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More Campaign Finance: District 25 Democrats Sweating Primary Less Than Republicans

In more news from the “Almost Nothing to See Here” Department, District 25 Democrats are spending almost nothing on their primary campaigns for two House slots on the November ballot.

Former legislator Dan Ahlers from Dell Rapids reports $200 in individual contributions and $250 from the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations. His campaign owes Performance Press (of Brandon?) $74.20 and has just about $1,300 in cash on hand.

David Haagenson of Baltic is running on magic—no income, no expenses.

I can find no documents for Colton muscleman Ryan Paul Tellberg on the Secretary of State’s Campaign Finance Reporting System. That could be an error on the Pierre end—it wouldn’t be the first time this spring a candidate has filed the proper papers but the SOS team hasn’t timely posted them online. Or it could be that Tellberg, stung by his loss in the Colton Ward 3 City Council election in April, has hung up his political hat.

District 25 Republicans have their own three-way House primary and are spending a bit more on their efforts than the Democrats. Incumbent Roger Hunt of Brandon wants to go back to Pierre and do more damage to equality and decency. To forward his backwardness, Rep. Hunt reports $3,350 in support from six South Dakota PACs (realtors, chiropractors, contractors, bankers, retailers, and trial lawyers) and $200 each from the Lee Qualm and Bill Van Gerpen campaign committees. Rep. hunt gave $180 to the House GOP PAC, then spent $1,347.97 for his own campaign. He owes the Garretson Gazette $332.52 and has $4,248.95 on hand for further propaganda.

Courtney Ecklund of Brandon appears to be the son of Scott Ecklund, who served one term in the House for District 25 in 2013 and 2014. Roger Hunt served as Scott Ecklund’s treasurer in the 2012 campaign. Courtney Ecklund’s pre-primary report lists the same address as Scott and Allison Ecklund, who have contributed $500 of his $550 in individual donations and $114.77 of his $607.54 in in-kind contributions. Lee Qualm’s campaign committee kicked in another $200. Roger Hunt bought Courtney a $298.26 campaign ad, and Courtney has spent $194.51 of his own money on vinyl campaign stickers and a leather notebook. Courtney has $750 on hand.

Tom Pischke of Dell Rapids has raised $1,137.19, but $1,000 of that comes from two $500 contributions from donors outside of his district. He has spent $1,111.37 on advertising and the voter registration list and has loaned his campaign another $1,000. Pischke thus has $1025.82 on hand.


  1. Darin Larson 2016-06-04

    Cory, you will have to look again. Ryan Tellberg filed a notice of termination of his candidacy along with his campaign finance report on May 25.

    David Haagenson and his lowly campaign manager are both farmers in their day jobs, so a primary was not the first priority this spring. I expect a ramp up in efforts for Mr. Haagenson for the general election.

    Dan Ahlers is relatively well known and respected from his past service in the legislature. He should be a formidable candidate for the Democrats in the fall.

    Hunt and Ecklund have formed an unholy alliance against Pischke.

    Thus, it will probably shape up as Ahlers and Haagenson for the Democrats against Hunt and Ecklund.

    Hunt’s opposition to properly funding education in his prior tenure in the legislature as well as his votes against funding the teacher pay initiative will be fodder for the campaign.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-04

    Really? Where… ah, there it is, under Terminated! I was only searching under “Active.” Thanks, Darin… and congratulations to David and Dan on their default primary victory! Did Tellberg say anything to you guys about why he was quitting?

    Hunt and Ecklund: do they have any particular beef against Pischke, other than that he endangers their power? And does Pischke have any base that could help him pull off an upset?

    You do have the plan for November right: focus on Hunt’s failure to support teachers the entire time he’s been in the Legislature. Too much time fussing about kids britches, not enough about making sure teachers get enough pay in their pockets.

  3. Darin Larson 2016-06-04

    We have not heard why Tellberg terminated his candidacy. There is plenty of other work to do in public service for this state and local area so I hope he finds a role.

    Ecklund and Hunt are both from the same area and I’m sure are well acquainted as you alluded to. Pischke is a proponent of shared custody of children in divorce proceedings. I’m sure this was born out of personal experience. I think that’s his big issue.

    I don’t know what Pischke’s voting base might be but he will look to draw support from the Dell Rapids area I’m sure. He would be the underdog since Hunt is an incumbent and Ecklund has some name recognition from his father’s short stint in the legislature. It’s unfortunate that Ecklund has tied his star to Hunt who needs to be retired for so many reasons.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-05

    Darin, does Pischke’s focus on custody issues sound like a solid policy position or just an extension of a personal crusade rooted in a family conflict?

  5. Darin Larson 2016-06-05

    Cory, I hesitate to comment on this issue without more research on my part as I am admittedly not that familiar with current family law in SD. With that advisory warning, I am sympathetic to his position in that the parent with primary physical custody can stifle the involvement of the other parent in worst case scenarios. On the other hand, what is in the best interests of the children (such as stability and routine) may not be in the best interest of a parent without physical custody. In theory, Pischke’s position is worth some study.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-06

    I hesitate too, Darin. I do not like to get into candidates’ family issues. Generally no good comes from that.

Comments are closed.