After spinning eagerly for apparent favorite Rep. Alex Jensen, feckless GOP spin blogger Pat Powers has to put a good face on Sioux Falls Republicans’ spoiling his bet and picking their own Hillary Clinton—Sue Peterson, a Montana native and wife of former four-term Republican Representative Bill Peterson—to replace Rep. Steve Westra on the District 13 ballot.
Sioux Falls Republicans appear more impressed with long-time service to the party than incumbency. Jensen is finishing his freshman term in the House; Peterson has vice-chaired the SDGOP but has not held public elected office. Her experience is not insubstantial, yet her nomination over a sitting legislator who has won an election and is willing to run again raises questions about Jensen’s political capital.
Unlike the mainstream Republicans who fought Stace Nelson in the primary, Sioux Falls Republicans appear not to be holding Peterson’s 2014 political activities against her. Peterson and her husband backed Larry Rhoden in the 2014 U.S. Senate campaign, but they also expressed due admiration for the ultimate winner of the 2014 election, Mike Rounds. Peterson’s politics may even be more Stace-y than Jensen’s: Powers hints that Peterson “will probably be a bit harder right” than Westra. Hmm… are Sioux Falls Republicans tilting away from the Rounds wing of the party and more toward the anti-RINO Nelson wing? If so, such a tilt may help District 13 Democratic candidates Ellee Spawn and P. James Eckhoff win more moderate, practical Sioux Falls votes.