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Huelskamp Fails Agriculture, Loses House Seat; Implications for Noem/Hawks Contest?

Quick reach for a political parallel: Could Rep. Tim Huelskamp’s loss in the Kansas primary signal danger for Rep. Kristi Noem in the South Dakota general election?

Tea Party Republican Huelskamp got thumped by moderate Roger Marshall Tuesday, along with a number of conservative Kansas legislators in blowback from the failure of Governor Sam Brownback’s Grover-Norquistism. Further fueling Huelskamp’s loss was his failure to represent agriculture interests in a largely agricultural district. He voted against the Farm Bill in 2013 because it didn’t cut food stamps enough for his Tea Party tastes. His Tea Partying also cost Kansas its seat on the House Agriculture Committee:

What made Huelskamp’s vote especially damaging was that he no longer served on the House Agriculture Committee. He had been booted from the panel the previous December by then-Speaker John Boehner as punishment for voting repeatedly against the party leadership during the GOP’s first term in the majority. In other words: Huelskamp couldn’t even tell his constituents that he had battled inside the committee for a stronger bill to better represent their interests, because he no longer served on the committee [Tim Alberta, “A Lesson from Tim Huelskamp’s Loss,” National Review, 2016.08.03].

Although farm subsidy queen Kristi Noem backed Huelskamp’s drive to cut food stamps, she still had the good sense to vote for the Farm Bill. She’s also been smarter about kissing up the Speakers of the House. Nonetheless, Noem couldn’t get the Farm Bill passed on time. Worse, she abdicated her seat on House Ag by choice, a dereliction of duty of which Democratic challenger Rep. Paula Hawks has been making great hay.

Kansas farm voters recognized that a Tea Party ideologue wasn’t serving their practical needs and replaced him with a moderate Republican. Would it be that hard for South Dakota farm voters to recognize that their own Congresswoman is similarly slow at representing their practical interests and choose a pragmatic Democrat to do the job right?


  1. Jerry 2016-08-04 09:48

    Hawks needs to keep hammering on NOem for being an obstructionist to South Dakota’s main industry.

  2. Rorschach 2016-08-04 09:50

    Huelskamp lost to a well-funded Republican in a primary. His opponent was backed by a lot of big interest groups, including farm groups. Those dynamics are not present here.

  3. Jerry 2016-08-04 10:35

    What dynamics are here then? If Ag is off the table for discussion, what is the reason an obstructionist keeps her office?

  4. Jenny 2016-08-04 10:53

    You’re dreaming Cory, Noem is SDs GOP Princess and will be for a very long time.

  5. W R Old Guy 2016-08-04 11:39

    Rors is right. Big Ag and the Chamber of Commerce spent a lot of money to defeat Huelskamp.
    Note that Brownback lost at least 11 of his supporters in the state legislature to moderates because the people of Kansas are fed up with Brownback’s trashing of the state’s economy,
    infastructure and education.

    We do not have that type of issue in SD at this point.

    The big test will come the the remaining primaries such as Wisconsin where Ryan is facing a challenge and Arizona where McCain is in a close race.

  6. mike from iowa 2016-08-04 11:43

    Wisconsin recently moved their primary to August because the students at Uni would still be on vacation. Less student voters, less votes for Dems.

  7. Snaillady 2016-08-04 11:52

    I believe you’re the one that’s dreaming Jenny. Voters across this state, and across the country, are sick and tired of the status quo. NOem is indeed a princess of the party of no.

  8. Douglas Wiken 2016-08-04 12:01

    Ways and Means may be the most powerful house committee. When I was at the U of Rochester, I took Richard Fenno’s grad course based on his book. He was particularly unimpressed with the performance of SD’s Ben Reifel. Perhaps Noem is equally ineffective on that committee. I really don’t know and also obviously think she should be replaced, but what can be done on the Ag Committee for SD and what can be done on Ways and Means may be a toss up. Below is a link with some update info on Fenno’s book POWER OF THE PURSE.

  9. Douglas Wiken 2016-08-04 12:10

    Fenno’s book does not appear to still be available. It is referenced in several other articlses however. One in the above links indicates the power of the committee has been split into both house and senate committees, so power of individual members may have been significantly reduced since Fenno wrote book in 1966.

  10. Jenny 2016-08-04 12:15

    Hawks will be lucky if she gets 35% of the vote.

  11. BIll DIthmer 2016-08-04 13:09

    Wow Cory, your really grasping at straws

    Hawks needed to be where she is now 18 months ago to have any chance at alj. The cheerleade will cruse to victory mostly because the SDDP doesnt have a clue how to win in a bright red state.

