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May, Nelson, Howard Form Conservative Republican Caucus

Last night Rep. Liz May (R-27/Kyle) and Sen. Stace Nelson (R-19/Fulton) filed paperwork (electron-work?) to create the Conservative Republican Caucus PAC. The PAC’s mail goes to treasurer Rep. Taffy Howard’s (R-33/Rapid City) home address. Their declared purpose: to “strengthen and defend the number of minority conservative Republican legislators in the SD Legislature.”

(Hmmm… if the PAC is defending a minority, I assume it will disband if it becomes a majority?)

The PAC is the fundraising wing of the newly formed Conservative Republican Caucus, housed in the same 4309 South Louise office building as Nelson’s pal, attorney, former and aspiring legislator R. Shawn Tornow. Membership is by invitation only to individuals who score better than 60% on the Citizens for Liberty Conservative Scorecard (a new edition of which was released last week). By that criterion, eight Republican Senators and nineteen Republican Representatives are eligible for CRC membership and support. Four of those incumbets (five, if Lance Russell gets the nomination for attorney general) are not seeking to return to the Legislature.

The press release issued by the CRC at the crack of dawn this morning says they’ve formed in part to counter “the ever increasing liberal direction Republican legislators are being pushed to meet the demands of special interest groups interested in government spending.” The CRC contends that truly conservative legislators “are historically the least contributed to by lobbyists due to their voting against such spending.”

CRC says the “final straw” leading to their organization was Governor Dennis Daugaard’s “renewed heavy financial support of some of the worst liberal Republicans in the primary elections, over conservatives….” The incumbent Republicans to whom Governor Daugaard contributed $1,000 each pre-primary have CfL conservative scores that average to 36.6; the highest conservative score among Daagaard’s favorites belongs to Rep. Howard’s District 33 seatmate and primary contender Rep. David Johnson, who scored 49.5, the same as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Senator Bille Sutton (D-21/Burke).

CRC chairs May and Nelson offer these justifications for their PACkification:

May: We need true Republicans that represent what the party stands for, limited government, deregulation, cutting taxes, and promoting liberty and freedom. It’s crucial to hold the Party to core conservative principals [sic].

Nelson: The Conservative Republican Caucus will be an avenue for South Dakotans to support actual conservative Republican legislators who match their campaign promises up with demonstrated voting records supporting South Dakota Republican traditional conservative principles. These liberal “Republicans” have used the reputations of we conservatives to fool the voters, while stuffing their pockets with special interest monies and voting for more, and more tax & spending increases, long enough [Conservative Republican Caucus PAC, press release, 2018.05.29].

I share May and Nelson’s dismay at the number of dishonest Republicans in the Legislature who campaign as fiscal conservatives but then vote for just as many tax increases as they hair-on-fire warned that Democrats would deliver. Of course, I’ll be spending the election season urging voters to choose honest Democrats over dishonest Republicans. Perhaps when the primary is done (one week to go!), the CRC can recognize that the enemies of their enemies are their friends and send some quiet support to Democrats in districts currently held by the dishonest, opportunist, lobbyist-captured “Republicans.”


  1. Donald Pay 2018-05-29

    I think there are some folks who confuse anti-tax nihilism with fiscal conservatism.

  2. Dana P 2018-05-29


  3. Stace Nelson 2018-05-29

    I think there are some folks who confuse raising taxes in the face of so much corruption, lack of accountability, and hundreds of millions of misplaced tax dollars, as being fiscally responsible..

  4. jerry 2018-05-29

    You guys just don’t wear the masks that regular crooks wear, but make no mistake, you all are just as big of crooks by standing around with your hands in your pockets. Take a look at your lack of infrastructure in our state. You and yours have diminished any other description of yourselves as anything but a failed state. We have plenty of money to fix all of our woes, but you guys won’t follow through on what Liz May herself, identified. Now you want us all to believe that somehow if you form another pac for more money, you all are gonna deliver. Not even brother, you all are the cactus caucus, think about that.

  5. Stace Nelson 2018-05-29

    @Jerry and you are a bitter loser rabidly biting anonymously at anything that opposes your devout Leftist beliefs. If we’re the “cactus caucus?” You’re the mushroom caucus (in more ways than one). You continue to be a mushroom living in the dark and consuming BS as we walk in the light of day. Pound your “crooks” comments, ya cowardly troll.

