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Citizens for Liberty Issue Expanded Legislative Scorecard, Find Soholt Not Registered Republican

South Dakota Citizens for Liberty have expanded their scoring of legislators from the Second Amendment review posted in July to an assessment of votes on around twenty bills from the 2017 Session.

“There are lots of scorecards out there, but most of them are more narrowly focused than ours.” said Mike Mueller, President of SDCFL.  “We evaluate the votes of all 105 legislators over a broad spectrum of bills that represent issues people care about.”  The group uses the provisions of the South Dakota and US Constitutions and the planks of the state and national Republican Party platforms as an evaluating guide.  What is unique to this effort is the inclusion of committee votes in the group’s in-depth online chart that features links to the bills and the legislator’s state website page [Citizens for Liberty, press release, 2017.10.09].

Amusingly, the top scorer in the House is SDCFL President Mike Mueller’s wife, Rep. Julie Frye-Mueller (R-30/Rapid City). She gets a 91.7%, with just two votes that SDCFL calls blue/liberal out of 22 listed for House members: Rep. Frye-Mueller voted for Senate Bill 59, which delayed enactment of voter-approved ballot measures until July 1 following the election, and she voted for House Bill 1069, which repealed Initiated Measure 22, the Anti-Corruption Act.

I agree that Rep. Frye-Mueller’s votes on those two bills were wrong. However, I beg to differ with SDCFL’s classification of those yeas as liberal. Given Republican sponsorship of both SB 59 and HB 1069 and given we Democrats’ strenuous opposition to both of those anti-initiative measures, I might argue that nays on both of those bills are truly liberal positions, because we liberals stand for the liberty of the people to make their own laws by initiative, without interference by overreaching legislators. Better yet, I might argue that votes on those two bills don’t fit a typical conservative-vs.-liberal scorecard. We might have to characterize them on a classical reading of our party labels: republicans want a republic, in which legislators temper the whims of the unruly massers, while democrats prefer democracy, in which the people retain as much power as possible over their elected officials and have the final say at the ballot box on issues as well as candidates. Perhaps elitist-vs.-populist would be better.

Citizens for Liberty do show they are not following a typical party-label paradigm. While the top half of their House rankings are all Republicans, their bottom ten are not all Democrats. Only two, District 1’s Reps. Steven McCleery and Susan Wismer, are among the bluest ten. Eight of those rock-bottom liberals are Republicans: Reps. Rozum, Johns, Reed, Hunhoff, Tieszen, Stevens, Turbiville, and—the only zero on the House card—Lance Carson.

Likewise in the Senate, while the top sixteen are all Republicans, led by Senators Stace Nelson and Lance Russell, the bottom ten include only two Democrats, Senators Reynold Nesiba and Craig Kennedy. The Senate’s bluest members include red-dog Senators Haverly, Partridge, Cronin, Soholt, Rusch, Peters, White, and Tidemann.

But wait a minute: CFL stars Senator Deb Soholt and marks her green with “No Party Affiliation.” What’s up with that? She’s part of the Republican caucus, proudly tagged R on her Legislative webpage, but apparently, since right after last year’s election, she’s been registered as “No Party Affiliation.”

Deb Soholt, voter registration form, 2016.12.09.
Deb Soholt, voter registration form, 2016.12.09.

Vote605 confirms that status this morning.

SDCFL lists several other Republicans as former Democrats: Senators Maher, Novstrup, Kolbeck, Solano, and White and Representatives Goodwin, Rhoden, Schoenfish, Glanzer, Rozum, Reed, and Hunhoff. SDCFL appears not to have dug into Democrats’ records to find how many of them (like me over a decade ago) may have once been registered as Republicans.


  1. South DaCola 2017-10-09

    I find the Soholt party affiliation kind of funny. When she first got elected Anne Hajek introduced me to Deb DTSF one night when I ran into them on the sidewalk. I asked Deb if she was pro-choice, she said she WAS NOT but also would not admit to being Pro-Life (she had stated in the press that she supported abortion if it was for rape, incest or health of a mother). I told her that pretty much made her pro-choice, and she argued with me about it and got really angry. I just kept laughing at her and said, um, your pro-choice. So it is no surprise to me she left the Republican Party, she never really was one anyway.

  2. mike from iowa 2017-10-09

    Did legislators get reamed about corruption in the wingnut party? Was it even brought up? Did anyone ask whether they believe oversight is a necessary and useful tool to prevent more wingnuts from committing criminal acts?

  3. Rorschach 2017-10-09

    If Deb Soholt comes back to the GOP Party again to run for re-election next year after bolting the party, Shawn Tornow will primary her. Dems should pick up that seat easily if Tornow gets the GOP Party nomination and Marc Feinstein runs against him.

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-10-09

    South DaCola, what do you think it would take for Soholt to admit she’s more Democrat than Republican? Would she fit with us on other issues? Does she wear the R purely for opportunistic reasons, or does she hew the party line on economic issues?

    Mike, the only clear overlap with corruption is CFL’s opposition to the repeal of IM 22. The other bills listed deal more frequently with refugees, abortion, and other religious issues.

  5. Thomas 2017-10-09

    Very interesting, I have a feeling Tornow will use this against her in the primary.
    Or you might see the person who ran against her as independent run against her as well.
    He was registered republican as well.