    Jenny is right, the house race in SD was over before Hawks even turned in her petition. fair, Hawks is probably a heck of a nice person, but she needed to be put in a better posistion then the anemic SDDP could handle.

    The Blindman

  12. David Newquist 2016-08-04 14:51

    Some of these comments reveal why it is almost impossible to recruit candidates for the Democrats. Many potential candidates have pointed to such comments and said, what would be the point in trying?

  13. Jerry 2016-08-04 15:26

    Maybe the next president can combine Ways And Means with AG as they both seem interchangeable. We voters here probably think that they are the same anyway as she has done nothing and will continue to do nothing. Nothing from nothing leaves nothing. Vote NOem for the void, it is the red state way.

  14. Rorschach 2016-08-04 15:54

    Any potential candidate who would be dissuaded from running because of a few blog comments – some of them anonymous – is too fragile to run a campaign for a big league position.

  15. Jerry 2016-08-04 16:40

    What potntial candidates may see is that in looking at some comments, they could kind of figure out that small donors would not be countd on to contribute. Here, ya gotta self fund like this feller did along with big donors. The NOem has those deep pocketed donors so the SDDP needs to be changed in such a way that the new crew can get the money from out of state to be competetive in races.

  16. Ben Cerwinske 2016-08-04 17:26

    While I’m supporting Hawks, I’m not highly persuaded by the committee issue. The Ways and Means committee is more prestigious. If it had been a different committee that would be another thing. But then again I’m a city boy.

  17. Rorschach 2016-08-04 18:51

    What the SDDP needs is a wealthy self-funder like Brendan Johnson. Besides his own wealth, Brendan can count on Tim Johnson’s war chest which is just sitting there waiting to be shoveled through whatever channels are necessary for it to get to Brendan’s eventual campaign. Maybe 2018 is his year if Rep. Noem runs for governor. Like was done for Marty Jackley, Brendan has been well set up for a run for office with a plum political appointment. Now it’s up to him to step up to the plate and put his name on the ballot.

  18. Don Coyote 2016-08-04 18:53

    @Jerry: “Maybe the next president can combine Ways And Means with AG as they both seem interchangeable”

    Not a chance. It’s not in the President’s powers to organize Congress. That power lies with the respective house in Congress.

  19. Mlarson 2016-08-04 18:55

    It will take More to start talking like Trump and call Daugaard a terrorist and claim that the SD National Hairs are worthless tools of Hillary Clinton for SD citizens to begin to care. That is the sad truth. Most don’t know what a committee does. Any of them.

  20. mike from iowa 2016-08-04 19:06

    respective house in Congress.

    You’re joking, right?

  21. Don Coyote 2016-08-04 19:25

    Article 1, Section 5:

    “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings,…”

  22. mike from iowa 2016-08-04 19:42

    I knew you would do that, DC. I was talking about either house of congress being respected by anyone.

  23. mike from iowa 2016-08-04 19:45

    Johnson doesn’t get a pass until he comes up with some credible answers on EB-5 investigation and why no charges were filed, imho.

  24. David Newquist 2016-08-04 20:48

    The comments don’t dissuade people from running because they are fragile; they don’t run because they are shrewd enough to recognize that an effort is useless when you are dismissed and undercut by your own party. People keep complaining about the weakness within the SDDP, but it never seems to occur to them, as some former candidates have pointed out, that they are the weakness.

  25. jerry 2016-08-04 21:04

    So, what is the answer? It seems that the SDDP is not doing a very good job of recruiting and of finding ways in which to get the people engaged. If you take a look at the county levels, there are few counties that are even represented. That tells me that that maybe some of those elected are well centered republicans.

  26. Rorschach 2016-08-04 21:49

    SDDP has to expand the pool of both donors and party activists. Going back to the same few and asking them to give more time, give more money, burns people out – especially those with limited time and/or money who have already given till it hurts. The organization that the party needs to do cannot be done strictly with volunteers. It will take paid boots on the ground, which costs money. There are people of great means within the SDDP who are neither doing their share nor contributing their share. Those people know who they are, and so does everybody else.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-04 22:58

    Does Ways and Means matter as much now that we’ve gotten rid of earmarks?

  28. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-04 23:00

    Ror, aren’t wealthy self-funders a recipe for a constantly weak and dependent party? How do we draw in the wealth to jumpstart the organization to run well on its own?

  29. barry freed 2016-08-05 07:13

    In SD, one sentence will destroy Hawks: “Like Hillobama, Hawks will confiscate your guns”

    Now that’s settled, who’s running is 2018?

