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Tornberg and Lucas Buying Lunch for Voters at Dem Chair Election

Who loves you, baby? Ann Tornberg and Larry Lucas, that’s who.

If you’re present to cast a vote for state officers of the South Dakota Democratic Party in Oacoma on March 23, incumbent chair Tornberg and her preferred vice-chair candidate Larry Lucas are buying you lunch:

Dear Executive Board and State Central Committee Members:

A sincere thanks to all of you who serve on the Executive Board and State Central Committee of the South Dakota Democratic Party. As a small token of our thanks and appreciation, Ann and Larry would like to invite you to lunch. On us! This will be a box lunch (sandwich, fruit, chips, cookie, and water) available starting at 12 noon on Sat. March 23rd at the Arrowwood at Cedar Shores in Oacoma. It will be available right up to the start of the meeting, so please grab your lunch on the way into the meeting if you are arriving right at 1 pm.

See you soon,

Ann Tornberg, Candidate for Chair

Larry Lucas, Candidate for Vice Chair [e-mail, received by Dakota Free Press 2019.03.09].

South Dakota’s statute which arguably prohibits food for votes applies only to federal, state, and local elections. Tornberg and Lucas can slap stickers on those lunch boxes and every wrapped item therein saying, “Vote for Ann and Larry!”

So, you other five chair candidates, Tornberg has scooped you on lunch. What will the rest of you offer to show your party love?


  1. Travis Wicks 2019-03-10

    I never got that invite for a free, lunch I’m a voter AND an E-board member… I guess she knows who I’m voting for already.

  2. ACB 2019-03-10

    Funny story – this didn’t go to all SCC and eboard members.

  3. JOHN F CUNNINGHAM 2019-03-10

    Having been a strong supporter of ethics in government by personally funding a scholarship for the best essay on Improving Ethics in South Dakota Government, this kind of action deeply offends my sense of ethics and fairness. However, if our voting members can actually be bought with a lunch, the party deserves to continue on the shameful path of the last decade .

  4. DustyDakotan 2019-03-10

    I hope she wins.

  5. PMCA 2019-03-10

    I sincerely hope voting members see this for what it is and reject these two candidates

  6. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr., 2019-03-10

    This has been quite the journey for us all. First, it was going to be an election on January 26th, then that was changed to March 23rd. Then, it was briefly suggested that the one who wins a purality would win the chairmanship, but then that was changed to a runoff of the top two. Although, Robert’s Rules of Order, which the SDDP adheres to, calls for continual balloting like a classic political convention until a candidate is found; but with a further “but then,” we were then told that the SDDP suspends Robert’s Rules of Order from time to time and now after all of this some want to give us a free lunch…Oh, and don’t forget that all of these elections rules still have to be approved by the State Central Committee on the 23rd before balloting can begin, too.

    Personally, I do not offer a free lunch, or a website, what I offer is a future where we turn something red into purple through the targeting of races, enhanced voter registration drives, an effective canvassing/GOTV effort, and a future where we must immediately codify as a political party the way that future SDDP elections will be held…. Now that is what I call food for thought and the real lunch that South Dakota Democrats definitely deserve.

  7. Travis Wicks 2019-03-10

    John, I can speak to the reasoning for the proposed election rules for the election:

    The thought process was that if we didn’t have any process of eliminating candidates, we potentially could be re-voting multiple times for each of the 3 officer positions. With so many candidates for chair, specifically, if no one would be willing to drop out, it could go on for a very long time, and we wanted to be considerate to people who would still have to travel home.

    It might not be a perfect solution, but it was the best idea the E-board could think of to suggest.

    Of course, the real solution to this without having to suspend Robert’s Rules is for one of you to win one vote more than 50% in the first casting.

    Oh, and winning by a simple plurality was never an official decision, it was simply a rumor.

  8. Roger Cornelius 2019-03-10

    The South Dakota republican party is so white they look like a bunch of albinos, and they like it that way.

