South Dakota Democrats won’t have much say in how our Legislative maps will look for the coming decade. Thanks goodness South Dakota Republicans are arguing with each other and generating Mirror-Universe headlines:
Senate Pro Temp Lee Schoenbeck — one of the most influential Republican lawmakers — accused House members of maintaining “gerrymandered” boundaries in order to preserve current districts that are favorable to their plans for reelection.
“It looks like someone accidentally spilled something on the map,” he said of one district proposed by the House. “They are making a concerted effort to create or protect districts for people.”
Republican Rep. Drew Dennert, who proposed the House’s map, acknowledged that his proposal kept boundaries close to their current version — but contended that is a good thing. He was confident that the public meetings would show support for his map, which he said “best represented” the communities of the state.
He charged that Schoenbeck was “a very intelligent political operative,” who had taken to attacking the House proposal because he was losing support.
House Speaker Speaker Spencer Gosch, a Republican, also accused Schoenbeck of employing “DC political tactics.”
“Baseless and hypocritical accusations are only meant to divide,” he said in a statement. “The rest of the Legislature will continue to work in a fair and open manner to ensure that all South Dakotans are represented” [Stephen Groves, “South Dakota Redistricting Hits the Road Amid GOP Infighting,” AP, 2021.10.11].
Senator Schoenbeck complains about gerrymandering, and Representative Dennert and Speaker Gosch slam him as a DC-style “political operative”. Notice how the default South Dakota Republican response to any criticism is to portray their critics as out-of-staters… even when the criticism comes from a South Dakota Senator. The South Dakota Republican Party is so insular that it cannot imagine that legitimate criticism and differences of opinion might come from anywhere within South Dakota, and certainly not from within its own ranks.