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Kirschman Rides PACs (and Schoenbeck?!) to Top Nesiba in District 15 Primary Fundraising

Eight years in Pierre gives Rep. Patrick Kirschman another advantage over challenger Reynold Nesiba: fundraising. According to pre-primary campaign finance reports filed last week, Kirschman has raised $13,346 for the District 15 winner-take-all Democratic primary, while Nesiba has raised $9,947.86.

Nesiba actually did better on individual contributions, raising $8,698 compared to Kirschman’s $2,821. Nesiba drew nearly a third of that individual take from online contributions through ActBlue; Kirschman’s report shows no such online fundraising.

Rep. Patrick Kirschman—Schoenbeck's guy?
Rep. Patrick Kirschman—Schoenbeck’s guy?

Kirschman’s advantage comes from his incumbent connections with legislators and lobbying groups. Kirschman’s report shows contributions from five candidate committees:

  • Rep. Dennis Feickert (D-1/Aberdeen): $100
  • Sen. Jim Peterson (D-4/Revillo): $125
  • Sen. Bernie Hunhoff (D-18/Yankton): $200
  • Rep. Arch Beal (R-12/Sioux Falls): $500
  • Rep. Lee Schoenbeck (R-5/Watertown): $1,000

All but Beal are retiring from the Legislature. The two Republicans, Beal and Schoenbeck, are giving Kirschman over three times more than his fellow Democratic Legislative supporters. (Hey! Schoenbeck! You gonna spread some of that GOP love for Dems up here in District 3?)

Kirschman’s $1,925 from five Legislative candidate committees beats the $1,250 that Nesiba received from two candidate committees:

  • Rep. Peggy Gibson (D-23/Huron): $1,000
  • Former Rep. Susy Blake (D-Sioux Falls): $250

However, Nesiba also received an individual contribution of $500 from former and future Rep. Susan Wismer (D-Britton), bringing him closer to Kirschman’s colleague take. Another $250 came from Susan Heidepriem, wife of former Democratic legislator Scott Heidepriem. So interestingly, these four legislatively connected ladies are backing Nesiba with just a bit more cash than Kirschman is getting from five guy pals from the Capitol.

Kirschman most clearly cleans up in PAC money. Kirschman lists $7,950 in contributions from 18 PACs. His biggest PAC backers, each chipping in $1,000, are the trial lawyers, the chiropractors, the realtors, the AFL-CIO. Nesiba has reported no PAC money. Evidently the lobbyists in Pierre prefer the Democrat they know to the Democrat whom they have to get to know.


  1. Rorschach 2016-05-31 16:46

    And here you see a fault line in District 15 politics. Rep. Kirschman has cornered the market on Catholic pro-life contributions. Dr. Nesiba has the support of pro-choice support.

    By the way, the Kirschman photo in this story is much better than the one he uses in his ad in the right hand column. The photo with the goatee presents Kirschman as the polished up blue collar man that he is. That plays well in District 15.

    I like both of these guys. They would probably agree on most issues. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out next week.

  2. grudznick 2016-05-31 18:27

    On the strength of his haircut alone, Mr. Kirschman receives the grudznick endorsement.

  3. mike from iowa 2016-05-31 19:48

    No offense,but, Kirschman looks eerily similar to former Minnesota guv Jesse “The Flake” Ventura.

  4. grudznick 2016-05-31 20:15

    Mr. Kirschman looks eerily similar to Mr. Kloucek as well. Almost identical, in fact, but with longer hair and the gravitas and confidence to sport a pony-tail while going forth with a glabrescent dome.

  5. Patrick Starr 2016-05-31 20:50

    This is why we are failing as Democrats. We fight with ourselves and spend limited funds to beat up one of our own. We could own all 3 seats in District 15 but we would rather primary an incumbent.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-05-31 22:00

    Ror, funny how a lot of money gets invested over one issue, one big enough to get two Republicans to throw in on a Dem primary.

    But tell me this, Ror: does abortion politics have anything to do with all the business and labor PACs throwing in with Kirschman?

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-05-31 22:02

    Patrick, don’t we have a lock on all three District 15 seats already? Does the Nesiba-Kirschman primary have any impact on Karen Soli’s ability to keep her seat in the House and Jamie Smith’s ability to hold Kirschman’s against the Indy challengers Leggett and Myers?

