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Would GOP/Chamber Sacrifice Novstrups, Governor, and Glodt for “No on Everything” Campaign?

Backers of Initiated Measure 21, Initiated Measure 22, and Amendment T claim that the South Dakota Republican Party and the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce are coordinating a “Vote No on Everything” campaign:

“We’ve heard directly from Republican legislators and business people in this state that the state GOP and the state Chamber of Commerce are coming together in an effort to do a blanket “Vote No” campaign,” IM 21 sponsor Steve Hildebrand said [Kelley Smith, “‘Vote No on Everything’ Campaign Controversy,” KSFY, 2016.10.03].

SDGOP exec Ryan Budmayr tells KSFY “There is no concerted effort to work with any group for a ‘No on Everything’ campaign.” Hildebrand says Budmayr is lying. Pat Powers mocks Hildebrand for basing his claim on sources whom he refuses to name… which, coming from a blogger whose non-press-release material consists of unsourced rumors and anonymous commenters, is risible.

I hesitate to accept that the SDGOP leaders would launch a “No on Everything” campaign because it would represent some hard choices and sacrifices. As Chamber chief David Owen notes, the Chamber is publicly backing Amendment R, the vo-tech governance change. The SDGOP would be unlikely to contradict Governor Dennis Daugaard, who has endorsed R… but the Governor’s own lazy ballot measure assessment would support an SDGOP effort to push “No on Everything Else.”

Even excepting R, an SDGOP “No on Everything Else” campaign would mean throwing the good Republican Novstrups under the bus on Referred Laws 19 and 20. Senator David and Representative Al both supported 19 and 20 at every opportunity during the 2015 Session. “No on Everything” would put the final nail in the political coffin David Novstrup jumped into with his affront to voters on 20, and it would undermine the creaking campaign of Al Novstrup, who is struggling to win his son’s seat against a Democratic challenger who is finding lots of popular disgust with the Novstrups’ disrespect to voters. “Vote No on Every Ballot Measure” translates into “Vote No on Al Novstrup.” Would the SDGOP really take an action that could help flip the Novstrups’ District 3 back to Democratic?

“No on Everything” would sacrifice GOP consultant Jason Glodt’s Amendment S, the astroturf crime victims bill of rights. But maybe that sacrifice is no big deal: Jason gets paid by Henry T. Nicholas whether S wins or not, and it’s no skin off the SDGOP’s nose if one of their own takes a clueless California billionaire for a ride.

“No on Everything” does kill the payday lenders’ Amendment U, the fake 18% rate cap, but I get the impression the GOP and the payday lenders don’t care what happens to U, as long as 21, the real 36% rate cap, fails. Maintain the status quo for predatory lenders, and the corporatist SDGOP breathes a sigh of relief as it keeps a wealthy donor pool happy.

Legally, one cannot form a “No on Everything” committee. South Dakotans can’t even form a “No on Two” committee, or a “Yes on Two” committee, or a “Yes on This One, No on That One” committee. When I decided to refer 19 and 20 to a vote, the Secretary of State’s office required me to form two committees, even though I am the sole member of both. When Cathy Brechtelsbauer and Sister Gabriella Crowley tried to form a ballot question that would support IM 21 and campaign against Amendment U, they had to form separate committees, one for 21, the other against U. A “No on Everything” committee might form as a meta-committee, but it would still have to form on paper ten separate “No” committees, one for each ballot measure. If such a meta-committee were to collect money and take out an ad saying, “Vote No on Everything,” that meta-committee would have to file ten separate statements itemizing its expenditure to say no to 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, R, S, T, U, and V.

A “No on Everything” committee is legally and politically complicated. I wouldn’t put it past the SDGOP, but a willingness to sacrifice two referred laws (and the members who supported them), an amendment backed by the Governor, and another amendment promoted by a longtime party golden boy would demonstrate how deathly afraid Republicans are of regulating payday lenders, losing their power to gerrymander, and making elections fairer.


  1. Darin Larson 2016-10-04 09:22

    I can understand the GOP trying to distance itself from a No on Everything movement. No on Everything basically implies that SD voters are too lazy or ignorant to do their homework and make an informed decision. I disagree with that premise, although I think the fact that we have 10 ballot measures makes it more challenging for voters to become informed.

    The natural inclination for people who don’t know anything about a ballot measure is to vote no. I would hope that everyone would work to inform themselves and make an educated decision rather than a default no. Voting no on everything is the opposite of the change that so many people seem to want. Voting no on everything is the definition of the status quo.

  2. grudznick 2016-10-04 09:26

    I e been saying this for some time. I’m glad it is finally getting traction and a TV ad.

    Vote NO on everything! I am.

  3. Darin Larson 2016-10-04 09:29

    PS To finally get around to answering your headline question: yes, the GOP/chamber would sacrifice the ballot measures they favor in order to avoid the ones that they don’t want. They like the status quo just fine. The initiative and referendum process is a danger to the powers that be. They would rather handle things in Pierre in the good ole boys room rather than fight these battles for public policy in public.

  4. Darin Larson 2016-10-04 09:50

    Grudznick, you are the poster man for No on Everything. The GOP has been the do-nothing, know-nothing party of no for some time now. This just continues your tradition. You can go back to yelling at the kids to get off your lawn now.

  5. Loren 2016-10-04 10:29

    It’s just a GOP training ploy. Once you get the “no” thing down pat, you can run for GOP national office! All you have to do is vote “no” and read the daily talking points! And, if you are TALL, you get to be in pictures!

  6. Robin Friday 2016-10-04 14:58

    That figures, Cory. Just read through them this morning. (Sample ballot) Also, your card is very useful. I like your titles better, they’re more honest. The AG’s explanations are legalese, seemingly designed to be confusing.

  7. Donald Pay 2016-10-04 15:31

    It’s a nihilistic approach to citizenship and governance. If they try this approach I would take their highest priority bills next session and refer as many as you can. Stick it right back up their ass.

  8. Donald Pay 2016-10-04 15:33

    Meant to say “refer as many as you can.”0

  9. Monty 2016-10-05 14:02

    Glodt might feel badly about losing an election but it also opens up a possibility for placing Marsy language on the 2018 ballot, and getting paid for two election cycles.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-05 18:03

    Monty! How thoroughly cynical! Do you think Nicholas would hire Glodt again if Glodt couldn’t produce victory the first time?

  11. Monty 2016-10-05 20:00

    Nicholas can’t blame Glodt if Marsy’s is colleteral damage in a Chamber/Repub strike.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-05 20:39

    Monty, I think Nicholas could. I would imagine the whole reason for hiring Glodt was that he’s a Republican insider. “Yeah, sure,” Glodt promises during the bid, “I can bring the GOP along. I pull a few strings, and Marsy’s Law coasts to victory.” If a Chamber/Repub All-No torpedoes Glodt’s effort, an attentive Nicholas should ask Glodt, “What did I hire you for?”

  13. grudznick 2016-10-06 10:45

    Vote NO on Everything is gaining a tidal wave of support.

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