  6. Dicta 2018-05-29

    Stace Nelson, the man who challenges people who disagree with him to fights, is accusing others of rabidly lashing out at others. Irony is dead. Long live irony.

  7. jerry 2018-05-29

    The cactus caucus fits you all to a T. Why don’t you follow up on what Liz May said and recover some of those freebies you fellers like to give out and then act surprised when you find out the bridge has fallen down from lack of funds. One thing about a mushroom, they are positive, they know where they have come from and are happy for the ride. Cactus on Russian/right wing blather, is just is an irritation caused by the pricks.

  8. Donald Pay 2018-05-29

    Fine, Stace, I can agree there is waste and corruption. Go after that, or, since you failed at that, give the public the tools to do it. But you countenanced waste and corruption by stripping the public of their initiative and their rights when they actually passed something that solved some of the waste and corruption. You could have played a courageous role in the Republican Party, but you went along with the corruption because some lobbyists told you to. You lack credibility on waste and corruption, so all you are left with is anti-tax nihilism. It’s almost as if you want waste and corruption, just directed toward different folks and so you can have an excuse to not fund good programs.

  9. Robert McTaggart 2018-05-29

    Sorry Cory, South Dakota state law prevents us from isolating corruption down a deep borehole….hazardous waste and all that.

  10. Stace Nelson 2018-05-29

    @Dicta You should say in your safety zone so you don’t imagine threats that never occurred. You want lilacs and roses? I suggest you rabid anonymous liberals don’t lead with lies & bile.

    @Donald Pay Your comments brings to mind Ronald Reagan’s perfect comment about your type: ‘It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.’ You appear to be talking about IM22? Despite opposing that monstrosity during the election? Senator Lance Russell and I were two of the most outspoken opponents of the corrupt effort to overturn it with HB1069! So your comments while being ignorant, were equally evident that what you declare to know? Just isn’t so.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-05-29

    The CRC has a valid critique to offer, one that can support the goals of better public works and accountability that Donald seeks.

    The CRC continues the RINO critique of the existing GOP leadership. Mickelson, Qualm, Rhoden, Novstrup, and other RINOs mouth the slogans of May and Nelson not out of principle but out of opportunism—specifically, for the opportunity to keep and amass power. In the process, the RINOs exclude more and more sensible, civic-minded Democrats from office. Hard-right opponents like May and Nelson are still able to sneak in wearing their Rs and fight the GOP mainstreamers plans, but that opposition usually only takes us farther away geuninely progressive, liberating policies. Besides, the GOP’s one-party control has extended far enough that they can marginalize genuine conservative Republicans like May and Nelson.

    Imagine what could happen if the CRC gets serious, fields candidates, wins elections, and supplants the RINOs. Instead of a cabal of Mickelsonites who pass laws to benefit themselves and their cronies, the Legislature would be dominated by two honestly competing forces: May/Nelson purist conservative Republicans who want government to do nothing but praise the Lord and chain down women to prevent abortions versus an assortment of Sutton/Wismer/Nesiba Democrats who actually believe in government’s ability to provide public goods. Given that much clearer, more honest choice between political philosophies, South Dakotans would see the road to ruin that arch-conservatism paves, elect more Democrats, and ensure better schools, roads, and parks for everyone.

    It is in Democrats’ interest to see the CRC succeed in challenging RINOs from within party ranks, win more seats, and show South Dakotans more clearly that this state depends on Democrats and the Democratic Party philosophy to keep our doors open for business.

  12. Jenny 2018-05-29

    I remember, Stace and Lance were two of the very few Pubs that opposed overturning IM 22.

  13. Jenny 2018-05-29

    Cory I think you would work better with Nelson than what’s in Pierre today, if elected. I think you could persuade Stace and work with him on bipartisan bills, I really do. Stace is an outsider like you, not a Member of The Club.

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-05-29

    Jenny, thanks for that affirmation. Stace Nelson is many things, but he’s not a clubby snob like Mickelson and his cronies. Senator Nelson and I could find plenty of bills on which we’d vote the same way… and when we confront bills on which we disagree, we’d give you an honest, vigorous debate on the merits.