  8. Monty 2016-05-31 22:29

    My impression is Kirschman is an affable guy who gets along well with most of the folks in Pierre, including Republicans and lobbyists, and he has friends outside of the D caucus. Having his name on your bill won’t cost you votes and it might bring a couple votes along.

    Cory – Jenna Haggar got her start in 15 because of abortion politics.

  9. Rorschach 2016-05-31 23:16

    Kirschman is a union man – hence the American Federation of Labor/Council of Industrial Organizations. And maybe like you said, those other PACs just like him. My guess is that Lee Schoenbeck lined up the Trial Lawyers contribution and maybe the others as well. I don’t know that, but Lee is a power player – and a wily one. Keep your eye on him. Right grudz?

  10. Jeff Barth 2016-05-31 23:31

    I could use $20,000. Contribute to my Senate effort (no Primary) at

  11. Lee Schoenbeck 2016-06-01 05:26

    I didn’t line up the trial lawyers PAC Not involved with that PAC. I’m retiring from politics, but got to know Pat this past year. He’s a good person.

  12. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-06-01 05:34

    Kirschman is only a Democrat because he is in 15. Proposing and voting for a third penny sales tax for the cities and municipalities, certainly disqualifies him as progressive or liberal. If he is for working people and so good at getting bills passed as someone pointed out on an earlier Cory blog, why hasn’t he proposed a state income tax to level the tax gathering playing field?

  13. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-06-01 05:49

    Cory, unless I am mistaken, Myers is running for the Senate seat in 15. Since Mike Myers is a friend, I would have to vote for him if Kirschman were to be my preferred candidate.

    All of that Kirschman money explains why I have gotten at least nine mailings from him in the past 6 weeks, most of it personalized. That is far and away the most I have ever received on a district seat battle.

  14. Rorschach 2016-06-01 07:51

    I thought someone was running as an independent for the senate seat too, so I checked. Myers is running for the house. No indy in the senate race.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-01 08:05

    Lanny, do you have any sense of whether Kirschman’s mailings are working on your neighbors? Is Nesiba hitting the mailboxes, too?

  16. Troy 2016-06-01 08:09

    There are basically three kinds of legislators:

    1) Legislators who are highly partisan and/or ideological. They see nearly every issue in light of a larger struggle for justice and a better world.

    2) Legislators who are lazy and don’t do much preparatory work on the bills, especially those assigned to their committee.

    3) Legislators who work hard understanding the issues, analyzing the bill for unintended consequences, and find tweaks to insure the goal of the legislation has the greatest good. They listen to everyone who has an interest and discern the best solution.

    The reality is that less than 10% of the bills addressed every session are truly partisan or have ideological considerations. The other 90% are the mundane fixing, tweaking laws to make government work just a bit better. At the end of the day, we are best served when we have significantly more of #3 than the other two.

    Gil Goetze was a Democrat legislator who I disagreed with on every hot button partisan issue but day-in and day-out, I appreciated the effort and thinking he brought to process. On more than one occasion, even when he was going to vote against bills my office was advocating, he’d pull me aside and suggest a change to make it better. He’d make it clear he was going to speak vigorously in opposition but he didn’t let that stop him from offering improvement. I’m pretty sure Rorschach knows to which I refer.

    I don’t know if Kirshman is that kind of legislator or not because you have to be there watching everyday to make that judgment. But, support from Bernie and Lee indicate to me he certainly might be.

  17. Monty 2016-06-01 08:19

    Lanny, are you referring to 1116 allowing municipalities a temporary sales tax increase? Besides Kirschman, most D’s voted for it: Bartling, Gibson, Hawks, Hawley, Killer, McCleery, Ring, and Soli.

  18. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-06-01 08:21

    Troy, I think that you meant Gil Koetzle. He was a State Senator from 15 and a champion of working folks and veterans. He was also a pro life Democrat. He along with Clarence Koistra and Maggie Gillespie led the fight to try to get the bill passed to insist that all veterans returning from areas in which DU had been used, be tested for that poisoning. The then Governor Rounds got the bill defeated by having it brought back out after it was approved by both houses. The bill was hoghoused by Rhoden and changed in the House and then died in conference committee so that Rounds would not have to veto it. That was the beginning of my loathing of Rounds.