  9. Travis Wicks 2019-03-10

    Jason, don’t you think John meant “races” as in campaign races? It would be contextually logical to infer that versus assuming he meant ethnicity.

  10. Roger Cornelius 2019-03-10

    John K. Claussen, do you want to explain to DFP resident troll the definition of “race” in terms of your usage.

  11. Roger Cornelius 2019-03-10

    How can a comment be false, it is a comment.

  12. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr., 2019-03-11

    My above comment, when using the word “races,” was meant in the context of political races.

    Travis, thank you for your input. You are right that a convention style vote could go on forever, but the logic behind it is to create a consensus candidate. With six candidates, the two run-off candidates could have a combine initial support of only 35% of the voting members.

    As far as the “rumor,” I know where it got its start. One of my operatives called the SDDP about the election rules, and that is how that SDDP official initally explained the election.

    But regardless of the outcome on the 23rd, the next chairperson needs to definitely put in motion and codify more specific rules about future elections in terms of the date and the voting manner.

  13. Travis Wicks 2019-03-11

    I would agree with that, John. Do you have a better alternative to what the E-board is recommending? Do you think it would be better to just follow Robert’s Rules as it stands? I know I’m not the only one on the board that was trying to find a solution that would honor the standing rules and be mindful of everyone’s time. This was the best we could come up with. But I’m always open to a better plan. If you have one, let me know and I can present to the eboard at our meeting prior to the election on the 23rd.

  14. TAG 2019-03-11

    Sorry to be a broken record, but Ranked-Choice-Voting (RCV) A.K.A “Instant runoff” voting is the perfect solution to this, in my opinion.

    It provides multiple runoff rounds with only ONE round of actual voting. Candidates are eliminated each round of tallying, until a 50% + 1 majority “consensus” candidate is named. Quite simple, acutally.

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-03-11

    Travis, ACB, really? Not everyone got the invite? My goodness… the full list of recipients and non-recipients could be useful to candidates hoping to target their campaigns.

  16. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr., 2019-03-11

    Travis, I think it should be handled like a political convention with the potential for multiple balloting and the election of officers should be the only thing that we do on the 23rd.

    Else, I like the RCV/IRV approach to speed things up.

  17. JOHN F CUNNINGHAM 2019-03-11

    This meeting should have been taken more seriously. Selecting the next chair is the most important decision the party will make in the next four years. Yet, the action is squeezed in around another meeting. This should be the only agenda item and adequate time for all candidates to make the voting members fully aware of what they can expect from that candidate. That should take more than five minutes. The assumption is that each county would invite all the candidates and give them all the time they need to present their case. That was preposterous and simply an excuse to dump the responsibility for an informed decision onto the counties. It was impossible for 66 counties to schedule 6 different candidates and give each enough time to present their case. The meeting in Oacoma should have been scheduled with sufficient time to make the voting members fully informed of each candidate’s platform. A fully informed decision is critically important for resurrecting this party and I am surprised at how little concern has been given that decision. It has been treated as a perfunctory process to be gotten over as quickly as possible.

  18. ACB 2019-03-11

    To clarify, I did eventually get the email in what was I assume the second round of invitations.

    I believe the SCC can move to table all other agenda items to focus our time solely on the election.

    As a SCC member I am fine with nominating speech and candidate speech time restrictions – we do this at the state party convention and it works out just fine. I spend enough of my time in politics listening to men pontificate on end that I am loathe to give any candidate an open floor at the election meeting.

    As a candidate for chair or other state party office, it is on you the candidate to get your message out to the voting delegates. I’ve heard from most of the candidates via mail, email, or county party meetings and consider myself to be well-informed (especially considering campaigning has been going on since Nov/Dec).

    So, candidates for chair – edit those speeches and try to not berate those of us that have been showing up and doing the work of the party.

  19. Travis Wicks 2019-03-11

    Preach, ACB! I couldn’t agree with you more.

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