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Wismer Pounds Novstrup with Straight Talk on Gerrymandering

Representative Susan Wismer and Senator Al Novstrup
Ah, metaphor….

Senator Al Novstrup needs to learn when not to play his word games. Teaching him that lesson last night was Representative Susan Wismer.

At the League of Women Voters’ redistricting forum, Tom Black the audience question period to invite Novstrup and his fellow Republican District 3 candidates in the audience to discuss whether they see gerrymandering in South Dakota’s current Legislative map, whether they see gerrymandering as a problem, and whether they would commit to correcting any errors that have been committed in our redistricting process.

The simple answers to those questions are Yes, Yes, and Yes.

Novstrup let his fellow Republican candidates Drew Dennert and Carl Perry answer first, because, I imagine, it sometimes takes Al time to compose his word games. Far be it from me to begrudge a public speaker a few minutes of prep time. But when Al finally grumbled to life, he spun this non-responsive hypothetical:

Al said he’d like to test the current system versus the “political science and geography people” like Dr. Erin Fouberg and other professors speaking at these LWV forums who have expressed an interest in taking a crack at drawing model Legislative maps. Al said he’d like to try a two-step process in which a committee would agree on goals before looking at any maps, like respecting political boundaries and the federal requirements of racial equity (notice that Al didn’t phrase an interest in racial equity itself, just in satisfying the federal mandates). With those goals established, the two groups, academics and legislators, could start drawing. Al said it would be “interesting” to compare the “theoretical” work of the political scientists and the maps the Legislature would produce.

With that vague hand-waving over, Al finally turned directly to Tom’s question and said there was no attempt to place a thumb on the scale in the 2011 redistricting. He turned to Rep. Wismer, still sitting at the front of the room in a panelist’s chair, and asked her if there was any discussion in the redistricting committee of thumbing that scale.

Rep. Wismer replied immediately: that discussion is never had in public.

Undeterred (a word whose syllables I enjoy dividing), Senator Novstrup decided to follow one failed question with another: he asked Rep. Wismer how many districts she would approve of and how many she would disagree with.

Again, without hesitation, Rep. Wismer responded: “1, 2, 3, 15….” She mentioned a couple districts in Rapid City where Native American voters were split up.

“Interesting,” said Novstrup, clearly not interested in Wismer’s continuing a response he did not expect.

Nevertheless, she persisted. Rep. Wismer cited District 13 in Sioux Falls, District 19 and the Kloucek-targeted division of Bon Homme County.

“Thank you,” said Novstrup, clearly not grateful for Wismer’s sharp and ready response, a more direct response to the questions Tom Black directed at his Senator than anything his Senator said.

Wismer’s answers to Black’s questions were clearly the same as mine. Novstrup’s answers are impossible to pin down in the mud of hypotheticals and attempts to put Wismer on the spot, but since Al has trouble using words with meaning in general, I’ll suggest the translation of his responses to Black differ from Wismer’s and mine:

Question Wismer Novstrup
Do you see gerrymandering in South Dakota’s current Legislative map? Yes It’s—you’re asking about, you know, gerrymandering. I don’t know. Have you?
Do you see gerrymandering as a problem? Yes I don’t have a gerrymandering problem; theoretical academics do.
Would you commit to correcting any errors that have been committed in our redistricting process? Yes I can’t even commit to answering a question. Asked and answered.



  1. Debbo 2018-10-05 00:14

    Hahahahahahahaha!!!!! 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

    Did poor Al put on his “poor me, I’m being picked on” face? He’s always so uncute when he’s caught in another lie and so tries to distract by going directly to victim mode. Yup. Rep. Wismer was very good. Al definitely was not.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Jason 2018-10-05 00:23

    Is this the same Wismer that wouldn’t answer my question to her on here?

    I would love to have a conversation with her in person.

  3. jerry 2018-10-05 00:36

    I am thinking that she thinks you a boor widdle Russian, full of potato liquid and smelling of borscht. Go cash your paytroll check then and talk to yourself.

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-10-05 06:35

    Like that of all other legislators, Representative Wismer’s contact information is available here. Call her, Jason, and your love may be requited. But don’t think your word games will bowl her over. You read what she did to Al Tuesday night.

  5. Jason 2018-10-05 07:18

    I asked her very specific questions on here Cory and I would repeat the same questions to her if I called her.

    You can feel free to answer them for her since she doesn’t have the integrity to do so.

Comments are closed.