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Sutton Invites Everyone to Ranch for Lunch, Music, and Campaign Announcement

Senator Billie Sutton (D-21/Burke) is inviting everyone to his house Wednesday:

I have a feeling that free lunch and the people who gather for it will be more palatable than whatever the Koch Brothers are dishing out Wednesday evening in Sturgis and Thursday in Aberdeen.

But “share my plans”? Coy devil. Almost every discussion of Senator Sutton’s political aspirations beyond the Legislature has revolved around the his chances of and efforts to position him for running for Governor. Secret spices in lunchtime chili are a more likely surprise than a Sutton announcement for Congress. But one never knows….


  1. grudznick 2017-05-29 19:13

    Everybody is invited? Do you think it will be a good lunch?

  2. Mary Maxwell 2017-05-29 19:44

    Hope he decides to run for Governor :) :) :)

  3. BlackHills76 2017-05-29 20:39

    If Sutton runs for Governor the entire SD Democratic Party needs to get behind him. It’ll be the best chance of winning the Governor’s seat in years especially against Kristi Noem. I believe the party needs to win that office if they want to become relevant again.

    Sutton can do something that almost no other Democrat could do… and that’s carry or at least be extremely competitive West River.

    He’s a Democrat that many R’s wouldn’t have a problem voting for because he’s moderate, pro gun, educated and a real cowboy.

    Run Billie run!

  4. grudznick 2017-05-29 20:42

    Even grudznick might get behind young Mr. Sutton, unless he starts spouting a lot of libbie nonsense.

  5. Jk 2017-05-29 20:55

    I know this family would vote for Sutton, especially if he runs for governor.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-05-29 22:20

    Grudz, yes, the Facebook post is public, so I assume that means the public is invited. Even you. As to whether the lunch will be good, I can only trust that no self-respecting cowboy would put on a bad spread.

    BH76, I agree that Democrats of all stripes need to unite behind our nominees for Congress, Governor, SOS, AG, Legislature, etc. and bring their friends to the polls to vote in a South Dakota government that will protect us from Trumpism.

    I also contend that to earn that unity and support, individuals seeking those nominations must demonstrate their ability to put on a spectacular campaign—spectacular, not in the empty logorrheic way Trump uses the word, but in the original sense of the word: a campaign that creates a spectacle, a show people want to watch, a show they can’t resist watching, because it’s a real battle, something the Democrats could seriously win, not just a pleasant recitation of lines before the coronation of the next Republican heir.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-05-29 22:21

    And BH76, do those cotes you think Sutton is sure to get West River trade off with any votes that those same qualities might lose him in East River, among Democrats for whom guns and rodeos aren’t voting issues?

  8. Rebecca 2017-05-29 23:08

    I’ve had plenty of East River Dem eyes rolled at me for saying this, but I strongly suspect the only way South Dakota’s going to break the Republican spell and elect a Democrat for governor is if the man (yes, sadly, I think it has to be a man) running with the big “D” wears a cowboy hat. And I don’t mean just as a fashion statement.

  9. Curt 2017-05-30 01:34

    Cory – You get vocab bonus points for correct usage of ‘logorrheic’. Bill Buckley would be envious.

  10. Paul T 2017-05-30 07:10

    Nobody should rolls their eyes at that Rebecca. Democracy is about voting for someone that represents the people. Unfortunately, the cultural misogyny that is part of rural life lingers here so if we want to do everything we can to elect Democrats, we should not just ignore that.

  11. BlackHills76 2017-05-30 08:13

    Cory if any East River Dems would chose Jackley or worse Noem over Sutton then I’m guessing they weren’t Democrats anyhow. I know Billie Sutton. A lot my rural friends from places so red it’ll burn your eyes know and respect Sutton. He’s a smart, educated young man who’s an investment consultant and a rancher. He also has political experience.

    He was paralyzed from the waist down in a rodeo accident, but never gave up. When someone has that sort of determination they are exactly the sort of person I want running the State. He would do an outstanding job.

    He might not be the lefty anti-gun progressive you dream of being Governor, but you know that sort of person is not going to get elected. A Jay Williams type isn’t going to carry 30% in the general.

    Sutton is a conservative Democrat, but I believe him to be a true SD Democrat. He will put things like education and stopping the corruption at the top of his list. I believe a lot of farmers and ranchers would appreciate having one of their own in the Governors seat.