  19. Steve Sibson 2016-06-01 08:22

    “At the end of the day, we are best served when we have significantly more of #3 than the other two. ”

    I have to disagree. The application of Hegelian dialectics is what has moved America toward a collectivist state where a few are amazing more and more control and wealth at the expense of the rest of us. And “Gil Goetze” would be the last I would put in category 3. He told lobbyists he would vote against anything that I am for.

  20. Troy 2016-06-01 08:39

    Lanny, I typed that or think I did but autocorrect might have got me. Sidebar, I saw his wife on Memorial Day from a distance. She looked like she was doing well. Gil (and all the really good legislators) are so much more than what they are known for. They get up every day and work hard even when the issues aren’t of particular interest or skill set for them. Sometimes their probing gets the “expert” to think of something that could improve the bill. We have never had a shortage of people who will champion (and sometimes tilt at windmills) on the hot button issues but in my opinion we have never had enough who work hard without worrying about credit making things better on the issues where few people show up to testify in committee.

  21. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-06-01 10:57

    Cory, I have not had one mailing from Nesiba. I am in a new apartment building, a year ago, (had to move to a studio since the landlord raised the rent 30 bucks in two years at the old place.) So I don’t know many neighbors and have no idea on how the Kirschman mailings have affected them.

  22. Douglas Wiken 2016-06-01 11:04

    “Hegelian dialectic,n
    (Philosophy) philosophy an interpretive method in which the contradiction between a proposition (thesis) and its antithesis is resolved at a higher level of truth (synthesis)
    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

    Hege′lian dialec′tic,n.
    an interpretive method in which some assertible proposition (thesis) is necessarily opposed by an equally assertible and apparently contradictory proposition (antithesis), the contradiction being reconciled on a higher level of truth by a third proposition (synthesis).
    Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.”

    Not sure what this has to do with Steve’s assertion. Perhaps Steve can explain the philosophy to us.

  23. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-06-01 11:08

    Minty, I certainly am referring to HB1116. In the taxation committee, the twelve Republicans were split 6 to 6. If two of the three Dems, Bartling, Kirschman and the other escapes me, had voted to send the bill to the 41st day, it would have died, but they all voted no on the proposed referral and then with the same 6-6 split on the referral to the full house by the Repubs, the same three Dems voted yes and it went to the floor and passed and then passed the Senate committee to which it was referred.

    Just because 8 Democrats voted yes on the bill does not make it right. If it had passed the Senate, we would no be paying 7 1/2 cents on the dollar in SIoux Falls including on food.

    Where is the courageous Democrat that will propose a state income tax, particularly in light of a Republican, I believe Costello, saying last month that we need to go that direction rather than continually using sales tax to fund government?

  24. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-06-01 11:12

    Troy, I saw Deb at a wake service the weekend before last. She does seem to be doing okay. She has always been very active in serving the poor and working for social justice, as was Gil.

  25. Monty 2016-06-01 12:03

    Lanny – do you expect Nesiba to introduce an income tax?

  26. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2016-06-01 12:34

    This race in 15 is the all the more reason as to why all Democrats in South Dakota regardless of your position on abortion or who you support in this state senate primary race need to support and promote Amendment T in the fall general election – an amendment which will bring a non partisan twist to legislative redistricting in the future and one that is long overdue.

    It is obvious District 15 was and has been continually created or maintained in order to corral the most dense portion of the urban Democratic vote in Sioux Falls within one legislative district so that this partisan imbalance would not seep into other legislative districts, thus, preventing these other districts from becoming more politically competitive on a partisan level.

    The strategy of the Republican majority in Pierre towards District 15 is blatantly obvious to all. Whether there is further brilliance in the Republican strategy knowing that such a strong Democratic legislative district in the “Cathedral District” would also perpetuate a greater division within the Minnehaha and or South Dakota Democratic Party because of the issue of abortion I will leave to others to ponder or answer, but it has had an obvious collateral impact, no doubt.

    At the same time, I do not mean to marginalize the issue of abortion. It is a very important issue indeed, but since a majority of South Dakotans have twice voted down pro-life statutes in this state in the past ten years I do not think the Democratic Party in this state should continue to fight a fight of friendly fire amongst itself on this issue alone to no true avail other than to divide us and weaken us further in our fights with the Republicans each general election over all of the major issues of the day, which abortion is one of them but not the only one.

