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Rounds Tries to Label Borglum as Democratic Infiltrator

Mike Rounds must be scared of Scyller Borglum. Instead of letting the rookie legislator from Rapid City wallow in her own chancelessness against the rich incumbent, Team Rounds is attacking Borglum as an out-of-state liberal trying to infiltrate the South Dakota Republican Party. Here’s a fundraising e-mail sent by Rounds campaigner Rob Skjonsberg yesterday:

In a new trend around the country, democrats are working to infiltrate GOP primaries, posing as republicans in red states like South Dakota or funding disruptive challengers with the intent to manipulate the election. The GOP senate majority is slim, currently 53-47. We can’t take any chances to allow the national democrats to scheme and steal South Dakota’s important senate seat.

Yesterday, a primary challenger from the left, announced their [sic] candidacy against Mike.

…Mike is now being attacked by a one-term state legislator, who moved to South Dakota four years ago. The challenger who is attacking Mike has a failing scorecard with multiple, conservative statewide organizations.

2019 Legislative Scorecard:

Family Heritage Alliance: 64%
Americans for Prosperity: 20%
Citizens for Liberty (2nd Amendment): 60%

Mike is the real conservative, with a clear record of accomplishment, in this race and we need your financial support today to keep the U.S. Senate in GOP control, and as the backstop for President Trump.


Please make your donation of $100, $50, $25 or whatever you can afford today! [Rob Skjonsberg, Rounds campaign fundraising e-mail, 2019.07.02]

Borglum is indeed a dreaded out-of-stater, originally from Great Falls, Montana. She got her master’s degree in petroleum engineering from Montana Tech and Highlands College in 2014. She then came to School of Mines for her doctorate in geological engineering, which she earned in May 2018.

How can she be a Democratic infiltrator? She went golfing with Caleb Finck and a giant picture of Kristi Noem at a House GOP fundraiser on June 22! From Scyller Borglum, FB, 2019.06.22.
How can she be a Democratic infiltrator? She went golfing with Caleb Finck and a giant picture of Kristi Noem at a House GOP fundraiser just two weeks ago! From Scyller Borglum, FB, 2019.06.22.

But the themes of her opening campaign speech—Trump has “common sense,” build a wall, let the free market solve health care—make clear she is no Democrat. Team Rounds is just getting a head start in running an ad hominem campaign of slogans and labels rather than any real discussion of policy… which is what we expect from the South Dakota Republican Party.


  1. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr., 2019-07-03 09:26

    This letter is further proof that Borglum is a problem for Rounds, but unfortunately: Where is the Democratic candidate?

    To add credence to this letter, there were Democratic leaders who attended Borglum’s announcment, but given Borglum’s pro-Trump rhetoric at her announcement hopefully those Democrats and their political friends have learned a lesson about why some are Republicans. As well as what Democrats are suppose to do, which is to not attend a Republican rally or promote Republican politics, especially when one is a Democratic leader.

    Irony is too kind of a word to describe how some will criticize Cory for being a sexist one day on this blog, then the next day critics of Cory are seen encouraging the politics of a Trumpster and all of the sexist baggage which comes with such an encouraging acquiescence.

  2. chris 2019-07-03 09:30

    I’m going to venture a guess that Mike is getting pushed out by Turmp and he doesn’t even know it yet. Sure Mike was loud with his hating on Obamacare plenty, but he was so weak-kneed at defending Trump’s trade war after Trump ceded South Dakota’s soybean market to Russia and Brazil. Better to have a senator in place who truly loves the President and who has no ear for any east river noise. And, she will be the leader we need to get that Borehole in place, which real South Dakotans have all been rooting for.

    You thought you talked a good game, Mike. But you knew the rules:

  3. Loren 2019-07-03 09:30

    Next thing you know, Marion will come out with some cute little name for her, just like his D.C. daddy. It gets really tiring watching the GOP’s constant attacks while providing no positive proposals of their own. Perhaps, if Mike had bigger hands, he wouldn’t feel so threatened.

  4. Blake 2019-07-03 10:02

    I’m amazed not once did you talk about Mike Rounds stripping. You must only reserve that for female republicans?