    He voted for Constitutional Carry and whether or not it was a calculated move for higher office I think it’s safe to assume it takes the gun issue off the table. Believe me when I say that’s a huge knock against Democrats in our State. If you don’t believe it then your not spending enough time out in the smaller towns and rural areas.

    I have never gotten involved in any campaign, but I’d help Sutton in a minute. He’s exactly the kind of guy we need in Pierre. He has a good resume. I like his moderate philosophy. He’s energetic and cares deeply. Last he’s a cowboy and I’ll always put my trust in a cowboy coming from ranching country.

  12. Rorschach 2017-05-30 08:24

    He’s starting off on the wrong foot holding a public meeting on a Wednesday far from any population center. Who’s gonna show up for that? Nobody with a job.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-05-30 08:30

    Man, cowboy hat, guns… is our self-image really that narrow?

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-05-30 08:32

    BlackHills76, I appreciate that comment. I agree that any Democrat who would choose Noem or Jackley over Sutton probably can’t enunciate any clear Democratic reason for that vote.

    But I’m thinking beyond the people who get to the polls and make a choice. I’m thinking of bringing back the 100K Herseth voters who got tired, sat down in 2010, and haven’t turned out since. Will the West River appeal that gets you involved get East River folks involved in the same way?

  15. Porter Lansing 2017-05-30 08:53

    South Dakota’s finest … “The Democrats”, are a special breed. They see guns not just as a way to protect themselves but a way of life. A patriotic expression of the freedom needed to live within the harsh climate. Not just the harsh weather climate but the harsh selfishness and low self esteem climate of the socially conservative majority. All South Dakotans are fiscal conservatives but it’s the compassion and empathy of the Democrats that makes their owning guns, enjoying guns and gun safety primal. At the very least, SoDakDems have no problem with anyone safely embracing gun culture, hunting and fishing. It’s fun. Let’s work to keep it fun and not a way to distinguish political parties.

  16. BlackHills76 2017-05-30 09:42

    Cory we’ve had a lot of Democratic candidates at the State level that just didn’t connect with our citizens. I’m tired of losing. The last winning candidate we had was Stephanie and she was able to appeal to both SD Dems and Republicans. The last few candidates that you thought were good lefty progressives got their butts handed to them in the November election.

    So even though you might not be a huge Sutton fan or might not care much for cowboys who shoot guns with a dip in their lip the fact is you have to appeal to them. Of course I believe Sutton can also appeal to the flatlanders on the Eastern side. He’s quite moderate and socially libertarian. He is a mixture of ideas and beliefs like most South Dakotans. Frankly I’m tired of people who think you must toe the line on an agenda even if you don’t believe in all of it just because you belong to a party.

    Sutton makes it ok to vote Democratic for a lot of people. I think he can do very well across the State if we all pull together behind him.

  17. Thomas 2017-05-30 12:29

    I’m excited for this. I’ve had a couple email exchanges with Sutton and he left me very impressed and his voting record speaks for itself. Go Billy!

  18. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-05-30 13:09

    Interesting, BH, that you like Sutton because he doesn’t toe the line on an agenda (just what is that “agenda” that doesn’t connect with citizens?), but you say that we need to put forward a candidate who toes the line on a certain image to make voting Democratic acceptable.

    I find toeing many lines unpalatable.

    Why do you think that a West River image (hat, guns, dip in the lip… and Sutton chew?) will appeal to East River residents who have no daily association with the cowboy image or lifestyle, who spend their days in their call-center cube farms, their evenings in their sleepy housing developments, and their weekends at Canaries games and Jazzfest?

  19. Porter Lansing 2017-05-30 13:23

    Because a liberal cowboy paralyzed in a Rodeo accident is a bit of ‘romantic diversion’ from sitting in cubicles, sleeping in the suburbs and watching second level sports? And … he’s pro-life. Avoiding the two issues Repubs run on (but not accepting anti women’s rights and gun insanity) is a level path. If a Dem likes guns and gun safety and lets women decide women’s issues, it’s just choosing your battles and doesn’t need to sour one’s palate.

  20. Kelly Cooper 2017-05-30 16:30

    Hutton/Ravnsborg 2018

    What a ticket.

  21. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-05-30 16:38

    Hutton? Was that a phone typo?

    Ravnsborg is already running for the Trump-GOP nod for Attorney General. If the SDGOP lets him have the ticket, they’ll increase the chances of a Dem winning that seat by 20 percentage points.