    It’s interesting the South Dakota war college came to her defense since she isn’t much of a republican anyways.

    Economically and socially she’s more democrat.
    However I’ve always felt she was just a puppet for the healthcare organaiztions.

  6. Stace Nelson 2017-10-09

    The Irony. She was calling for me to be thrown out of the Republican caucus for me being so outspoken (on conservative issues).

    This goes into much more detail than the American Conservative Union one, for me it was 36 bills Mr “H,” not 20ish.

  7. South DaCola 2017-10-09

    Cory, you know these peeps much better than I do, but I would agree she probably bears the ‘R’ to win elections. Oldest trick in the book.

  8. Rorschach 2017-10-09

    We’re onto the game Sen. Nelson. Your friend and lawyer Shawn Tornow thinks Soholt is a RINO and wants to cut her down in size before he runs against her in 2018, so the opposition research gets dropped to a place that will publish it. Pretty stupid to put it out now as opposed to 5 months from now though. If somebody had kept quiet about the registration change until she put in her GOP Party re-election petitions next year they could have gotten her thrown off of the ballot and had the issue fresh in the minds of voters if she put in a second set of GOP Party petitions.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-10-09

    Needing some spin, Soholt tells the SDGOP spin blog that her NPA is really just a mistake after an oh-so-busy day, that she registered GOP every time before that busy day at the driver’s license office, and that she’ll fix her endearingly human error shortly.

    Ror, far be it from me to worry about effective tactics. ;-)

  10. Stace Nelson 2017-10-09

    @Rorschach Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. SD would undoubtedly be better served with an actual conservative like Mr Tornow; however, I had nothing to do with Senator Soholt’s atrocious “Republican” record or her registering as “No Party Affiliation.” Don’t give up your junior woodchuck investigator badge yet though.

  11. grudznick 2017-10-09

    Mr. Nelson, how much are you authorizing to pay contractors to remodel your private bathroom behind the legislatures chambers? You know the one, the one you hid in while young, pretty Ms. Soholt stood bravely on her floor and voted.

  12. Stace Nelson 2017-10-09

    @Grudznick You just go ahead and keep taking a knee.. Begrudging a broken down old service-connected disabled Marine time on the crapper is just your style. But heck, I’m a good sport. Crawl out from under your rock long enough, grab some of your internet troll buddies, and come poke the old Marine in the chest. We’ll see how much excrement can actually be flushed down those old antique toilets. ;-) probably better if you stay in the lobby though.

  13. grudznick 2017-10-09

    Oh, you’ve been poked, Mr. Nelson. You’ve been poked. But now you can hide in a marble head, eh? As an ex-marine, you should know better.

  14. Stace Nelson 2017-10-09

    It’s your delusion, break out some popcorn and have a little party of one under that rock. Hide in a marble head? No need, I’m living large in yours rent free 😉

  15. Rorschach 2017-10-10

    I never accused you of having anything to do with “Senator Soholt’s atrocious “Republican” record or her registering as “No Party Affiliation.”

    I accused you of not only taking part in the Spanish Inquisition to flush out “heretics” within the GOP Party, but of being the Chief Inquisitor, Sen. “Torquemada” Nelson. It’s you and your Council of the Suprema doing the woodchucking. I’m just eating popcorn and enjoying the show.

  16. Rorschach 2017-10-10

    Sen. Nelson and his buddies are a better fit for the extremism of the Constitution Party. The could take over that party and be the kings and queens of that party, but they wold rather be the court jesters of the GOP Party. Clown on.

  17. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-10-10

    Ror, I’d love to see a mass exodus of the Nelson wing of the GOP to the Constitution Party and great three-way ballots in all three Legislative districts.

  18. Stace Nelson 2017-10-10

    Rorschach is a perfect fit for his granny’s basement and should stay there. His self exile under a cartoon character’s name provides adequate solace to his needs to be in a safe space.

    @CAH There are some similarities; however, as the good folks at both the National Conservative Union and the SD Citizens for Liberty aptly point out, I am properly employed as a conservative Republican. How about all those faux conservatives who run claiming to be a Bull elephant conservative Republican actually start being one or honestly register as Democrats. As you point out, little for anyone to argue that their scorecards point out the obvious that those who pay attention, already know. The ‘R” doesn’t magically make them Republicans.

  19. grudznick 2017-10-10

    Not ultra conservatives. Nut jobs.

  20. grudznick 2017-10-10

    The Scorecard Scorecard already has that scorecard scored. It scored an “F” for legitimacy. Mr. Nelson is the top of the “F” class. I’m working on my second annual scorecard of the effectiveness of all of the legislatures and I can tell you the computer math is astounding. But it is also irrefutable.

  21. grudznick 2017-10-10

    Alert Mr. H. Somebody did a really poor job of redacting things on that picture of the Minnehaha form. If you zoom in with embiggening software you can easily read Ms. Soholt’s birthday and driver’s license number. That might be a law problem, or maybe not, but it is for sure rude. Polite people would not post personal information on the internets. There might even be laws against this, because it might open up people for those fishers or for identity theft. Shame.

  22. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-10-11

    Grudz, LRC also posts those birthdates in its historical listings.

    There is statute (SDCL 12-4-9) that says the county auditor is supposed to restrict access to the month and day of birth of registered voters in the master registration file. Shame on the county auditor for not knowing statute.

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