    So, whether you are opposed to one of the state senate candidates because you think he is just shopping for a winnable legislative district or against another because he has the minority position on abortion, remember that if Amendment T passes in the fall then Democratic candidates will no longer be able to shop for a legislative district in the future and the minority position of those who are pro life within the South Dakota Democratic Party will no longer have a natural or comfortable district to run in and win…

    Hopefully, Amendment T will prevail in the fall and the current political posturing in District 15 will be the last lime that we will see such a fight amongst two good Democrats fighting in a political arena that was unnaturally created to strength the Republicans and further weaken the Democratic Party in this state. And when Amendment T does pass as Democrats we will no longer be falling for the GOP bait and the GOP will finally be forced to live in the real world. A real world that as Democrats we know neither within the confines of a artificially created legislative district which creates fights which are academic at best but not relative to the real world amongst us as Democrats and as South Dakotans…..

    May the best man win on June 7th, but frankly, they are both very good men and both very good and productive Democrats, and we should be proud to have them both within our political party- And hopefully after June 7th we will all as Democrats heed a lesson learned and heal our political wounds from this race to take on the real adversary, which is the GOP and not the “other” Democrat or Democrats…and with the help of the passage of Amendment T in the fall, I believe this healing can finally be true and sustained for the betterment of our Party and our State…

  27. Troy 2016-06-01 12:43


    I think Steve misapplied the term and actually raises a point that supports my comment. HD stirs up conflict/dissent between two opposing forces requiring a “master” solution. My #3 legislator can’t/doesn’t get pulled into the conflict and thus never submits to the “master.”

  28. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-06-01 13:26

    Monty, I am not in his inner circle so I have no idea. I would presume that being a freshman legislator, he might wait until he could drum up some support on both sides of the aisle to make such a move and that would take at least until the second year of his first term.

    Mr Kennedy Claussen Sr, You wrote, “they are both very good men and both very good and productive Democrats, and we should be proud to have them both within our political party-”

    So it bothers you not, that Kirschman got $1500 from two Republican legislators to fund his campaign? Do you think that those two contributions might have any strings attached? Would they have donated to Kirschman if there were a Republican candidate to run against in the fall? Or are they looking for the most Republicanesque Democrat to join the Republican dominated legislature?

  29. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2016-06-01 13:55


    In my opinion, those two Republicans most likely contributed to Mr. Kirschman because he is pro-life like them – a reality that further supports my thesis about the division that is created from the brilliance of the GOPs strategy in terms of their formation and maintenance of the current District 15 political demographics and why we need to further pass Amendment T in the fall to end such partisan manipulation by the GOP.

    As to the issue of Republicans supporting Mr. Kirschman in general, the one reality that is missing from this blog piece is the fact that Mrs. Heidepriem, who contributed to Mr. Nesiba’s campaign, is actually a registered Republican I believe, unless I am stood to be corrected on that one now. I do know for certain, however, back in 2004, a year after Scott had changed his party registration based on a political piece then written by David Kranz of the Argus in 2003, that Susan Heidepriem appeared in a Daschle commercial (in 2004) claiming to be a “Republican for Daschle,” however.

    But frankly Lanny, the fact that you and I are having this current discourse is only further proof of the GOP brilliance when it comes to District 15, and why I hope it ends soon and forever with the passage of Amendment T in the fall, because you are a good Democrat and so am I…

  30. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-06-01 15:02

    No, Mr Kennedy Claussen Sr, I ceased being a good Democrat a long time ago. I choose instead to try to be a good American and a good South Dakotan. I never was a party firster, but realized when the Dems including our then two Democratic US Senators, voted to go to war in Iraq and voted yes on both of the Bush tax cuts, and in 2006 when both Johnson and Herseth Sandlin refused to quit funding that war, in spite of the fact that the overwhelming evidence was that it was a mistake to go into Iraq in the first place, that Republicans and Democrats are just two sides of the same coin.

    They are working for the oligarchs (that’s the banks and industry) and the Israeli lobby. If you have Netflix, watch Ethos and you will understand what I am talking about.

