Governor Dennis Daugaard’s money apparently gets better with age. After a mixed record of success in picking primary winners in past elections, Daugaard saw his cash endorsements win in all but one race last night.
This spring, Governor Daugaard gave $1,000 to Dusty Johnson, who won the Republican nomination for U.S. House last night. Daugaard also gave $1,000 to eleven Republican Legislative candidates facing primary challenges. Daugaard-graced Sen. Gary Cammack, Rep. Mike Diedrich, Jon Hansen, Rep. Tom Holmes, Rep. David Johnson, Sen. Kris Langer, Jess Olson, Rep. Kent Peterson, Rep. Kyle Schoenfish, and Rep. Larry Zikmund all won nominations last night, most of them against arguably more conservative challengers.
The only Daugaard moderate who didn’t win last night was Amanda Scott, who only scored 41% against perennial District 33 favorite and flaming wingnut Senator Phil Jensen, who’s always been a thorn in Daugaard’s side.
Relatively moderate Daugaard goes 11 for 12 in primary endorsements after going halfsies in past primaries. Relatively moderate Dusty Johnson beats Trump-tacking Shantel Krebs and Trump-tacky Neal Tapio. Several Republican Legislative candidates beat back harder right challengers. I’ll develop this theme more today: Daugaard’s increased endorsement success in his only Trump-era primaryis exhibit #1 in my argument that Trump won’t help South Dakota Republicans win in 2018.