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Citizens for Liberty Scorecards Don’t Correlate with Primary Vote Tallies

I made more than a little deal out of the Citizens for Liberty Legislative scorecards on general and fiscal conservatism. Republicans voters did not.

There were four House primary races yesterday in which sitting legislators with CfL scores went head to head.

  1. In District 14, Rep. Larry Zikmund scored better on both CfL scorecards than Housemate Tom Holmes. Zikmund won 43.6% of the primary vote; Holmes won 33.3%. But they both beat former legislator R. Shawn Tornow, a Stace Nelsonite whom I suspect would have outscored both Zikmund’s and Holmes’s rather anemic CfL ratings but who only pulled 23.1% in the primary.
  2. District 19 saw the same dynamic: Rep. Kyle Schoenfish had better CfL scores than Rep. Kent Peterson and beat Peterson at the polls 41.4% to 30.4%. But both men beat Michael Boyle (28.2%), whose John-Birchiness probably would have turned CfL’s 100-point conservative dials up to 110.
  3. In District 24, Rep. Mary Duvall was fifteen spots behind Rep. Tim Rounds on the general scorecard and four places behind him on the fiscal scorecard. But District 24 Republicans favored Duvall over Rounds 43.8% to 37.9%. But they both beat new Republican Roxanne Weber, who probably would have scored worse than both of her opponents on CfL’s scorecards.
  4. District 33 is in Rapid City, where Citizens for Liberty is based. District 33’s incumbents offered the widest spread of CfL scores of any primary contest: Rep. Taffy Howard was a CfL all-star, one of only seven legislators to break 50% on both scorecards; Rep. David Johnson scored a milquetoasty 49.5% on the general scorecard and an embarrassing 20% on the fiscal scorecard. Yet Johnson edged Howard 39.4% to 38.9%. They left Melanie Torno in the dust back at 21.6%.

There’s no sign that any of the candidates in these races made public hay of the Citizens for Liberty scorecards. But these few head-to-head results of CfL-scored candidates indicate that the conservative groups scorecards had no reliable effect on Republican primary races… and least not as apparent an effect as Governor Dennis Daugaard’s cash endorsements.

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