    At the state level, that translates into government inspired and coopted economic development. How do they do that since we don’t have the population? Increase taxes. Which taxes do they increase, why the ones that make everyone pay even those who will not be able to afford to take advantage of the economic development. To wit: Sioux Falls with its Events Center. So now, there have to be more hotels/motels built to house the athletes coming to participate and to house the folks with enough money to come from out of town to watch the concerts and ballgames and with the expansion of our medical facilities the folks going to our now regional healthcare facilities.

    That is why Mr Kirschman could see nothing wrong with a third penny sales tax, rather than taking the freeze off property taxes so that the folks with more property would be the ones to pay the more taxes.

  31. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2016-06-01 15:45


    Thank you for your clarification on your party affiliation, I stand corrected. Let me also just say that although I am still a registered Democrat, I do, however, heed your concerns over some of the votes that Senators Daschle and Johnson and Representative Sandlin made in the past decade, but unlike you I have decided to stay a Democrat because I am a strong believer in the two party system – a system which gives the only potential hope to a real give and take on the issues.

    Although, the aforementioned congressional votes from a decade past may partially indict my efficacy for the two party system, I believe that in the absence of a two party system that over time an undefined ominous political gathering of voters and candidates without political affiliation would definitely assure an ushering in sooner and more sustainable of a politics of oligarchy over democracy, which only an actual revolution could solve, while a two party system intact would offer the natural capability, whenever truly necessary, of a give and take on issues in a more civil manner with an established regulatory avenue on which to politically debate and solve the issues of our time with a political struggle between two established political parties in hand, that are ready, able, and capable.

    As to your concern over sales taxes, I, too, am concerned about the idea of sales taxes and their regressive nature. That is why I, unlike Mr. Kirschman and Mr. Nesiba, opposed HB 1182. I did not oppose that bill because I was against raising teacher pay. Actually, I am very much for this idea, but I still would like to know why we had to raise the sales tax in South Dakota to give our teachers a pay raise, which meant a further dependency and granting of legitimacy to that form of taxation in our state, while at the same time the same legislature found $ 46 million dollars in the next state budget to pay off some of our States obligations early so that they could then funnel $ 13 million to the counties from the savings of potential future interest costs from those earlier then planned paid off obligations? We should have used that $ 46 million along with a one-time zero base budgeting assessment of all state needs to adequately find the money to increase teacher pay without increasing the sales tax. But unfortunately, neither of our state senate candidates in District 15 have seen the light on this issue nor have admitted that the state had $ 46 million just laying around to pay off obligations early while they struggled to find monies for teacher pay and increased the sales tax instead….That is the real issue with sale taxes in South Dakota, which Mr. Kirschman and Mr. Nesiba need to answer too. And better yet, since that $ 46 million dollar payment was a one time payment, then mostly likely that $ 46 million non obligated windfall will reappear in the next legislative session and when it does, how do Mr. Kirschman and Mr. Nesiba want to spend it? Or better, should we use it along with zero base budgeting to eliminate the 1/2 cent increase in the State’s sales tax which went into effect today?

  32. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-06-01 16:54

    Well John, I am not sure how long you have read this blog, but I have said for a long time, at least 15 years that we need to raise teacher pay. I have also been the most vociferous poster on this blog, that HB1182 was not the way to do it. It is not as if the teachers are the only ones in this state who are underpaid.

    I will never understand how any person of either party or any persuasion, teachers included, could find that it is just to tax those making minimum wage or on fixed income with a sales tax to pay for an increase in pay for the teachers.

    I have been told by many posters on this blog that it was the only way to get the job done, but if it was the only way, then in my humble opinion, it should have waited until another way could have been found.

    To make matters worse the governor had to put a stipulation in the bill, a bribe if you will, to have 40% of the funds raised by the increase in tax, to go for property tax relief. That made the bill palatable to some, who otherwise would have opposed it.

  33. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2016-06-01 17:42


    I totally agree with your last assessment.

    In fairness to all, I do understand pragmatically how political events surrounding the passage of HB 1182 shook out as they did, because it is much easier to get the public to accept a sales tax increase for kids and teachers than just for the counties.

