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Mickelson Backs Out of 2018 Race for Governor

Karl Adam, Miles Beacom, David H. Billion, John Calvin, Harry Christianson, Dana Dykhouse, Gil Haugen Construction, Tim Kessler, Dan Kirby, Nancy Neff, Larry Ness, Elaine Pacquin, POET, Thomas Reaves, Art Russo, Kevin Schieffer—these big-dollar donors and a whole lot of other Republicans need to find another horse to back in the 2018 gubernatorial race. Rep. G. Mark Mickelson, fresh off his easy reëlection to the District 13 House, announced today he’s backing out of his bid for the seat his dad and his grandpa occupied on the second floor of the Capitol:

He says it’s difficult to raise his sons if he’s out campaigning. In a letter sent this week to supporters, Mickelson says he expects to refund contributions to his political action committee, which has raised nearly $1 million [“Rep. Mark Mickelson Opts out of Running for Governor in 2018,” AP via Sioux City Journal, 2016.11.10].

Two months a year is enough of Pierre for Rep. G. Mark Mickelson for now.
Two months a year is enough of Pierre for Rep. G. Mark Mickelson for now.

Since forming his gubernatorial race PAC in August 2015, Mickelson had raised $922,641.98. He spent $52,487.28 on himself and $22,750 on 42 fellow legislators campaigns and Chris Nelson and the Butte County GOP in this year’s election. He thus has $847,404.70 left to send back to Adam, Beacom, Billion, et al. If everyone accepts an 8% discount on those refunds, Mickelson can cover everyone.

Looking at who might be left, likely relieved GOP rival Marty Jackley has $289,390.08 on hand in his gov-PAC as of the end of October plus $413,395.63 in his A.G.-PAC as of last April. Kristi Noem appears not to have created any such state PAC, and I don’t think she can dump her million-plus from her Congressional campaign fund into a state run. Matt Michels was sitting on $15,678.98 at the time of his last report last December. This blog’s favorite surprise Republican candidate for governor in 2018, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, had only $1,151.24 in her SOS campaign committee back in January.

Note that Mickelson’s demurral leaves the door open for another Sioux Falls candidate to claim the Queen City of the East’s 2018 voters. Paging Mayor Mike Huether?


  1. Darin Larson 2016-11-10 19:07

    I like Mike. He is a centrist who can appeal to both sides of the aisle. He would restore accountability to state government and keep the crazy right wing proposals from seeing the light of day in SD. He has a vision for bringing SD into the 21st century. He would have the resources and backing to mount the most serious challenge by a Democrat for the governor’s seat in a long, long time. Pair him with Billie Sutton as lieutenant governor and you might even get some West River votes.

    Before you tear him down like HRC, think about the Republican alternatives.

  2. grudznick 2016-11-10 19:32

    Mr. Larson, nobody tore down HRC that I saw. He simply got beat by a state record differential by Mr. Nelson on qualifications alone.

    As to Mr. Mickelson, that is a little disappointing because there will be less chaos now in the legislatures. Unless some new Governor candidates like that young Ms. Peters or maybe Mr. Novstrup step up and announce they are running. They would both give Mr. Jackley some pause, no doubt, and would have a huge campaign staff already in place they could just point at the Governor job now. There are other candidates in the legislatures too but we’ll just have to wait for them to step up.

  3. jerry 2016-11-10 19:45

    Easy to raise a million in a couple of weeks for these guys. Amazing indeed. They make it difficult to get the word out for regular folks that might want to run. Now ol Marty can really start printing tee shirts and rake in the cash. Should be good times and rewards for keeping his yapper shut to cover his bosses fannies while they plundered the loot from taxpayers in the EB5 scheme. I wonder how much Joop will toss in the pot?

  4. John 2016-11-10 19:45

    Krebs; no one else character and execution comes close.

  5. Roger Cornelius 2016-11-10 21:02

    How much did Jackley pay Mickelson to drop out? That is the question.

  6. grudznick 2016-11-10 21:08

    Mr. C, that is a question but probably not the question. My guess is more than the $800 large that Mr. Mickelson had already. $800 larger than large. Plus he sold his dream. This makes Mr. Jackley all that more fearsome for the job and probably has that mayor out east pretty worried.

  7. moses six 2016-11-10 21:17

    Darin what are you smoking if lick Mike runs as a democrat, we will work to get a republican elected.He represents the upper class not the working class.

  8. MOSES 2016-11-10 21:20

    Mick won’t need slick credit card money to get elected like the bank with high interest credit cards.

  9. MOSES 2016-11-10 21:38

    Grud this mayor has pissed the working class off .I don’t see a problem there.What I do see is lots of people who thought the mayor would represent the working class never happened.So will do our best to help who ever runs against slick

  10. Darin Larson 2016-11-10 21:53

    Moses, if you want to lead your people out of enslavement in Egypt, you have to get someone who can part the waters of Republican partisanship. Right now, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Mayor Mike are your only choices that fit that description and SRS has not yet expressed any interest in running.

  11. Rorschach 2016-11-10 23:42

    My comment from an earlier thread:

    My question is: Who will be the new #3 in the senate? After calling for the President Elect to step aside, Thune is toast. They can find someone else to be a silent scowler behind McConnell. Anyone want to bet on whether Thune jumps ship to a job in the private sector lone, long before his new 6-year term runs out? My bet is he’s working in the private sector in 2017. Politically – he’s toast. Done.

    Here’s what’s going to happen. Thune is going to leave the senate for the private sector, and Governor Daugaard is going to appoint Mark Mickelson to Thune’s seat. Mickelson gets 2 free years to establish himself as the incumbent, and Thune sees to it that Mickelson gets Thune’s war chest – or a big enough chunk of it to scare off Republican challengers. In two years Mickelson runs for the remaining 4 years of Thune’s seat as the incumbent with no serious primary challenge and token Democratic opposition, if any. No need to spend time away from the kids for that campaign. You heard it here first.

  12. drey samuelson 2016-11-11 00:45

    This makes a Noem race for Governor that much more likely, I believe.

  13. Rorschach 2016-11-11 13:00

    I don’t know how that photo of Mark Mickelson made the cut. He looks like a woman in that picture.

  14. Roger Elgersma 2016-11-11 21:24

    Did Mark drop out after this debate with Sutton. Kind of like JEB dropping out after his mother brought bigger crowds than he did.

  15. grudznick 2016-11-11 21:31

    I suspect that Mr. Mickelson won all his debates. What makes you think, Mr. Elgersma, that a primary fellow on the Republican side would drop out before facing that mayor fellow or Mr. Sutton? That just seems insaner than most, and I may not like Mr. Mick all that well for a governor suit but golly he sure whipped Mr. Sutton left and right. I think the big dog in this race is about to pop over the fence, and she’s a bitch.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-11-12 12:53

    Jackley pay Mickelson to drop out? That doesn’t make sense: Mickelson is the money man in that contest. It wouldn’t make sense for Noem to pay Mickelson to drop out, either: I’d think she’d do better letting Mickelson and Jackley beat each other up on policy while she plays the pretty feminine version of Rounds 2002, smiling and staying out of the fray. Boil the field down to just Noem and Mickelson, and she has to wage war.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-11-12 12:55

    Interesting, Ror—do you really think Trump will be able to rally the Senate to his side and get them to revolt against leaders who have put in much more time for the GOP than Trump and his kids?

Comments are closed.