  15. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-29

    After 15 months of a republican presidency and 40 years of republican state rule republicans are still rabid and angry. It seems that Stace and the
    Trumpers would find some level of contentment.
    Why are republicans still so damn angry as Stace demonstrates in his comments?

  16. mike fom iowa 2018-05-29

    Attempting to find common ground with wingnuts is seen as an overture to capitulation.

  17. Jenny 2018-05-29

    High energy is a part of Stace’s personality is all. What you see is what you get, he’s not fake. Deep down he is not a bad person. I would rather work with Stace than some entitled golden boy (Mickelson) whom South Dakotans think can do no wrong.

  18. Donald Pay 2018-05-29

    Yup, not often does this happen, but I was badly mistaken. Stace did stand up against the repeal of IM-22, and caught flak from the corrupt Republicans for that stance. He did the right thing. I apologize for being wrong on that.

    And Cory is right. People with different ideologies can work on issues that we agree on. That is how many great fights have been won in South Dakota. But Democrats do have to have more leverage in this fight by winning more seats.

  19. grudznick 2018-05-29

    My guess is Mr. Mickelson stood up, with some of the libbies (like Ms. Wismer) and semi-libbies (like Mr. Sutton) against various bathroom bills and anti-muslim rants, so pick which you want to side with, minority: The Conservatives with Common Sense, or those insaner than most.

    The IM #22 was a sloppily written unconstitutional piece of garbage hoodwinked over the voters heads. If you don’t like that, do a better job next time with the sloppy writing and don’t have Slick Rick as your backer.

    The bathroom bills will get shoved down your maws if this new Insaner Caucus has their way.

  20. Stace Nelson 2018-05-29

    @Donald Pay Respect! I have a record of doing the right thing and NOT playing the petty partisan political games. I have relatives who are Democrats, LOVE them dearly. My record shows I’m a rock-ribbed conservative. It’s the RINOs that have to play the games and beat their chests to distract from their poor records. My constituents know who I am and that’s the reason why I pulled down 78.2% of the vote in November 2016 in the general with record level voter turn outs after 8 years of the establishments gutter level politics lying about me and pushing their NAZIesque propaganda. We are not going to agree on a majority of issues; however, I am not the enemy. I love my Democrat, Independent, and Republican constituents equally. Some are happier with me on the side of the issues I am on.. But none of them should ever think that I am not THEIR legislator.

    @Jenny God bless ya, probably more apt to say “passionate” :-D Arthritis and too many years in the Marines have sapped any “high energy” I might have once had.

  21. grudznick 2018-05-29

    Mr. Rhoden is the rhock rhibbed conservative in the legislatures. And he beat Mr. Nelson in a past election, too. Mr. Nelson has no respect from anybody except those insaner than most, and much of that is because some of them are not smart enough to realize they are being manipulated.

  22. Jenny 2018-05-29

    Oh, good lord, Grudz! Is that a knock on Cory? He respects Nelson for his military service and fighting against SD corruption. And like I say, Cory is very very intelligent and knows SD state government like the back of his hand!

    Grudz is just upset because the Late King Mickelson’s Prince, golden boy Markie is turning out to be not so golden.

  23. grudznick 2018-05-29

    Ms. Jenny, I thought it was a knock on Mr. Nelson’s large noggin. I can see the confusion about comment about many of those respecting Mr. Nelson not being very smart, but clearly that was not a try to get a tragedy out of Mr. H. I was, if you must know, thinking specifically about Ms. May and some of her relatives.

  24. Debbo 2018-05-29

    Stace, this is somewhat off topic, but I have a question. Looking at the behavior of the GOP in DC, do you think the party needs a total rebuild, dumped and start a new Conservative Party, or something else?

    I believe the US needs a conservative balance and I don’t know if the GOP in DC can be saved. What do you think? If you don’t want to get into this now, I understand. I’m just concerned.

  25. Straight outta Ridge 2018-05-29

    Meanwhile, May enjoys subsidized leases on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation due to her husbands tribal enrollment*. *There is some dispute as to the validity of enrollment.

  26. grudznick 2018-05-29

    grudznick thought Ms. May was married to that fellow named Mr. Marty. Not the one running for the governorship. A different fellow you never hear about.

