I failed twice to remove part-time Aberdeen resident and do-nothing Senator Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) from the South Dakota Legislature. Now it appears that, if he wants to keep his Senate seat, he’ll have to contend with a Republican challenger, Rachel Dix of Aberdeen.
Novstrup was able to count on his state party to work hard for him to beat me, but if he faces Dix in a primary, he’ll have to do the hard work of campaigning himself. And he’ll have a harder time tearing down Dix, since she checks a number of good Aberdeen boxes. Not only does she get on well with the Presentation Sisters, but she also appears to believe in all that Jesus stuff. She likes putting on Carhartts and shooting animals. As executive officer of the Aberdeen Home Builders Association, she is part of the Aberdeen business-über-alles establishment. She spends her days carrying out the will of builders, bankers, and other practical bigwigs, liaising with the Chamber of Commerce, of which she is a happy member. Dix also works as a home ownership coordinator for Homes Are Possible, Inc., where she gets to interact with more builders and bankers and influential, community-minded Aberdonians while helping people get homes. Also building her business cred is her recent appointment to the board of directors of Dakotaland Federal Credit Union.
And for a little political intrigue, Dix lists as her campaign treasurer Jack Hieb, a pretty well-connected lawyer at the Richardson Law Firm in Aberdeen. Among his connections is the powerful and merciless Senate President Pro-Tempore Lee Schoenbeck (R-5/Lake Kampeska). Schoenbeck orchestrated the primary ouster of House Majority Leader Lee Qualm by the young professional Erin Tobin in 2020; is the Kampeska Crusher gearing up to turn his and Harvey Jewett’s money to further Schoenbeck’s “plot to reshape the state legislature” and consolidate his power?
Dix doesn’t necessarily need Schoenbeck’s money to make hay of the fact that, while Al runs bumper cars in Sioux Falls, Rachel is in Aberdeen dealing with the shortage of workforce housing, one of the primary economic development issues that Al and South Dakota’s Legislative and Executive branches have let fester for years. If I were Rachel, I’d run hard on that issue. And if I were me, I might rather run against Al Novstrup than against Rachel Dix.