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How SD Democrats Avoid Division and Late Lunch with One Motion

For all of you worried that a snap election for new South Dakota Democratic Party leadership could wreck McGovern Day and sow long-lasting division in the party, I offer a simple solution: when the SDDP Central Committee convenes at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow in Sioux Falls, an enterprising member (Brett? Frank? Nick? Jennifer? Darrel? Silvia?) should immediately rise and make the following motion:

I move to hire Paula Hawks as executive director of the South Dakota Democratic Party, effective immediately.

Paula Hawks, Ann Tornberg
Hawks, Tornberg, on the same team


  1. Democrats need all willing hands on deck.
  2. Ann Tornberg says she wants to keep working for the party.
  3. Paula Hawks says she wants to resume working for the party.
  4. The party may or may not need a new chair, but we have a chair.
  5. The party definitely needs a new executive director, right now.
  6. Picking a new chair right now requires significant changes to the party constitution that warrant lengthy review and discussion.
  7. Picking a new executive director requires no constitutional changes.
  8. Hawks has already submitted her résumé for the job by running a statewide Congressional campaign that was at least as respectable as any campaigning done by the state party in 2016.
  9. Everyone on the Central Committee and in the South Dakota Democratic Party places the common good of the party and South Dakota above any personal consideration of minor issues like who gets to have which title.
  10. Hiring Hawks as exec ends her bid for chair, ends the need for constitutional revision, and gets the Central Committee meeting done in plenty of time for lunch and the other McGovern Day festivities.

Let’s snatch unity from the jaws of division. Keep Tornberg, hire Hawks, and get to lunch… because we can’t save South Dakota from Trump on an empty stomach.


  1. Rorschach 2017-04-28 08:55

    But can the chair and your proposed executive director get along in productive fashion, or is there a burned bridge between them?

  2. Jenny 2017-04-28 08:57

    From a MN DFLer looking in, this would be a move the DFL would make. When things aren’t working and your party is not winning then it’s time to shake things up. I’m all for it, time to change quarterbacks! :)

  3. Jenny 2017-04-28 09:03

    If you’re worried about hurt feelings, then one shouldn’t be in politics, Ror.

  4. Rorschach 2017-04-28 09:11

    I eat feelings for lunch Jenny. mmmm

  5. Cully 2017-04-28 09:22

    There’s several major flaws with this plan, namely whether or not Paula wants an ED position. This would require her to quit (what I assume to be) a better paying job (a job she could keep while still as chair, if that happened) to come work for the SDDP. This also assumes that the two would work productively together. I know they would work with each other, they share a common goal and they’re not bad people, but would they be effective together?

    This most definitely does NOT stop the need or constitutional cleanup. There are plenty of other major flaws with the doc that need to be polished sooner rather than later.

    The problem isn’t that there is a push to get Paula in the office, the problem is getting a chair that is effective in fundraising (and not $2 founders club members either…) and that isn’t fixed with ED Paula.

    Plus, and this one is the most comically obvious, the ED spot is entirely at the discretion of the chair. The eboard can blow all the hot air we want, but it all boils down to the chair. The eboard gives approval and that’s it. You could argue that 7-1 says that the chair is required to follow the majority vote of the eboard. I’d counter with this: if the eboard votes majority to demand Ann’s resignation, does she have to abide by that too?

    I’ll take a late lunch, might eat me some of them feelings everyone else is eating!

  6. charlene lund 2017-04-28 09:37

    Not sure if Paula Hawks wants the ED job – she has a job that she really likes. Not sure if she and Ann would agree on office management. I support moving forward with the new plan to repeal and replace Ann Tornberg.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-04-28 09:49

    Ror, along Jenny’s line, commitment to shared party goals should override all burned bridges.

  8. Jenny 2017-04-28 09:57

    Why are people thinking Paula doesn’t want the job, she wrote up a letter declaring her intent. Has she been pushed into it?

  9. Rorschach 2017-04-28 10:29

    Just because people are going generally in the same direction doesn’t mean they want to walk hand in hand, Cory. Just ask Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Gov. Paul LePage (R-Maine).

