘tax and spend Democrats’?

  16. grudznick 2016-05-30 18:43

    I think they will, Mr. C. The real race of course is about how many of the crazies put the bum rush on the voting houses.

  17. grudznick 2016-05-30 18:48

    Mr. Dave, you will notice that Cottonwood is going along just fine with little change in population and no businesses visible to the passing public.

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-05-31 06:59

    Roger, you raise a very important question about the Republican electorate. Of the nine Senate primary races in which Governor Daugaard has made donations, eight have the Governor’s money going to a legislator who voted for HB 1182. The ninth is the Finck-Nelson tilt, the only race in which neither candidate has fingerprints on the sales tax hike. I think Nelson has made it clear he would have voted against HB 1182. I don’t know if Finck has taken any specific position on this year’s sales tax/teacher pay legislation.

    If Finck and the Governor’s other favorites advance in their primaries, we should be able to clear the “tax and spend” critique off the table.

  19. Steve Sibson 2016-05-31 07:52

    “If Finck and the Governor’s other favorites advance in their primaries, we should be able to clear the “tax and spend” critique off the table.”

    Leaving the voters with no real choice. Democracy is dead.

  20. Stace Nelson 2016-05-31 07:56

    @MJL I am imagine my opposition to such crony capitalism is the reason my opponent receive so many contributions from lobbyists. There’s nothing that the legislature cannot touch when it comes to dealing with the budget of the state. The 61 million for the GOED was low hanging fruit that would’ve been a good start. As Mr. Sibson rightfully pointed out, the budgetary monies are hidden in plain sight by using a budget profile that is so obscure and over simplified that the legislators only have a vague idea where the monies are going to and it also then protects the monies from critique as it makes it near impossible to point out areas that could be cut.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-05-31 08:58

    Dave, good point about Finck’s sloganeering detachment from the real problems facing his hometown and pretty much every other town in District 19. Grandstanding on guns and abortion do nothing to boost small town economies. And has he offered any specific ideas beyond his slogans for real “Ag/Rural Development”… or is that line just code for Mickselonian “More CAFOs!”?

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