    Hey, Sutton’s fellow Burke alum Suzie Jones Pranger is a lawyer. Maybe we can get her to run for AG!

  22. BlackHills76 2017-05-30 17:12

    Well Cory your preferred Statewide candidates haven’t done very well East River either. Yeah some of them like Williams and Robinson didn’t stand a chance, but even the better ones like Weiland couldn’t break 30%. Then you have Wismer who got 25% of the vote in the last Governors election. Heck I’m thinking Matt Varilek was the last Democrat to break 40% statewide.

    Apparently those East River progressive types aren’t what people are looking for when voting for a Democrat. The last Democrat that did well was Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and her beliefs were pretty much in line with Suttons. She also had a strong agricultural background and came from a well known SD family.

    Further more I threw in the whole chewing thing as a joke. I don’t think he does… but who knows. With that said, he’s a guy with a story to tell. He knows how to speak to the people on their level. I honestly think if you give him a chance he will connect with voters all across the State.

    I mean what do the Democrats in the State have to lose by running a real cowboy? He’s educated, understands our #1 industry agriculture and as an investment consultant he also understands money and finances. When he was paralyzed in the rodeo accident he could have just given up and lived on disability for the rest of his life, but he didn’t. He goes to work everyday, serves in the legislature and even rides a horse much better then people who can walk.

    Don’t count this man out.

  23. grudznick 2017-05-30 17:44

    If you fellows want a real west-river cowboy, Jim Bradford is your man. He’ll get you the teacher and the Indian vote, too.

  24. Darin Larson 2017-05-30 17:49

    Billie Sutton would bring a breath of fresh air to Pierre if he was elected governor. He would be good for our state and would be able to work with Republicans as well as Democrats to work for a brighter future. I am genuinely excited at the prospect of his candidacy for governor.

    This is not to say that this will be anything but a David versus Goliath match considering the built in registration advantage and resource advantage that the Republican primary winner will have. A divisive primary battle between Noem and Jackley may leave Sutton with an opening to emerge as the general election winner. I also personally hope that Mayor Mike runs for US House, so he does not play spoiler for Sutton and the East River vote. If anyone can take up the mantle of David battling Goliath in South Dakota, I think it is Billie Sutton.

  25. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-05-30 17:54

    BlackHills76, your response assumes that I have any preferred candidates who represent some uniquely East River, urban, liberal/progressive type. Weiland may fit that mold, and maybe Williams, but Robinson was West River (and wore cowboy hats!), and Wismer doesn’t strike me as the most liberal Democrat in the fold. I think I can fairly say, without intended insult, that she is more of a Clinton/SHS Democrat, not a Sanders/Heidelberger Democrat.

    I’m not counting Sutton out. I’m just discussing the mold to which you say South Dakota Democrats need to fit themselves. I’m honestly asking whether that mold will have the broad appeal you think it does among all sectors of South Dakotans. Do we all see ourselves as cowboys?

  26. Porter Lansing 2017-05-30 17:59

    Sutton is popular but Heidelberger could win the nomination. Cory knows more about minutiae and macro-government than anyone I’ve spoken to in SoDak. RUN CORY, RUN 🏃

  27. Troy 2017-05-30 20:05


    He is running for the House. Its as known as the team mascot of SDSU.

  28. grudznick 2017-05-30 20:10

    Mr. Weiland is an urban snob and foisted the henious I.M. # 22 on us; young Ms. Robinson was clueless and didn’t even try; Wismer turned everybody off with her perpetual woah-is-me Debbie-Downer personality; and I don’t know who is this Robinson of whom you type.

    These fellows are righter than right, Mr. H, it is time for you to run.

  29. BlackHills76 2017-05-30 20:12

    First of all there is a difference between wearing a cowboy hat and being a real cowboy who also runs a multi-generation ranch in SD. Second, I’m not saying that a candidate needs to fit a certain mold, but we have tried the other molds and ended up with electoral failure in the general election. Yes Sutton is pro life and has a high rating from the NRA, but many of his other views are very moderate. Those two issues are off the table so the Republicans have to get into much deeper debate instead of just throwing out the abortion and he’ll take your gun arguments.