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-04-28 10:33

    Not having seen all of the constitutional changes, I cannot comment fully on their merits. However, they seem to be secondary in almost everyone’s mind to the leadership question. Would the push for the constitutional changes be happening if there were not a push for leadership change? And what substantive difference would the proposed constitutional changes make in the party’s ability to win elections in 2018?

  11. Rorschach 2017-04-28 10:57

    … Just ask Rep. Steve Hickey (R-Dist. 9) and Rep. Bob Deelstra (R-Dist. 9).

  12. Adam 2017-04-28 11:39

    I didn’t even know who Paula Hawks was until she looked like crap and lost miserably against Kristi Noem.

    I’m not sure what ideas she wants to bring to the SDDP table, but her ideas and presentation skills never impressed me in the past.

    I did vote for Paula, but was still far from impressed. Heck, I’d vote for a plastic action figure over Kristi Noem, but I would have to see a lot more about why Paula feels she brings something to the SDDP table before I even think she has something to offer.

    Looks like you folks at McGovern Day will get to see some kind of a pitch from her on these things. Good luck with that. If that Sheldon guy is behind this thing – screw the whole thing.

  13. LS 2017-04-28 11:54

    *Sigh* We need a solid #DemEnter movement here.

  14. jerry 2017-04-28 12:05

    I think Cully is correct “The problem isn’t that there is a push to get Paula in the office, the problem is getting a chair that is effective in fundraising (and not $2 founders club members either…) and that isn’t fixed with ED Paula.”

    Fundraising and GOTV go together like peas and carrots. You cannot have either without enthusiasm and that enthusiasm is generated with a course of action. If you want to find a reason to drink heavily, watch the listening tour. SDDP needs an awakening to get young folks fired up and ready to get excited. We will not have that under the current boss as she has had some time to find a way to make it happen and has not found it. Time to cut the losses and find ways to bring Independents and new voters back into the fold.

  15. Porter Lansing 2017-04-28 14:19

    I predict Ms. Tornberg will continue to be chair of the Party until she either steps down or her term ends. In South Dakota even the Democrats have an aversion to change.

  16. Tim 2017-04-28 16:11

    Porter, that is a good bit of the problem here.

  17. Douglas Wiken 2017-04-28 16:18

    I pretty much agree with Adam. Paula Hawks mailings were dreadful. She did not respond to e-mail or attempts to contact her. She barely made it into west river SD. I do not remember a single issue position she held. She was a mediocre communicator. A good future for the SD Democratic Party will not have a Paula Hawks at the controls.

    A man or woman who can spend a good bit of time on the road traveling SD to talk to local Democrats all over the state and make contact with every daily and weekly newspaper in SD on a regular basis is necessary. To do this right, somebody is going to have to have a Trump-like awakening that the job is a lot more work than anybody seems to expect.

  18. Porter Lansing 2017-04-28 16:22

    Right, Tim. Most, not all, SoDak Dems would be judged to be acting like mainstream Republicans in Minnesota or Colorado.

  19. Adam 2017-04-28 17:35

    I do feel the need to say that Paula’s emails were very good quality. I think Zach Nistler had a fair amount to do with that, and that much I thought was very good.

    I would trust Zach with any email campaign I’d ever run.

  20. Roger Cornelius 2017-04-28 17:37

    Regardless of who emerges as party chair they need to be put on a probationary status.
    The party chair and executive director need to give a monthly status report on how they are progressing with the party goals and what their plans are for the next month.
    I like the Democratic party and am pleased for the good they stand for and are not like the sheep that comprise the SDGOP, however this endless bickering has got to cease.

  21. grudznick 2017-04-28 17:59

    Ms. Hawks is by far best communicator the Democratic Party has put forth in years. She should be placed upon the throne, and saddled with monthly reporting to the entire public and a probationary foot hobble. Mr. C and I are in lockstep in this regard.

  22. Adam 2017-04-28 18:04

    Yeah, Grudz, ‘The People of South Dakota’ should rule over Paula in the most authoritarian way possible – LOL – WTF?!

  23. grudznick 2017-04-28 18:11

    Mr. Adam, you seem confused but perhaps it is my fault. What Mr. C and I are advocating is that Ms. Hawks, who is very young but charismatic, should be named head of the Democrat Party but put on probation by the party rulers until she proves herself out. Perhaps I should have have said the entire public, but the entire registered Democrat voting base instead. They are her bosses when she takes the stage.