    But the lack of criticism from the Democratic Party leadership in Pierre and throughout the state during the last legislative session over not if, but how we would fund increased teacher pay was just astounding to me. Democrats in South Dakota use to be the party of a progressive income tax, then we became the party opposed to enhancing the sales tax through our opposition over the years to the REDI funding mechanism and the medical gross receipts “sick tax,” but now we are apparently tolerant of sales taxes and even their increases…. In 2016, as Democrats we had the opportunity to take the Republicans in Pierre to the robes on how we would fund increased teacher pay, but instead, however, we decided to be their water boy when it came to how we would fund increased teacher pay…unfortunately….

  34. Darin Larson 2016-06-01 19:03

    JKC, You say “In 2016, as Democrats we had the opportunity to take the Republicans in Pierre to the robes on how we would fund increased teacher pay, but instead, however, we decided to be their water boy when it came to how we would fund increased teacher pay…unfortunately”

    Let’s be clear, there was no opportunity to take the Republicans to the ropes. There was only an opportunity to drive education funding over the figurative cliff Thelma and Louise style. There was only an opportunity to aid the “Dark Agers” and Tea Party types defeat education funding. The bill passed with no votes to spare if you recall. If the Democrats played hardball and overplayed their hand, 1182 would have been dead on arrival and the Republicans could have blamed the Democrats for its failure. Thus, Republicans would have had political cover for failing to adequately fund education.

    In my opinion, the amazing thing was getting a strong majority of Republicans to vote for a tax increase for education. Democrats didn’t carry the water, Republicans, including the governor, carried the water! You have all kinds of Republican in-fighting and gnashing of teeth because they enacted a tax increase for education. Stop and think about that!

    Democrats could have torpedoed the whole deal to stand on principle. That would have been a disaster for the state education system, first, and destroyed Democrats’ leadership on educational issues in this state, second. Lastly, voters will not blame Democrats for the half penny sales tax increase, but they would have blamed Democrats for failing to support education.

    You can’t combine every issue that comes up with the taxation issue. You can’t put everything on hold right now and insist on changing our system of taxation. Republicans have decided our citizens are going to be taxed regressively. They have used their political power to institute the current system and it will take years to change this situation. We can’t compound the error by not funding education adequately or waiting years for our citizens to support a progressive income tax.

    Democrats had to do what was best for SD and that was clearly getting our teacher pay back to respectability once again. Furthermore, the half penny is ongoing revenue that should rise with an expanding state economy through the years. This lessens the future battles that would otherwise be fought over education funding. This was the right call and the only viable path forward for South Dakota as well as Democrats.

  35. Rorschach 2016-06-01 19:12

    I agree with Darin. As long as we have tried unsuccessfully to raise teacher/staff pay in a state with lopsided one party government, there was really no other viable option than to assist Republicans in enacting a plan of their choice. Democrats simply did not have the votes to accomplish this important goal any other way. The fact that the parties can still work together in SD sets us apart from everything we all hate about the federal government.

  36. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-06-01 19:13

    Darin, you got your teacher pay increase and you got it funded the way you wanted it funded. Be gracious enough to give two other people, one a Democrat, like you apparently are, and one who is not, the opportunity to express another point of view without you coming in and saying that it was your way or the highway.

  37. Darin Larson 2016-06-01 19:15

    Lanny, it wasn’t my way. It was the only way it would pass.

  38. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2016-06-01 21:04


    You and I have had this same exact debate here on the DFP back in February. But it is summer time now or close to it, so I guess its “Rerun Season.” ;-)

    If the Republicans are the ones who really carried the ball on this, then how could have the Democrats been capable of any kind of train wreck, “torpedo,” or “Thelma and Louise” moment on this issue? If any thing, had the Democrats raised the issue about the $ 46 million dollars or even the idea of zero based budgeting early on or even before the legislative session began there would have been ample time to iron out a deal that would have not included a sales tax increase, which would have made most rank file Republicans even more happy then Democrats, you would think.

    We all know how many Republicans were eventually for or against HB 1182, but how many Republicans were for an increase in teacher pay without a tax increase of any sort was never publicly asked or known. My guess is that it would have been substantial, but the Democrats never seized on that issue during the session and without doing this demurred to the Governor and his simple majority of Republicans who were willing to go along with him from day one – which resulted in a regressive tax increase for the working poor, property tax relief for the ownership class, and the ability for a Republican governor to keep his budget and the size of his patronizing government as he wanted.