  5. Donald Pay 2019-07-03 10:07

    Who cares? It’s all a show for the dumb and deplorable. Both Magic Marion and The Tease will kiss the corrupt President’s rectum. Both will be ciphers for Dear Leader. Both will drive human beings and agriculture industry up to the slaughterhouse rather stand up to the Orange One. Gutlessness is a contagious disease.

  6. Nick Nemec 2019-07-03 10:12

    “Gutlessness is a contagious disease.”

    The wisest thing I’ve read in a long time.

  7. Porter Lansing 2019-07-03 10:49

    According to Dan Lederhosen and Phat PowerBalls, “Every liberal in South Dakota was birthed by out of staters!”

  8. David Newquist 2019-07-03 11:57

    Political discussions can’t get beyond the gossip level about individuals. The real questions are about what happened to the people who replaced Tom Daschle, Tim Johnson, and Herseth Sandlin with Thune, Noem, and Rounds. And on the national level with McConnell and Trump. We talk about appealing to the people, but we don’t want to confront that what appeals to many in South Dakota is the power to be corrupt. Rounds was fully involved in the scheming behind EB-5 scandal. A department directly under his control was its incubator and perpetrator. A large segment of people choose dishonesty and the profusion of lies, as they cower with their guns and their scripture according to St. Trump in fear that the liberals are coming to disarm them. Gutlessness is a synonym for fawning cowardice. And it is contagious. But underlying it is a reservoir of ill will and the desire to malign and oppress as portrayed so aptly a few weeks ago at the Pioneer parade in Highmore. And in the comments defending it.

    Democrats participate in the gutlessness out of fear that they might offend their nice South Dakota neighbors and lose their votes. Those votes have already been cast for corruption and South Dakota has lost any claim it has to niceness. Thune, Rounds, and Noem and the values they serve demonstrate that, which are extolled by the president of 10,000 lies.

    And we old veterans have to be more strident about the point that what the nation has become is what we served to prevent. It has been conquered by the Trump Organization and its concentration camps.

  9. Kal Lis 2019-07-03 12:11

    Bob Mercer tweeted out this poll that shows Trump is with a 50% approval South Dakota, down 17 points from when he was elected. The same poll shows rounds as the 6th most popular senator in his/her home state with Thune coming in 8th. Rounds is at a 56% approval and 28% disapproval.

    Rounds may have a political glass jaw, but it’s doubtful a neophyte like Borglum knows how to throw a punch that will connect. I don’t believe he is scared. He’s just taking advantage of an opportunity to raise money.

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-07-03 12:58

    Curious, Blake: did Rounds engage in any sort of tease about his intent to run again and to crush all comers that would have warranted that metaphor?

  11. Blake 2019-07-03 14:47

    Curious, Cory: In the me too era did you ever think to consider that your words may be found offensive and objectifying to women? I totally get your metaphor, just was completely inappropriate.

  12. Donald Pay 2019-07-03 16:43


    I beat Cory to the “magic” word. I’ve talked about Rounds “stripping,” even given him the name “Magic Marion,” or “Magic Mike.” Teasing, as Cory has pointed out, has become a Trumpian art-form. Republicans have an equal opportunity clause in their media manipulation strategy.

    Rounds certainly teased “The Gorilla Project,” and that seemed like an advertisement for an enlargement procedure. So, yeah, Rounds is guilty of naked manipulation as well. Now, does that satisfy your sense of balance and fairness?

    As David Newquist states above, there are much more important things to contemplate.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-07-03 19:08

    John, what Democratic leaders were at Borglum’s announcement? Were they at the Rapid City event, the Chamberlain event, or the Sioux Falls event? Have any of those attending Dem leaders commented on Borglum’s Trumpist rhetoric?

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-07-03 19:11

    Get a grip, Blake. We’re moving on to the real battle… or at least to the battle that Rounds is treating as more real than every public piece of evidence indicates is necessary. What, is Rounds so sure the Democrats will wage no serious campaign that he figures he needs to use Borglum for target practice? Or is he so sure that Billie Sutton is going to give him a run for his money in 2020 that he needs to do some heavy fundraising now to bash the Democratic label down even further as a synonym for out-of-state liberal infiltration? Is he testing out messages on Borglum that he plans to use on Sutton: my opponent pretends to be a conservative, but my conservative is really in the pocket of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer!?