  24. Roger Cornelius 2017-04-28 18:52

    I have in no way advocated that Paula Hawks should be the chair SDDP

  25. grudznick 2017-04-28 19:00

    grudznick stands corrected: I portrayed Mr. C as advocating for a probationary appointment of Paula Hawks to the Democrat Party ruler; that is only grudznick’s view, not Mr. C’s. Let it not be said that I did not eat my own mistake.

  26. happy camper 2017-04-28 21:47

    How many times do you need to lose before you accept Nancy Pelosi and the leftist agenda does not fit the mainstream voting public? The world may never know:

  27. grudznick 2017-04-28 22:28

    Mr. C for chair; Mr. H for the other, paid job. My friend Bob will do the PR work for free.

  28. Adam 2017-04-29 00:10

    Trump’s agenda does not fit into the mainstream voting publics’ interest (see 2016 popular vote), and I would take Nancy Pelosi in a wheel chair at 120 years old over Donald Trump’s stupid ass.

  29. jerry 2017-04-29 03:12

    happy camper, you mean president Nancy Pelosi I think. When the Democrats take over in 18, they toss your boy and the pence out on their rears, she will be the next. Historically, you can see shades of Nixon within this present group. Remember how Gerald R. Ford got the ring? Why President Nancy Pelosi would be similar to both Ford and trump is that she would not have been elected by popular vote. See trump lost by over 3 million votes! 3 million! Damn, that is a whole lot.

  30. jerry 2017-04-29 05:22

    What would it cost to put an office in Rapid City, Roger? Aberdeen, Cory? A storefront with internet connection is all that is needed to get started. Get the office and they will come! Cannot wait for Ann or anyone else to make it happen. You ask and nothing gets done. You move and others follow

    Rapid City has students, so does Aberdeen and Vermillion and any other town that has college age students. This is all about their future, lets help out and allow it to happen for them.

  31. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-04-29 07:45

    Probationary period for chair, Roger? Part of me thinks such churn could be bad… but part of me thinks that if we have a properly hands-on Executive Board and ambitious staff, a change in chair after a few months wouldn’t necessarily put a big kink in operations, since there’d be lots of people who know where everything is and what all projects are in motion and could maintain continuity.

  32. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-04-29 07:49

    Jerry, on cost: back in December, I speculated that rent could be $2,000 a month. Add utilities as ongoing cost. Salary and at least some supply budget is transferred from SF HQ.

  33. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-04-29 07:51

    Of course, the cost of maintaining that office also includes the cost of arranging voter registration drives, fundraisers, GOTV activities, and other party functions, which could be more efficiently carried out from a regional office than from SF HQ. A field office isn’t just money thrown out the window; it’s an investment in more voters, volunteers, and donors.

  34. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-04-29 07:54

    Hap, your statement that Pelosi leftism isn’t mainstream is fraught with fallacies. But your call to accept that position also sounds like call to surrender to Trumpist incompetence, lying, and piracy of the public wealth for private gain. I won’t surrender, and I won’t support a party that makes that surrender.

  35. jerry 2017-04-29 09:43

    What if that 2 grand could also include some part time salary work? Say a very small office to start with the bare minimum and utilities included? Could we find the money from several sources?

  36. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-04-29 17:19

    Jerry, I’m not sure we can pare that overhead down that far. Assume 2K for building if we’re lucky, then add any salary on top of that.

    But remember, that salary need not be new money; my thought all along has been that we disperse the existing staff around the state.

    Finding the money is what fundraising is about. Each office hustles hard, covers its own rent and then some.

  37. clyde 2017-04-30 00:02

    If the Democratic leadership in the state could use the press to keep pounding into the heads of the generally comatose voters heads in this state all the crooked shenanigans the ruling party has pulled and keeps pulling they might gain in the next election.
    Sadly, on a national scale, there future plan seems to be to win by default. It might work just because of how bad Trumpy and his henchmen are but the people want to kick some a** on the crooks that really run this country and they want a genuine progressive party.

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