    In the end however there has to be something that people like personally about a candidate to motivate them to vote for them. I’m not sure whether he’s running for Governor or US House, but Billie doesn’t strike me as a Washington DC kind of politician so I’m betting on Governor. Let’s consider the last Democratic SD Governor Dick Kneip. Now since I was a baby I don’t remember him personally, but my Dad said everyone liked him and they didn’t think much about party because he was the kind of guy that just got your vote. After that I really can’t think of any SD Democrat running for Governor that has done that. Lars Herseth got close in ’86, but it’s been a blow out ever since. SD has gone the longest by far of any State with one party control on the Governors office. In 2018 it’ll be 40 years. 40 years! Let that sink in for a minute. No wonder things are getting corrupt. How bad will it be when we hit 50 years?

    All I’m trying to say is I feel with the tight support and enough money (fundraising is key) Billie strikes me as someone who has a shot. It’s a long shot… but it’s a shot. To win the general you have to get Independent and GOP voters. You also have to have some strength West River.

    Right now the Democrats have zero statewide offices. Any change in direction is worth a shot. I mean even though your much more liberal then Sutton wouldn’t you prefer him over Jackley or Noem?

    The funny thing is I honestly think Sutton would really run better against Noem, however between Noem and Jackley I’d prefer Jackley. Still I think Sutton will make an excellent candidate and really would have a shot. At least better then many past candidates.

  30. grudznick 2017-05-30 20:13

    grudznick correction: I don’t know who this Williams is that you type about. Williams?

  31. Curt 2017-05-30 20:14

    Hey Grudz – Put away the gin bottle … and try spell-check.

  32. BlackHills76 2017-05-30 20:16

    I just noticed the comment about running for the House. If true and the GOP picks Dusty Johnson you’ve got a horse race. Krebs would be tougher, however it would still be competitive especially depending on how messed up Trump has us by then.

  33. Jenny 2017-05-30 20:18

    If that’s true that Sutton is pro-life then he could be in the game since It’s such a must for a candidate in SD since South Dakotans are such one issue blockheads

  34. Jenny 2017-05-30 20:23

    I think Troy Heinert should run for higher office also. The Dems shouldn’t forget about him. These two I’ve been very impressed with in Pierre.

  35. BlackHills76 2017-05-30 20:28

    Well he’s running for Governor. I know this. If you go to the site is locked, but the heading says… for South Dakota Governor.

  36. Troy 2017-05-30 20:35


    We’ll know tomorrow whether that piece of intel is a minor staff slip-up or a juke.

  37. BlackHills76 2017-05-30 20:39

    Lol… seems like it’s a pretty hard to get wrong and I’m not sure it’s so top secret that they would do it intentionally… but I guess we’ll see.

  38. Porter Lansing 2017-05-30 20:39

    Sutton might be good but Heidelberger’s the only man in the state that single handedly got organic farmers a tax break with less than half a day’s work. Pattie Powers said, “This should be looked into next year in Pierre.” Cory just did it and it got done and that’s highly indicative of his skills and his dedication to the underdog.

  39. grudznick 2017-05-30 20:40

    A juke? I bet you a donut it’s a slip up by his web wizard, who I am told is not Mr. H.

  40. BlackHills76 2017-05-30 20:44

    Ok… now does anyone know the password? That would settle this right now! :)

  41. Roger Cornelius 2017-05-30 22:18

    Don’t worry about Troy, he gets his news from the Powers rumor mill.

  42. Clara Hart 2017-05-30 22:40

    I endorse Sutton/Heinert ticket for Governor 2018.

  43. BlackHills76 2017-05-30 22:49

    Thanks for the shout out Cory!

  44. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-05-30 22:50

    Interesting sense that BH76 gets that Sutton would run better against Noem than against Jackley. I can see the possibility that his authenticity would lay bare Kristi’s fake rodeo-pageant act. But both Noem and Jackley have bigger weaknesses. Noem will be hauling Trump around her neck. Jackley will be hauling EB-5, GEAR UP, the failed Hagen prosecution, and a lack of fiery stump presence around with him. Both offer Sutton openings for serious attack.

    And I maintain that a Democratic nominee will win in 2018 only by going on serious attack.

  45. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-05-30 22:54

    Grudz, are you volunteering to help fill the campaign coffers to make Porter’s dream come true? Since your favorite legislators repealed IM22, you could form a few dark PACs and write big checks to “Heidelberger Campaign Fund”… but darn it—SB 54 limits PAC donations to $5,000, and that sneaky Senator Sutton that line about not converting campaign funds to personal use, so I can’t use the money to buy you and me breakfast after I win… ;-)

  46. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-05-30 22:56

    And Clara, do you have an inside track on Sutton’s LG pick? :-)

  47. Jenny 2017-05-31 02:26

    Sutton/Heinert would be the best ticket the SDDP has had in a long time, Clara! I agree Cory, whoever runs will need to, and should, attack the republican failure to reign in corruption and attack it hard.

