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DC PAC Money Fills Majority of Noem’s and Sutton’s Last-Lap Tanks

“People who have a national agenda are hijacking our ballots.”

—Gov. Dennis Daugaard, in Dana Hess, “Measure Would Quell Out-of-State Influence in Elections,” Pierre Capital Journal, 2018.10.30

Libertarian Kurt Evans has raised no money and spent no money in his campaign for Governor. Even if he only gets 1% of the vote, he will have gotten infinite return on his investment. Go, Kurt.

Republican Kristi Noem and Democrat Billie Sutton have each raised more dollars than there are voters in the last twelve days since the pre-general campaign finance filing report cut-off. As of supplemental reports filed yesterday, from October 18 through October 30, Noem received $961,285 in large contributions, while Sutton received $624,950.20 in large contributions. (My figures include in-kind contributions.)

Note: SDCL 12-27-28 only requires candidates to immediately report any contributions of $500 or more within the last 20 days before the election. Contributions under $500 need not be reported until the year-end report. Thus, Noem and Sutton have both likely raised more in small-dollar donations over the last two weeks.

Both of the major candidates have received more than half of their money from major Washington D.C. PACs. 60% of Sutton’s last-minute money has come from Democratic Action PAC, which gave Sutton $375,000 on October 25. 70% of Noem’s supplementally reported cash has come from two DC PACs: $600,000 from the Republican Governors Association’s Right Direction PAC, given in two $300K chunks on October 23 and 25, and $75,000 from the Trumpist Great America PAC on October 24.

Absent those big DC interventions, Noem would still be leading Sutton in last-minute big-dollar fundraising, but only by $36,355, a 14.5% margin.

As of yesterday’s reporting, Kristi Noem has raised $6,551,045.18 to win the Governor’s office. Billie Sutton has raised $3,261,719.10, 49.79% of Noem’s haul. Combined they will likely spend over $10 million, more than $18 per each of the available, eligible 545,191 votes in this state.

Kurt Evans need not fuss about such numbers. He will demonstrate how many votes can be gotten without spending a dime (except for gas money to get to the debates).


  1. jimmy james 2018-10-31 09:58

    I’ll bet that the Republican Governor Association never thought that they’d have to come to deep red South Dakota with big checks to keep their governor nominee in the running. I believe that they gave $500,000, $300,000 and another $300,000 already. They have a lot of other races that could have used that cash infusion. Kristi has been blowing her campaign… and a lot of their money.

  2. Kurt Evans 2018-10-31 10:22

    Cory writes:

    Libertarian Kurt Evans has raised no money and spent no money in his campaign for Governor… He will demonstrate how many votes can be gotten without spending a dime (except for gas money to get to the debates).

    Actually I’ve now raised and spent less than $100. I didn’t report gas money for the Libertarian state convention or Dakotafest because I might have attended those events anyway.

    If anyone wants to offer a contribution, please send me a direct message on Twitter and we can talk about it, but I’m not entirely comfortable with the idea of taking money from someone who actually supports one of my opponents.

  3. Jenny 2018-10-31 12:57

    Kristi no show Noem is in the 95-98th percentile For missed votes in the House this year so far. Look it up if you don’t believe me, republicans.
    SD House Seat has been mostly empty this year. So much for being the hard worker that she likes to brag about.
    The hard worker is Jon tester in Montana, democrat running for reelection and hasn’t missed very few votes this year.

  4. Jenny 2018-10-31 13:03

    Tester has missed very few votes this year. noem has been absolutely horrible for missing votes. How can she claim to be a hard worker?
    South Dakotans deserve to have someone representing them in their only House Seat. Very pathetic!

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-10-31 19:37

    Kurt, you are a particular fellow. In what way would your soul be stained if you took money from someone who supports one of your opponents? You’d put the money to better use than either opponent, right?

    By the way, you have one vote in Aberdeen! A trick-or-treat parent reported voting for all Democrats except for in the governor’s race, where you prevailed in that voter’s mind. Start your tally!

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-10-31 19:43

    Jimmy James, you note another positive impact of the Sutton campaign: he’s helping Dems across the country by waging a competitive battle in a state that Democrats and Republicans usually write off. While Sutton is bringing in new money, Noem is requiring a redeployment of existing money that would have gone elsewhere.

    I’m also wondering if the Sutton campaign has limited the ability of the SDGOP to pour money into its Legislative candidates’ races. In 2016, the SDGOP sent out five cards on Al Novstrup’s behalf (four attacking me vigorously, one singing Al’s praises), and at least one attacking our District 3 House candidates as liberals. This year, I’m aware of just one negative mailer on me, one Al-farts-rainbows card, and one “vote for the team” card for the three District 3 Republicans.

    When Dems run big, we all have a better chance of winning.

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