    I have never called for the Democrats to “torpedo” the teacher pay initiative in Pierre nor would have my thoughts on this measure ever have done so. A legislative session does not last a day or a week rather two months and HB 1182 did not even come before the full House until the Thursday of the sixth week. There was plenty of time to debate and lobby this issue and come up with other solvencies. In fact, the reality that on Thursday the bill failed, but on the following Monday it passed the House proves that our system works and people can have a honest discussion of issues without it necessarily being “torpedoed.”

    As far as your doom and gloom forecast for the Democratic Party had the Democrats shown any hardball efforts in Pierre on the teacher pay issue. Well, let me just say there would have been nothing lost politically for the Democratic Party, if you were right, because as it stands currently we have no statewide officeholders and those legislators that we do have are the result of established political names and or pocket constituencies of Democratic voters who never fail their Democratic candidates. Plus, I am confidant your fear is not well founded because the Governor, the Democrats, and willing “from day one Republicans” would have never left Pierre without some form of increased pay for teachers. Let us not forget, that initially like it or not HB 1182 did not have any property tax relief in it nor did it even mention the word “education” in it, but those amendments are proof that the system does and can work if you let it and in my estimation Democrats with my strategy could have realistically exercised an opportunity for alternatives to the HB 1182 funding source, but sadly they never did….

    Right now, Democrats are not relevant in South Dakota, politically that is, because we fail to step up to the soapbox too often and give the people of South Dakota an alternative, rather we have become “water boys.” But I will note, that last winter in Pierre we were potentially relevant for a moment, but we did not take the initiative to be heard nor offer any true and fair alternative.

    As far as making every issue an issue on taxation, well, I would agree that sweeping tax reform in this state is most likely a pipe dream, but let us not make it any worse by legitimatizing or becoming grossly more dependent upon a very regressive tax system – an income tax is one thing, but the further burying of ourselves into the current sales tax system is a whole other problem which you are only further exacerbating when you enhance its existence.

    In conclusion, you are right that teachers did receive a much deserving pay raise, but it was a pay raise still not equal to surrounding states, a pay raise attached to a funding formula that will ask many school districts in this state to fire some in order to pay others more, a pay increase upon the backs of the working poor while the ownership class snuck a property tax relief measure into this Act, and lastly a pay increase and education formula with a funding source which is increasing dependent upon a sales tax system which is vulnerable to the growing realities of out-of-state ecommerce businesses and the hope that the SCOTUS might just changed its stance in the near future on the right of states to collect sales taxes from such out-of-state ecommerce businesses… But you see that is exactly what happens when political parties do not do their job and demur to the other party and or the ownership class… Good intentions overtime can become bad policy… But there is a caveat to all of this, which speaks directly to your concern over the political reality of any meaningful tax reform in this state, and that is that the further dependency of our state upon sales tax receipts from brick and mortar stores will most likely begin to collapse and without the help of the SCOTUS soon (and there is no promise there) the state will be forced into a meaningful discussion about real tax reform…and all because some did not want to go there in the past and thought they were so smart in avoiding that issue in time and place….So I guess true and meaningful tax reform might be realistic after all thanks to measures like HB 1182…..but was that its real intent and does government really need to work this way or have its political parties act this way in order to get something meaningfully done? I do not think so, but sadly for now it is the world we are being forced to live in…

  39. grudznick 2016-06-01 21:22

    If you have to have a tax, sales tax is the best one.

  40. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-06-01 21:25

    Your analysis was so good and so true, John. I hope every would be Democratic legislator, nay, every would be legislator reads it.

  41. Darin Larson 2016-06-01 23:13

    JKC, yes it is summer rerun season! I couldn’t let you and Lanny revisit this issue without me. :)

    The people best equipped to make the call on this–the Democrats in the House and Senate–all voted in favor of 1182 with one notable exception. You are playing monday morning quarterback and assuming facts not in evidence to put it mildly when you question their strategy here.

    In sum, the victory for ongoing education funding far outweighs the detriment of the small increase in the sales tax for the vast majority of South Dakotans.

    Let’s fight one battle at a time. Only then can we win the war. I’m sure Sun Tzu probably said something supporting me on this.