  30. Owen 2016-08-05 08:10

    Kansas. Your Tea Party in action.

    No. Nobody is coming for anyone’s guns

  31. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-05 08:13

    Barry, I sure wish we could campaign on reality. Agriculture mattered enough to Kansas voters to replace a Tea Partier; why won’t tha thappen here? Do farmers really care more about guns than about the Farm Bill?

  32. Bill Dithmer 2016-08-05 08:29

    Why arent my post getting through Cory?

    The Blindman

  33. mike from iowa 2016-08-05 08:41

    Reality? Drumpf’s wingnut supporters say he is extremely humble and doesn’t like to talk about himself. Okaaaay.

  34. Rorschach 2016-08-05 08:43

    “Ror, aren’t wealthy self-funders a recipe for a constantly weak and dependent party?”

    I don’t know Cory. Did Mark Dayton make the Minnesota Democratic Party weak?

  35. Don Coyote 2016-08-05 08:58

    @cah: “Agriculture mattered enough to Kansas voters to replace a Tea Partier; why won’t that happen here?”

    Kansas has 4 congressional districts. The 1st district covers northern and western Kansas which is rural/agricultural. The urban interests in Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita are represented by their own congressmen.

    South Dakota being a at large district in the House, means Noem not only has to be a voice for rural but city/urban interests. Since Ways and Means deals not only with tax policy but also Social Security, Medicare, unemployment benefits and TANF, a broader range of the citizenry is represented. By having a seat on Ways and Means, South Dakota with it’s lone representative increases it’s influence over a broader range of issues than it could by having an Ag seat.

  36. Don Coyote 2016-08-05 09:02

    @cah: “Does Ways and Means matter as much now that we’ve gotten rid of earmarks?”

    Appropriations was the committee where earmarks were used extensively. Ways and Means not so much. In fact Ag was responsible for a greater dollar amount of earmarks than Ways and Means was.

  37. Loren 2016-08-05 09:09

    Hey, Don, when was the last time Noem had any influence on any committee?

  38. Don Coyote 2016-08-05 09:14

    @Loren: Then according to your logic, it shouldn’t matter if she sits on Ag either, undercutting Hawkes and Cory’s arguments.

  39. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-05 09:41

    [Bill D, which posts? That one got through! I don’t see any in the moderation queue. Any error messages on your end?]

  40. Rorschach 2016-08-05 10:07

    Noem got herself onto the most powerful committee in the House – Ways and Means. Taking that committee if you can get it is an easy decision. I’m not a Noem supporter and never will be, but this is an area of criticism that targets people’s lack of knowledge about how the US House works. The dumbing down of America continues.

  41. Jerry 2016-08-05 10:19

    Maybe they will loose the House. For most reps that get on this, they try to do things for their districts or their state. Don’t hold your breath waiting for this dingaling to do anything like that.

  42. Loren 2016-08-05 10:30

    That’s right, Don. If she is ineffective for SD, what difference does it make. I am not a fan, but anyone that would do anything for SD would be a step in the right direction. Tell me it is her intellect and job performance that keeps getting her elected and not her horse and designer jeans.

  43. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-05 11:26

    Coyote, I have yet to see Noem pretend to represent “urban” interests. She doesn’t talk urban. She doesn’t dress urban. She doesn’t campaign urban. She plays to the same sentiment that spots challengers ten points over Mickelson and Huether just because Mickelson and Huether are from Sioux Falls. You’re trying to write speeches for Noem that she never gives.

    I leave open for debate whether any part of South Dakota can truly be called “urban”.

  44. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-05 11:28

    And Coyote, if you want to grant us Noem’s utter ineffectiveness, I will happily cede any advantage we gain from the Ag-abdication argument.

  45. Don Coyote 2016-08-05 13:33

    Sorry to disappoint you Cory, I was just using Loren’s faulty logic to point out the fallacy of Hawkes argument that an Ag seat means more than a Ways & Means seat.

    And while you might disagree that Sioux Falls and Rapid aren’t urban, they sure aren’t rural. Call them what you want, Noem has a greater chance to influence public policy that affects more South Dakota citizens on W&M than Ag. All single district States are at a disadvantage because of the numbers.

  46. Roger Cornelius 2016-08-05 14:37

    Ways and Means usually has some pretty intelligent members, both republican and Democrat, is Noem smart enough to serve on the committee?
    Remind yourselves of her service on the Ag committee and how long it took her to get President Obama a farm to sign. If she had any political intelligence and power she sure didn’t exhibit it with her snail like approach on the farm bill.
    Maybe she should go on Ways and Means since she didn’t accomplish much on the Ag committee.
    There are probably more competent representatives around the country that will represent South Dakota’s agricultural community better.