  27. Stace Nelson 2018-05-29

    @Grudz Your open desires for the old 21- year Carter Democrat not withstanding? His voting record shows that he is simply a political opportunist and NOT an actual conservative. Your convoluted efforts to obscure your identity while supporting this failed liberal Chicago Lawyers administration will soon be a bad smell on the rear of SD politics.

    @Debbo I feel like President Reagan, it makes no sense whatsoever to turn the party over to these so called moderates. They lie to the public and claim to be conservatives to fool the voters, if truth be told? They will be thrown out on their collective arses when voters discover they are frauds. Val Rausch? Gene Abdallah? Dave Knudson? Jackie Sly? Bruce Ramplberg? Matthew Wollman? etc, etc, etc.. Its why the RINOs like Pat Powers scream when their propaganda is shown to be exactly that. The only thing they can offer in defense of their charlatan ranks is dishonest lies and propaganda.

  28. mike fom iowa 2018-05-30

    Raygun was the optimal political opportunist. He was a Dem and when he discovered he was going senile, he switched to wingnuts because they don’t know fantasy from reality.

    And wingnuts never figured him out until it was too late.

  29. John W 2018-05-31

    Stace: If you can’t disagree without hurling insults and character assassination, why don’t you just shut up………..Churchill was right…………. American’s (like Stace) will do the right thing only after trying every thing else.” If you ever started a conversation or debate with anything beside a self righteous accusation and insult, people might actually think you had something to offer.

  30. Stace Nelson 2018-05-31

    @John W If you can’t surf the blogs without having a major snowflake meltdown? Maybe you should spare us all your hurt feelings when others aren’t willing to be a punching bag for a bunch of anonymous trolls who throw fecal matter like petulant simians. Sorry (not sorry) to deprive you of your victimhood, me responding to the fecal matter throwing doesn’t make you or the anonymous fecal chuckers victims of anything other than their own dishonest cowardice. You mean like the 78.2% that voted for me in a record turn out year? If I could only hope to aspire to the levels of support that such a stalwart anonymite like you inspires..

  31. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-31

    This morning former Speaker of the House John Boehner said “there is no longer a republican there is a Trump Party.
    Along with the Trump Party comes their own vocabulary which is overused and which we have all heard.
    Among the most recent entries to their new words is:
    Safe place.
    And of course there are faux attempts to pity you and even offers to pray for you.

  32. Stace Nelson 2018-05-31

    Well, if John Boehner said so… I guess that is that (eyes roll) I LOVE how you spend so much time trying to desperately paint every Republican with the same prejudiced brush, even as you whine and complain that you are a victim of their prejudice. Not me Roger, no pity from me. I associate more with the Good Lord Jesus who overturned tables and whipped scoundrels.

  33. owen reitzel 2018-05-31

    “Well, if John Boehner said so… I guess that is that (eyes roll) I LOVE how you spend so much time trying to desperately paint every Republican with the same prejudiced brush, even as you whine and complain that you are a victim of their prejudice.”

    And you don’t do the same thing to Democrats Stace?

  34. Roger Cornelius 2018-05-31

    I have never whined or complained that I am a victim of prejudice nor would I. You show your prejudices by thinking that every Native American wants your pity, well guess what? They don’t and most have no reason to care about you one way or another.
    If you can’t handle a fair observation by John Boehner, that is your problem and a problem of the republican party.
    And no, I don’t paint all republicans with a broad brush, there are too many of them that are good people with good ideas who’s voices are drowned out by republicans like you

  35. grudznick 2018-05-31

    Mr. Nelson, I am sure President Reagan would not be invited into the Insaner Clown Caucus since he was a registered Democrat for many years. The ICC will get many a laugh, indeed.