  42. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-06-01 23:20

    Now I remember why I left this blog a couple of months ago. Maybe this time I will have the resolve to stay away. Some people just have to have their cake and eat it too.

  43. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2016-06-02 02:28

    Darin, I am afraid you and I could debate this issue forever quite frankly. But just for fun I thought I would response.

    I am not a “Monday morning quarterback” because there has to have been a game played on Sunday in order to be one and I allege the game never happened. As Democrats the State Party held a press conference prior to the session in support of a 1% increase in the state’s sales tax and a removal of the sales tax on food to fund teacher pay, then the next thing I now roughly seven weeks later, in the ninth inning, it all a sudden is just about the Governor’s plan with no obvious Democratic influence in it or any legitimate partisan discussion about the issue to be found…In my opinion, this reality is not an example of democracy nor a legitimate two party system.

    And a 1/2 cent increase in the state’s sales tax is not “small.” It is a 12.5% increase overnight in the overall potential revenue for the state through the current sales tax levy system – and a levy which is very precarious at best, in terms of its long term capabilities when you consider the same legislature found it necessary to pass a piece of legislation to test at the federal level the right of states like South Dakota to force out- of-state ecommerce businesses to collect sales taxes for them. Not to mention that every time we further legitimize the sales tax levy in this state we are only further removing ourselves from a honest discussion about tax equity in this state; and that discussion needs to happen if we are ever going to “fight one battle at a time….(and) Only then can we win the war.”

    And for the war analogy itself, well, frankly there is no war, but I do see a lot of appeasement going on. I guess that is why there is no war….

  44. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-06-02 11:34

    My, my, my! I just looked at candidate Kirschman’s filing with the SOS for candidacy in 2016. I see that he is a part time employee of the City of Sioux Falls. Wouldn’t that make his sponsorship of HB1116 a conflict of interest? Maybe Troy can weigh in on that.

  45. Steve Sibson 2016-06-02 11:48

    “Democrats didn’t carry the water, Republicans, including the governor, carried the water!”

    Both parties carried the tax and spend water bucket together. Stop pretending to be different.

  46. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2016-06-02 13:49


    The Republican money which you have identified in the District 15 Democratic primary race is further proof of the brilliance or metastatic qualities of the GOP strategy when it comes to District 15. Not only has the GOP bunched a good share of the Democratic vote within one legislative district and created a political cesspool of activity which allows for a proxy war between the pro-choice and pro-life forces within South Dakota and the South Dakota Democratic Party, but the result of these realities has also entertained the ability for some to claim that they are more Democratic than another, thus further dividing the Party even more down the road…. There is really only one answer to this problem that is to vote “Yes” on Amendment T next fall!

  47. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-02 14:35

    Good point, John KC. Stick us all in a box where we have no Republicans to wrestle with, and we wrestle with each other, sapping strength that’s better used in the general and in the Legislature to fight for the things on which we agree.

    Curious: can anyone recall Democratic primaries in any other district fought with the same vigor as these District 15 primaries? This doesn’t happen up in District 1, does it?

  48. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2016-06-02 16:26

    Good catch Monty! I forgot about that race. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Bernie beat Jim by a six vote margin which was heavily dependent upon a lopsided vote for Bernie coming out of the Mont Marty precinct area, which is analogous in one particularly obvious way to the Cathedral region of District 15 in Sioux Falls.

    But the good news for all from that past political battle is that both Bernie and Jim then moved on to become great and significant leaders in the South Dakota Democratic Party and in the arenas of academia and publishing as well.

    However, the battle between Jim and Rick (Weiland) in ’96 helped to give us Thune after they had a feud over who was a more true Democrat, because camp Weiland had proven that the Abbott family had contributed to Republican Bill Janklow’s campaign war chest in the past; which is only further proof of how campaigns of name calling about who is the real Democrat can be very divisive for a political party, but that a campaign between pro-choice and pro-life candidates can lead to a positive outcome for both candidates and party at times… but sadly not so much in District 15 from a historic perspective, however, and all the more reason to divide 15 up and hand out that Democratic vote to legislative districts 9,10,11,13,14, and 25 in the Sioux Falls area in the future with the help of the passage of Amendment T….

  49. Monty 2016-06-02 21:05

    JKCS: 8 votes, and 19 counts of a class 2 misdemeanor.

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