    The dirty stunt the GOP in Pierre pulled in declaring the emergency vote on IM22 might come back to haunt them. Arrogance at it sleaziest.

  48. Jenny 2017-05-31 02:33

    And Noem is going to have a harder time than she ever thought she would because of Trump.
    Bring on the Townhalls that the GOP like to run from! Game on!

  49. Kelly Cooper 2017-05-31 11:07

    The LG is Jason Ravnsborg, he’ll run for anything. Doesn’t matter if he isn’t qualified.

    Sutton/Ravsnborg !!!

  50. Nick Nemec 2017-05-31 13:08

    And Troy is as wrong as ever with his prediction Sutton is running for the House.

  51. Kelly Cooper 2017-05-31 13:34


  52. Troy 2017-05-31 13:34


    I sure am. It wasn’t a prediction though. It was a statement I believed was informed which turned out to be misinformed. I guess these Dems assumed Sutton would choose running where a guy from Burke and never elected beyond his local district could access national money, attract national talent, and not run against recent statewide juggernauts. Or it was wishful thinking they wouldn’t have to vote for Huether.

    But, my statement was wrong and I admit it.

  53. Darin Larson 2017-05-31 14:02

    Troy, the SDSU mascot is the Jackrabbit. You must not have heard about them. They are kind of a big deal.

  54. Paul T 2017-05-31 14:13

    Cory – agree Billie has to go on the attack, but only if it is state corruption, lack of transparency, nepotism, and letting corporations get away with anything at the expense of the small business and farms.

    Attack that hard and I don’t see how he could lose unless he doesn’t raise enough $$$.

  55. Troy 2017-05-31 14:17


    Maybe it is a rock, paper, scissors thing. Vikings, Coyotes, Wolves, Tigers, Trojans, and Hardrockers all eat jackrabbits. And Yellow Jackets pester them into exhaustion and confusion. That’s it: consider my mistake a Yellow Jacket moment.

  56. Porter Lansing 2017-05-31 16:33

    Powers and Lederman are posting lies like “men on meth” about the newest in the Guber race. Neither are particularly street wise or wise at all, for that matter. It’s but a short matter of time before one of these fellows has his “Kathy Griffin Moment”. Stay tuned, South Dakota moderates. Turn your heads if you don’t want to see grown men embarrassed beyond redemption.☚

  57. Jenny 2017-05-31 18:43

    Porter, The Toilet followers are talking up a storm about Billie, almost like they’re a tad nervous. Powers is always talking about SD Dems though. He, Troy and their toilet minions like to use them for their whipping posts. If they would just come to the realization that they need us for good stable government. Two party system works in MN, why can’t it in SD?

  58. Porter Lansing 2017-05-31 19:02

    You’re always right on point, Jenny. 👍🏻 When something stinks in South Dakota, it stinks up our whole USA. It’s every liberal’s duty to help clean it up.

  59. bearcreekbat 2017-05-31 19:41

    Help me out Porter – I thought Trump and his minions were opposed to the politically correct police, and encouraged and praised “politically incorrect” comments and tweets. Griffin’s tweet seems to be as politically incorrect as it could be, thus should be cheered by the Trumpites. I’m confused???

  60. Porter Lansing 2017-05-31 19:57

    BCB … Every redneck I know thinks it’s funny as hell. If you can’t take a joke how can you take an impeachment … and still smile. 😊

  61. grudznick 2017-05-31 20:08

    I bet you Mr. Nelson, the big fella with the loud mouth who doesn’t have a grasp of proper procedures in the legislatures, I bet you he ends up as Mr. Sutton’s assistant Governor. Mark my words, fellows. A fusion ticket, they will call it, and they will march in the streets!

  62. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-05-31 20:46

    They should be nervous. One relatively objective and experienced observer at today’s event at the ranch said Sutton is the best candidate Democrats have fielded since Dick Kneip… and we all know how Kneip turned out.

  63. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-05-31 20:53

    Paul T, that’s the attack I heard this morning at the ranch.

  64. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-05-31 20:54

    (Kelly, I’m not sure what dope you’re smoking, but while there are many fusion tickets I would consider, I see no value in running with Jason Ravnsborg or in electing or appointing him to any important public office.)

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