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Citizens for Liberty Deem Nelson, Frye-Mueller Perfect Conservatives; Borglum Seventh-Most Liberal House Republican

South Dakota Citizens for Liberty has posted its 2019 Conservative Scorecard for the South Dakota Legislature. Scores this year are based on 22 bills and two resolutions (really? toothless resolutions? come on…) that the Rapid City group says reflect core Republican principles.

Perfect Cons: Sen. Nelson and Rep. Frye-Mueller
Perfect Cons: Sen. Nelson and Rep. Frye-Mueller

Only two legislators showed 100% fealty to those principles: Senator Stace Nelson (R-19/Fulton) and Representative Julie Frye-Mueller (R-30/Rapid City). Fellow Aberdonian rookie Rep. Kaleb Weis (R-2/Aberdeen) was one of ten other GOPers to score above 90%, going liberal on just one vote out of the eighteen CfL litmus-test measures on which he got a say… and that one “liberal” vote was his support for House Bill 1037, the measure to spend $33 million (mostly other people’s money, but hey, government spending is government spending) on the new temple to sport here at Northern State University (even absolutist, home-schooling, anti-government Weis can’t say no to big government in Aberdeeen).

Citizens for Liberty sets the pass/fail cutoff for its conservative test at 60% (a rather liberal F-boundary in my book, but it’s their show). Only eight Senators pass the test: Nelson, Lance Russell, Phil Jensen, Lynne DiSanto, Jeff Monroe, Jim Stalzer, Ryan Maher, and Margaret Sutton. 34 House members pass CfL muster—that’s just two shy of a wacky majority.

Nelson and Frye-Mueller have no full-tilt liberal counterparts. Senator Susan Wismer (D-1/Britton) comes close: her bill tally shows no red votes, but CfL gives her a 4.3% conservative score. Senator Craig Kennedy (D-18/Yankton) was close at 6.3%, which he got with just one “conservative” vote, against SB 176, Governor Noem’s unruly cash grab to promote pheasant habitat. (Remember: cultivating more state birds for people to shoot is a liberal plot!)

Over in the House, rookie Reps. Peri Pourier (D-27/Pine Ridge) and Michael Saba (D-9/Hartford) tried to be pure liberals, but they each conned out on HB 1040, supporting the conservative push to loosen Opportunity Scholarship requirements for home-schoolers.

Borglum on parade route, Custer, SD, 2019.07.20. Photo by TW Uecker.
Hey, Scyller, those red pants won’t fool the Citizens for Liberty or Team Rounds….

The GOP mainstream generally poo-poos the Citizens for Liberty and their nagging notice of the lack of Republican principles in Republican legislators’ votes. But expect this scorecard to get more prominent and positive attention from the GOP powers that be: rookie Rep. Scyller Borglum (R-32/Rapid City) scores a measly 29.2%, making her the seventh-most liberal Republican in the House. Borglum’s primary opponent, incumbent rookie U.S. Senator Marion Michael Rounds, made early hay of Borglum’s barely passing 60% on the CfL’s 2019 Second Amendment scorecard as evidence that she’s a liberal infiltrator; her bomb-out on the comprehensive CfL scorecard will surely get even more attention from the remarkably defensive empty suit in Washington.


  1. Porter Lansing 2019-07-23 08:12

    Extremists like Nellie and the Fry Mule are why Dems need to move to the vacant, high-ground in the center of politics. These two have not a moderate, compromising bone in their spine. Just empty rhetoric backed up by racism, white supremacy, and bigotry.

  2. Porter Lansing 2019-07-23 12:03

    BTW, Nellie … The U.S. Marine Corps told congressman Duncan Hunter to stop using its emblem and slogan in campaign materials. [The New York Times]

  3. bearcreekbat 2019-07-23 12:58

    The Borglum rating is really interesting, but a bit confusing.

    Her resume seems to identify her as a bright, competent, thoughtful, well qualified individual who on paper looks like she would be a great Senator. But then she opens her mouth and claims she is a super-Trumpist, substantially more Trumpy than Rounds, which is a contradition to everything her resume says about her. And now, another contradition, she gets a low rating from what I assume is a super-Trumpist faction in SD.

    What gives anyway? Is she just an opportunist at heart, gaslighting the public in an effort to pick up SD’s fearful, brain washed, propaganda/branding influenced voters?

  4. Porter Lansing 2019-07-23 14:16

    BCB … Her resume says she’s a salesperson and a good one. Salespeople say what they have to, in order to get what they want. Really good ones (like I was) can touch a sympathy note, if they need to. My impression of Dr. Borglum is that she knows how to manipulate SD Republicans. They don’t know how to understand her campaign. Trump supporters are used to being lied to and not realizing what’s happening. If she were on our team she’d be just as impressive. It’s her sales pitch Cory despises, not her skills.

  5. Debbo 2019-07-23 15:06

    Absolute, rigid adherence is not a virtue, except among the CfL and similar extremists.

  6. chris 2019-07-23 15:57

    Borglum could maybe start in with QAnon conspiracies. That might make all the difference.

  7. Owen 2019-07-23 18:10

    Knowledge of history is obviously not part of the criteria

  8. JW 2019-07-23 22:57

    The Original Tea Party lunatic fringe.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-07-24 05:57

    Opportunist, BCB? Unclear ideological background, penchant for marketing, an advanced degree… these little things are accumulating to suggest Mike Rounds may have another Annette Bosworth on his hands.

  10. bearcreekbat 2019-07-24 10:22

    And grifting plus lying are surely essential elements of Trumpism, which Borglum apparently is seeking to emulate as her public persona.

  11. grudznick 2019-07-24 16:14

    Mr. Lansing, grudznick and the other Conservatives with Common Sense live on the high-ground. Move to South Dakota and join us. But leave your demon weed at your old home.

    The Scorecard of Scorecards has not yet rated this new scorecard but I expect it will make those insaner than most appear insaner than ever.

  12. Porter Lansing 2019-07-24 17:20

    Things get better ever day in CO, grudz. All my Rapid City friends come visit me often. You should, too. I’ll show you and Kaia around Larimer Square. Then you can make your own choices how to recreate yourselves.

  13. grudznick 2019-07-24 18:41

    That sounds great and real swell of you, Mr. Lansing. But clearly grudznick already has taken up a huge, permanent residence in Colorado, right there in your mind.

  14. Porter Lansing 2019-07-24 20:14

    grudz – I take my responsibility to guru young folks, like yourself, seriously. You often come to me for direction and I’m willing to overlook your juvenile actions and step up to bat. Concerning my mind and your mind and all minds everywhere; grudzie, my boy … don’t be concerned with what people think about you. They rarely do. People (myself included) spend the vast majority of their thought thinking about themselves. However, when I do think of others, I think of you and how I can help. Does that give you that fuzzy feeling you seek? I know it does, mi amigo.

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-07-26 05:52

    Bear, Borglum has no shady raffles, EB-5 deals, or GEAR UP fund diversions in her past that I’ve found yet.

  16. bearcreekbat 2019-07-26 11:45

    Cory, well that certainly differeniates Borglum’s history from Bosworth’s history. And Citizen’s for Liberty’s report about Borglum’s voting record on several conservative hot button issues doesn’t seem to suggest she is very Trumpian.

    Judging a candidate by what she does rather than what she says usually results in a more negative impression of the candidate. Here this principle seems to be turned on head.

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