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-07-03 19:15

    Chris, that’s an interesting hypothesis, and I’d love to be able to find the money channel that would connect Borglum to Trump (or maybe wait for Borglum to show herself to be Bosworth Jr., latching onto a marketing scheme to boost her own standing and hope she catches viral fire, even though she has no real connections and stands no chance)… but Kal Lis’s poll should give us pause. Does Trump really stand to gain by pushing Rounds out, when Rounds has pretty faithfully stuck by the President when it counts, on votes? Even the Trump campaign would be smart enough to focus resources on swing seats, wouldn’t it?

  16. Old Spec.5 2019-07-03 19:43

    Rounds has been and always be a Mayberry type politician. Much like Abnor but can understand him when he speaks………kind of

  17. o 2019-07-03 22:32

    Odd predicament: an opponent brings on the need for labeling/name calling/tribalism, BUT Sen. Rounds cannot call Borglum out as a RINO because that term now means one who is less Tea Party (American Taliban) that the one being called out. She is claiming the turf to the right of him; making him the RINO. That only leaves one tribe to demonize: the Democrats – so call her that. By Election Day she may even become a socialist.

  18. leslie 2019-07-03 22:36

    Maybe young repubs will vote for her. Too bad she’s on the wrong side, yet i love liberal montanans. Here is someone worth a 2020 vote. Julio Castro, D.

    And, NO on rounds for 2020. He has a taste of reality with his wife’s cancer diagnoses, sorry to say. How’s that government healthcare now mike?

  19. leslie 2019-07-03 22:42

    Professor, i missed the Highmore incident but love your “president of 10,000 lies” (c) June 2019.

  20. leslie 2019-07-03 22:49

    Blake, really? Scy is a 20s-30s blonde in top shape, physically and mentally, and marion is corrupt, valueless, prevedent for trump’s political machinations, and on the way out, on many levels. Chris has an intriguing suggestion which makes sense, but go for the cory bad/strip tease angle , blake dude.

  21. Debbo 2019-07-03 23:18

    I’m confused. Has Borglum announced that she’s going to run against Roundy? Or is he just afraid she will?

  22. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr., 2019-07-03 23:32


    To answer your first question, I believe just Sioux Falls; and I talked to one of them and she regretted it, but I don’t think they have made any public comments about it, however. It’s very unfortunate too, because they are good Democrats with great futures.

    Here they are:


  23. Curt 2019-07-04 00:20

    Cory – Thank you for hosting a site on which I am able to read sidebar (but highly relevant) comments from Don Pay and David Newquist. It would be even better if some of the comments that are inevitably interspersed would somehow vanish, but occasionally they provide entertainment value. Not censoring the comments demonstrates the opposite of “gutlessness”.

  24. Jeff Lassle 2019-07-10 13:37

    Rounds is no conservative Republican but rather a far right libertarian who practices protectionism, a virtue that has not been a Republican plank in their platform ever. Rounds would call any normal Republican a liberal while he sits back and just collects his paycheck kowtowing only for the votes coming from the South Dakota agriculture community. He needs to be replaced. Anyone will do.

  25. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-07-11 07:11

    I think my Libertarian friends would take exception to characterizing Rounds as one of them. He’s an opportunist without principle, a corporate fascist who wants big government when it pads his friends’ pockets and crushes his opponents but prefers anarchy when regulations hinder his corporate friends’ rapine.

    But Borglum’s a Trumpist opportunist, it appears, so she probably won’t do as a replacement.

  26. Jeff Lassle 2019-07-11 07:45

    Interesting that the Round’s people tout Borglum as a liberal. Still, we all would be better off with a possible Trumpist to a known one. At least Borglum has an IQ while Rounds supports an empty cranium.

  27. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-07-15 16:53

    Jeff, I want to believe there are Republicans who would be good replacements for Rounds, but praising Trump for common sense and good management outweighs any IQ test. Borglum is not the alternative South Dakota needs.

  28. Jeff Lassle 2019-07-15 17:02

    Cory, I don’t believe the extremely stable genius, as Trump refers to himself, is anywhere near a normal or high IQ if that is what you are referring to. He is, of course, a narcissist and a textbook subject at that.

  29. mike from iowa 2019-07-15 20:08

    Draft John Tsitrian to run.

  30. jerry 2019-07-15 21:09

    Tim Bjorkman would be a good fit to run against Rounds. Bjorkman’s name is still not so far back in the memory bank.

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