  36. John W 2018-05-31

    Nelson proves my point every time………. More low rent, political gang banger language and incoherent observations from a self centered idealogue that hasn’t accomplished one thing in a political career originating out of a rural county not known for it’s intellectualism but previously known for folks like “empty head” and a few other simpletons that believe they are gods gift to government…… As if we’re suppose to care that 78.2 percent of confused, historical party line voters from an all Ag district voted for you……… I’m not impressed….. If there was somebody in that district capable of reasoned, independent thought and problem solving skills with a few bucks in his pocket to campaign on, we wouldn’t have to entertain the impudent, crude, thoughtless sloth erupting out of Hutchinson and perhaps even Turner counties. You lost huge to two second rate conservatives in the last senate race… I’m impressed…….. You aren’t smart enough to figure out that dissing house leadership and highly skilled attorneys that forgot more about law and government than you ever learned, get’s you kicked out of the republican caucus. You aren’t smart enough to work with others in responsible ways to secure subpoena power for a committee you sit on and when you don’t get your way, you howl like a gut shot coyote and expect everybody to believe you’re a victim of a bigger bully pulpit than the one you pack around in your hip pocket. And while your busy parading around with the pulpit in your pocket, try adding some more glue to that broken chip on your shoulder. I’m not impressed and better yet, I’m not persuaded. Trump lacks the art of the deal, you lack the art of persuasion. Try to find it someplace other than in the bandolier of 5.56 rounds you keep behind the front door…….. The only thing you do Stace is create problems and spend the rest of your time making them worse……. You’re as politically and emotionally sophisticated as a ground squirrel with it’s tail on fire………. Now, you have something else to accuse us “petulant simians” of and erupt in yet another temper tantrum that your the victim of people chucking fecal matter at you………. Hows that from a snowflake. If you want some political respect……….earn it. Your man against an army of wrong headed corrupt political people theory is over the top arrogance. Get over yourself.

  37. Stace Nelson 2018-06-01

    @John W When you have to write a novel to convince yourself you had a point? You didn’t. Thanks for making the point that this supposed ineffective legislator is living rent free in so many heads. :-D

  38. Jason 2018-06-01

    John w.

    Thank you for telling the truth about what Democrats “think” about people who don’t live in the “big” city. Most Democrats lie about their bigotry.

  39. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-01

    Jason’s comment is false. John W is not a big-city Democrat, and he is only one person, so it is doubly false to generalize about Democrats and their views of non-city people from john’s one comment.

    Jason’s comment is also another effort to peel us away from dealing with the topic at hand—which has little to do with Democrats or big cities and much more to do with a split between South Dakota Republicans—and divert us to one of his handful of preferred pre-programmed talking points. That’s the tactic of a lazy ideologue who doesn’t want to deal with the variety of specific topics of direct concern to South Dakotans and instead wants to ape Rush Limbaugh.

  40. Dicta 2018-06-01

    If geographic size elected candidates and not people, that would be a shocking map.

  41. John W 2018-06-01

    Hypocrit. As if you don’t write novels every time you try to convice yourself and all the rest of us of your own self righteous indignation…….. Put a sock in it. Living rent free along with the old woman in her shoe………. If you’re not genuine enough in humility to admit the failures, your pompous arrogance deserves every bit of mean spirited criticism delivered. You can dish it out but your not willing to take it…… And that was my entire purpose. I’m not generally that coarse but it needs to be shown that if you launch into your typical character assassination and gutter political lingo, your going to get it right back in spades. Thusly my initial comment that you might actually be persuasive if you weren’t so obnoxiously abrasive.
    And then along comes Jason with his patented, scurrilous assumptive thinking.
    For the record, I worked and live the majority of a career in counties smaller in population than the two previously mentioned. I even worked a day or two in Hutchinson County. I found the atmosphere unfriendly and closed minded…… But, by the same token, in those rural counties that I lived and worked in for the better share of 20 years, I encountered more than a few who were and are revolted by Stace’s near incoherent assertions of conservatism. Not to include, of course, a good acquaintance here in RC that ushered Mr. Nelson out of a House Forum as a bad actor. They don’t endorse Nelson’s bluster and chest pounding any more than I do. I also am well acquainted with a few of those rural, party line voters that would suggest Nelsons theories are akin to another chapter in the Girl Scout Handbook. I also met a few of those rural residents that were conscious enough to have a respectful conversation with anyone. It was from those people that I started the journey away from errant and inconsiderate conservatism to Independent; which is where I intend to stay until Trumpism, Fascist leaning authoritarians, consipiracy theorists, anti-intellectual non-thinkers, gun worshippers and partisan control freaks wither on their own vine…….. This isn’t about Democrats…. Its all about a conservative Chinese Fire Drill that can’t seem to find reason and relevance for anything; all the while embroiling the rest of us in their self constructed conflicts in hopes of finding sympathy and allies………. You won’t find one in me Jason so spare us the assumptive whine.

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