  47. Adam 2016-08-05 16:41

    Kristi Noem is nothing more than an anti-liberal broken record – repeating the same rhetoric as New Trump Party every time she talks. A plastic inanimate Barbie doll would be just as effective in the U.S. House and probably have more personality too.

  48. Douglas Wiken 2016-08-05 16:59

    Whatever is the relative power of Ag or Ways and Means, the questions here indicate Hawks needs to find better issues and document those she uses better.

    Democratic candidates will not automatically get contributions and support because of the D after their name if they send out mediocre fundraising appeals, select mediocre logos for their mailings, or as some who think they can rely on Facebook, etc and not bother knocking on doors.

    There are real issues in SD and with GOP candidates, but that does not automatically doom them in a state filled with know-nothing Republicans who would vote for a mongrel dog if it had R after its name. Vote Canis R. Rover, R.

  49. Adam 2016-08-05 17:53

    Kristi Noem is nothing more than an anti-liberal broken record – repeating the same rhetoric our New Trump Party every time she talks. A plastic inanimate object like a Barbie doll would be just as effective in the U.S. House and probably have more personality too.

  50. bearcreekbat 2016-08-05 18:00

    I wonder what particular federal matters that directly affect South Dakotans that Noem failed to do, or should have done? If there are specific legislative matters that Noem could have or should have affected, but failed to deal with, then those matters need to be put in front of the public if Hawks has any chance to convince SD voters that she could do more than Noem. Otherwise we seem to be back to slogans and meaningless talking points.

    At least we have EB5 and GEARUP on the state level for Democratic candidates to address, although it will take some effort to get enough voters fired up to make changes. But on the federal level, what are the SD issues that Noem, as our representative, has failed to deal with?

  51. leslie 2016-08-05 20:08

    mfi, your 19:45 about Brendan’s apparent fail on EB5 prosecution may be “let’s let specialists at USCIS take down Rounds et al.,” rather than take it on as a local democratic appointee in the USA office. I’m willing to wait it out and see what happened behind the scenes if possible. the feds seem to be painting a pretty good picture against the SDGOP administration so far. I like it.

    btw, is there someone else using mfi??

  52. leslie 2016-08-05 21:18

    barry carry:

    2016-08-05 at 07:13 .

    In SD, one sentence will destroy Hawks: “Like Hillobama, Hawks will confiscate your guns”

    C.J. Chivers is a reporter for The New York Times, a former Marine and co-wrote this history of why the ak47 and ar15 assault rifles type weapons are universally used for mass killing and that is what legacy barry hitches his wagon to. some in SD like to open carry their “machine guns” in public places. like a little boy of 8 carrying his tommy gun everywhere. barry still is. cocealed hand guns statiscally kill more people but big magazine capacity semi autos that are capable of modificaion in to fully automatic weapons are the de rigor of american’s red neck gun toting second amendment crowd, who use a poorly written slave statute as their model for their fundamental right to buy thousands of rounds, big magazines, and all the kevlar ect. that goes with this assault rifle mystique. playing soldier. even .50 Cal. sara palin apparently said mocking real soldiers is pretty low-life. behavior.

  53. leslie 2016-08-05 21:30

    1. C.J. Chivers is a reporter for The New York Times, a former Marine wrote a 2016 editorial covering history of the assault rifle. twitter:C.J. Chivers ‏@cjchivers · Apr 7

    Weapons the Pentagon gave to Iraqi forces are instead on Facebook arms bazaars, for sale.

    C.J. Chivers ‏@cjchivers · Aug 4

    Explainer on linked histories behind assault rifles’ wide distribution, & how they became common in terror attacks.


    2. on the other hand NRA cites breitbart for its own journalist in the ar15 armor piercing ammunition argument.

  54. leslie 2016-08-05 21:41

    “Gun owners are not a protected class,” she said. “Owning a gun is a choice. It bears literally no resemblance to the biological nature of the color of your skin or your sexual orientation.” owner of NEern establishment barring assault rife supporters

  55. leslie 2016-08-05 21:41

    who is politicizing gun rights in a thresh-hold election?

  56. Jenny 2016-08-05 21:49

    SD really, really needs to have a Camp Wellstone come to their state and show them how to get progressives voted in. The SDDP needs to spend money to get one to their state and any democrats that are left in SD need to seriously consider attending one. I’ve heard nothing but good from these seminars.
    The SDDP is in a deep, dark sleep and can’t seem to wake up. A little Paul Wellstone spark is needed to start the fire.

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